Vietnam's Forgotten Army by Andrew Wiest
Heroism and Betrayal in the ARVN

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2009 Society for Military History Distinguished Book Award for Biography

Vietnam's Forgotten Army: Heroism and Betrayal in the ARVN chronicles the lives of Pham Van Dinh and Tran Ngoc Hue, two of the brightest young stars in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). Both men fought with valor in a war that seemed to have no end, exemplifying ARVN bravery and determination that is largely forgotten or ignored in the West. However, while Hue fought until he was captured by the North Vietnamese Army and then endured thirteen years of captivity, Dinh surrendered and defected to the enemy, for whom he served as a teacher in the reeducation of his former ARVN comrades.

An understanding of how two lives that were so similar diverged so dramatically provides a lens through which to understand the ARVN and South Vietnam’s complex relationship with Americas government and military. The lives of Dinh and Hue reflect the ARVNs battlefield successes, from the recapture of the Citadel in Hue City in the Tet Offensive of 1968, to Dinhs unheralded role in the seizure of Hamburger Hill a year later. However, their careers expose an ARVN that was over-politicized, tactically flawed, and dependent on American logistical and firepower support. Marginalized within an American war, ARVN faced a grim fate as U.S. forces began to exit the conflict. As the structure of the ARVN/U.S. alliance unraveled, Dinh and Hue were left alone to make the most difficult decisions of their lives.

Andrew Wiest weaves historical analysis with a compelling narrative, culled from extensive interviews with Dinh, Hue, and other key figures. Once both military superstars, Dinh is viewed by a traitor by many within the South Vietnamese community, while Hue, an expatriate living in northern Virginia, is seen as a hero who never let go of his ideals. Their experiences and legacies mirror that of the ARVNs rise and fall as well as the tragic history of South Vietnam.


About Andrew Wiest

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Andrew Wiest, Ph.D. is Professor of History at the University of Southern Mississippi. Also the founding director of the Center for the Study of War and Society, Wiest was born in Chicago, but raised in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. After attending the University of Southern Mississippi for his undergraduate and Master's degrees, Dr. Wiest went on to receive his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, Chicago in 1990. Specializing in the study of World War I and Vietnam, Dr. Wiest has served as a Visiting Senior Lecturer at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst in the United Kingdom and as a Visiting Professor in the Department of Warfighting Strategy in the United States Air Force Air War College. Since 1992 Dr. Wiest has been active in international education, leading a study abroad program on World War II to London and Normandy each summer, and developing the award-winning Vietnam Study Abroad Program. Dr. Wiest has published 14 books on various topics in the field of Military History, including Vietnam's Forgotten Army: Heroism and Betrayal in the ARVN (New York University Press), which won the Society for Military History's Distinguished Book Award; America and the Vietnam War (Routledge Press); Rolling Thunder in a Gentle Land (Osprey Press); and Passchendaele and the Royal Navy (Greenwood Press). Additionally Dr. Wiest has appeared in and consulted on several historical documentaries for the History Channel, Granada Television, PBS, the BBC, and for Lucasfilm. Dr. Wiest lives in Hattiesburg with his wife Jill and their three children Abigail, Luke and Wyatt.
Published December 1, 2007 by NYU Press. 368 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, War. Non-fiction

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For example, ARVN did much of the fighting in the epic 1968 battle for the Citadel of Hue City, but saw Vietnamese contributions downplayed by American journalists more interested in depicting heroic Marines.

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