Inventing Vietnam: The United States and State Building, 1954-1968

Inventing Vietnam: The United States and State Building, 1954-1968

By: James M. Carter (author)Paperback

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This book considers the Vietnam war in light of U.S. foreign policy in Vietnam, concluding that the war was a direct result of failed state-building efforts. This U.S. nation building project began in the mid-1950s with the ambitious goal of creating a new independent, democratic, modern state below the 17th parallel. No one involved imagined this effort would lead to a major and devastating war in less than a decade. Carter analyzes how the United States ended up fighting a large-scale war that wrecked the countryside, generated a flood of refugees, and brought about catastrophic economic distortions, results which actually further undermined the larger U.S. goal of building a viable state. Carter argues that, well before the Tet Offensive shocked the viewing public in late January, 1968, the campaign in southern Vietnam had completely failed and furthermore, the program contained the seeds of its own failure from the outset.

About Author

James M. Carter obtained his PhD from the University of Houston in 2004 and is currently Assistant Professor of History at Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi. His research specialties include U.S. foreign relations, the Vietnam War and the Cold War. His publications include several articles on nation building in Vietnam and private contractors in both Vietnam and Iraq as well as book reviews in Itinerario, The Journal of Military History, Education About Asia, and on H-Diplo. In summer, 2007, he was appointed a Fellow of the Summer Military History Seminar at West Point Military Academy.


1. Introduction; 2. The Cold War, colonialism, and the origins of the American commitment to Vietnam, 1945-1954; 3. 'The needs are enormous, the time short': Michigan State University, the United States operations mission, nation building, and Vietnam; 4. Surviving the crises: Southern Vietnam, 1958-1960; 5. 'A permanent mendicant': Southern Vietnam, 1960-1963; 6. A period of shakedown: Southern Vietnam, 1963-1965; The paradox of construction and destruction: Southern Vietnam 1966-1968; 8. Epilogue: war, politics, and the end in Vietnam.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780521716901
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 276
  • ID: 9780521716901
  • weight: 380
  • ISBN10: 052171690X

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