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9781421406459
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July 21, 2012
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My Lai

An American Atrocity in the Vietnam War

On March 16, 1968, American soldiers killed as many as five hundred Vietnamese men, women, and children in a village near the South China Sea. In My Lai William Thomas Allison explores and evaluates the significance of this horrific event. How could such a thing have happened? Who (or what) should be held accountable? How do we remember this atrocity and try to apply its lessons, if any?

My Lai has fixed the attention of Americans of various political stripes for more than forty years. The breadth of writing on the massacre, from news reports to scholarly accounts, highlights the difficulty of establishing fact and motive in an incident during which confusion, prejudice, and self-preservation overwhelmed the troops.

Son of a Marine veteran of the Vietnam War—and aware that the generation who lived through the incident is aging—Allison seeks to ensure that our collective memory of this shameful episode does not fade.

Well written and accessible, Allison’s book provides a clear narrative of this historic moment and offers suggestions for how to come to terms with its aftermath.

About the Author

William Thomas Allison is a professor of history at Georgia Southern University. He is author of Military Justice in Vietnam: The Rule of Law in an American War.

Reviewss

This will not only help students remember and understand the event, but also put it in context and see how far the military has come in its discipline and wartime preparation.

- Kevin Braam - H-War, H-Net Reviews

Allison delivers a tightly drawn rendering of the events preceding, actual incidents involving, and resolution concerning the My Lai massacre that beset a South Vietnamese village during spring 1968.

- Choice

Allison provides a detailed and highly useful narrative of all the complexities involved in this story of one of the darkest days in the history of the U.S. Army. My Lai: An American Atrocity in the Vietnam War is strongly recommended for anyone interested in the Vietnam War, particularly serving officers.

- Lt. Col. James H. Willbanks - Military Review
Johns Hopkins University Press
Witness to History
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