In this landmark book, award-winning historian Peter Edwards skillfully unravels the complexities of the global Cold War, decolonization in Southeast Asia, and Australian domestic politics. The Vietnam War was Australia’s longest and most controversial military commitment of the 20th century, ending in humiliation for the United States and its allies with the downfall of South Vietnam. The war provoked deep divisions in Australian society and politics, particularly because for the first time young men were conscripted for overseas service in a highly contentious ballot system. The Vietnam era is still identified with diplomatic, military, and political failure. Was Vietnam a case of Australia fighting “other people’s wars”? Were we really “all the way” with the United States? How valid was the “domino theory”? Did the Australian forces develop new tactical methods in earlier Southeast Asian conflicts, and just how successful were they against the unyielding enemy in Vietnam? This book provides new, often surprising, answers to these questions.
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Peter Edwards was the Official Historian and general editor of the nine-volume Official History of Australia’s Involvement in Southeast Asian Conflicts 1948–1975. He was also the author of the volumes dealing with politics, strategy, and diplomacy, Crises and Commitments and A Nation at War. His other books and monographs include Arthur Tange: Last of the Mandarins, Permanent Friends? Historical Reflections on the Australian-American Alliance, Prime Ministers and Diplomats, and Robert Marsden Hope and Australian Public Polic. He is currently an adjunct professor at the Alfred Deakin Research Institute of Deakin University, a Member of the Order of Australia, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, and a former Trustee of the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne.Review:
"The book is a comprehensive, well considered, finely judged summary of Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War." —David Horner, Australian Book Review
"The great merit of Peter Edwards’s Australia and the Vietnam War is that it traces clearly and judiciously the unfolding of this complex narrative from the defeat of the Communists in Malaya to their triumph in Vietnam — and draws compelling lessons from the story." —American Review
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