cache 470 320 0 50 92 16777215 0809543 Im Vietnam War, The

Defining Moments

The Vietnam War

  • Author/Editor: Tom Pendergast
  • Binding: Library binding
  • Trim Size: 7 1/4 x 9 1/4
  • Page Count: 271
  • Book Level:
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • ISBN: 978-0-7808-0954-3
  • List Price: $60.00
  • Sample Pages
  • Printable Information Sheet

Web Price: $54.00

For Americans, the Vietnam War extended far beyond the battlefield. Envisioned initially as a Cold War counterstrike to slow the advance of Communism into Asia, it ultimately proved to be a catalyst for widespread social and political upheaval in the United States. It forever changed the relationship between the government, the military, and the citizens in the U.S., prompting troubled assessments and heated debates about the country’s core beliefs.

Defining Moments: The Vietnam War presents an authoritative account of the origins and progression of America’s military involvement in Vietnam. It also explores the event’s lasting impact on America’s political and cultural landscape. The volume is organized into three distinct sections—Narrative Overview, Biographies, and Primary Sources—which offer a one-stop resource for student research.

  • The Narrative Overview section provides a detailed, factual account of what led up to the Vietnam War, the events and issues during the era, and its legacy in American society
  • The Biographies section presents valuable biographical background on leading figures associated with the Vietnam War
  • The Primary Sources section collects a wide variety of pertinent primary source materials from the era, including official documents, song lyrics, memoirs, editorials, and other important works

Other notable features include a glossary of important people, places, and terms; a detailed chronology featuring page references to relevant sections of the narrative; an annotated listing of selected sources for further study; an extensive general bibliography; and a subject index.

Standard Features

  • Library binding, 7 1/4 x 9 1/4
  • 240 pages
  • 30-40 photographs and other illustrations
  • Narrative Overview section: Provides a detailed, factual account of the “defining moment”
  • Biographies section: Presents valuable biographical background on leading figures associated with the event
  • Primary Sources section: Collects a wide variety of pertinent primary source materials from the era
  • Research Topics: Proposes a list of topics suitable for conducting historical research and writing reports, a valuable starting point for student research
  • Source Attribution: Contains references for primary sources and other quoted material that guide users to other historical research resources
  • Glossary of Important People, Places, and Terms: Gives brief definitions for the many terms used in the book
  • Chronology: Highlights the related events in chronological order, along with “see” references that direct the reader to pages in the narrative with additional information
  • Sources for Further Study: Provides annotated citations for selected sources that are most useful to students
  • Bibliography: Lists books, periodicals, web sites, and videos consulted in preparing the volume
  • Subject Index: Includes people, places, organizations, events, and other topics

Research Topics

Each volume in the Defining Moments series covers a wide range of topics that students can use as starting points for further research. Potential research topics for Defining Moments: The Vietnam War are below:

  • Survey the colonial history of Vietnam and its division into northern and southern halves
  • Summarize the reasons for escalating American military involvement in Vietnam
  • Explain the domino theory and its role in shaping American actions in Southeast Asia
  • Compare and contrast the motivations and strategies of the Viet Cong/ North Vietnamese and the South Vietnamese
  • Explore the experiences of soldiers and civilians on both sides of the conflict
  • Discuss the antiwar movement and its influence on the war and on American society
  • Explain the reasons why Americans’ reactions to the war were so much different than reactions to past wars
  • Analyze the impact of Vietnam on the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations
  • Evaluate the Tet Offensive, Operation Rolling Thunder, My Lai, and other major military events
  • Summarize the goals of American military involvement in Cambodia and Laos and the military’s success in meeting those goals
  • Define how military experiences in Vietnam affected both American military strategy and foreign policy
  • Describe current relations between the United States and Vietnam


“[This] useful addition to the Defining Moments series collects, in one meaty volume, a narrative history of the war’s climactic decade, 14 primary-source documents, and nine biographies of political and military leaders. … Researchers will welcome this one-stop resource.”

—Booklist, Mar ’07