Nov. 5, 2018
Staying the Course: October 1967 to September 1968
Erik Villard’s new volume casts clarifying light on stubbornly held myths about the conduct and strategy of America’s intervention in Vietnam. Even more than the preceding volumes in the Combat Operations series, Staying the Course incorporates the latest historiography, including extensive North Vietnamese sources and newly released Military Assistance Command–Vietnam (MACV) documents. By carefully linking American strategic thinking to MACV 1968 campaign goals and actual operations, Villard, a historian at the U.S. Army Center of Military History, uses careful analysis to dispel a variety of myths: that MACV was over-focused on attrition, that the American mission lacked a focus on counterinsurgency or population security, that the Army was overcommitted to “conventional” operations or “search-and-destroy,” or that American forces overlooked the need to build up the South Vietnamese military and do so in a sustainable way. The overall effect is to restore clarity and urgency to the Army’s efforts in Vietnam in that fateful year, as MACV’s leaders fought against the clock to shield and secure the population and build up the Republic of Vietnam and its armed forces against a thinking and reacting enemy with burgeoning plans of its own.