In This Review

Trial By Fire: The 1972 Easter Offensive, America's Last Vietnam Battle
Trial By Fire: The 1972 Easter Offensive, America's Last Vietnam Battle
By Dale Andradj
Hippocrene Books, 1995, 600 pp

A solid and well-recounted narrative of the penultimate communist Vietnamese attempt to end the conflict, this book fills an important gap in the history of the Vietnam War. Drawing on archival sources as well as interviews, the author takes the perspective of the small band of American advisers who helped South Vietnamese forces stalemate the North Vietnamese assault. Particularly interesting is his contention that General Vo Nguyen Giap's strategy for the Easter offensive was flawed, and its implementation, often inept. It was, nonetheless, a brutal and bloody struggle decided, in the author's view, by the valor and skill of American advisers, a torrent of American air power, and the determination of some parts of the South Vietnamese military. This book does better than most in attempting to portray the Vietnamese perspective, South and North, but it remains, nonetheless, resolutely focused on the United States. Perhaps America's last Vietnam battle, but not, alas, Vietnam's.