Vietnam: The (Last) War the U.S. Lost

By Joe Allen, Foreword by John Pilger

In this timely study, Joe Allen examines the lessons of the Vietnam era with the eye of both a dedicated historian and an engaged participant in today’s antiwar movement.

In addition to debunking the popular mythology surrounding the U.S.’s longest war to date, Allen addresses three elements that played a central role in routing the U.S. in Vietnam: the resistance of the Vietnamese, the antiwar movement in the United States, and the courageous rebellion of soldiers against U.S. military command.

Allen reclaims the suppressed history of the GI revolt and its dynamic relationship to the international peace movement. He traces the lessons and confidence of the struggle for civil rights that helped give birth to an active and organized antiwar movement. He documents how the erosion of support for war both in the United States and inside the military left the world’s most powerful political and military establishment unable to combat the determined warfare of the Vietnamese.

About the author

Joe Allen is a frequent contributor to the International Socialist Review and a long-standing activist, based in Chicago.

John Pilger is a world-renowned journalist and author who began his career in his native Australia before moving to London in the 1960s. He has been a foreign correspondent and award-winning documentary filmmaker and writes for the New Statesman and the Guardian. His most recent book is Freedom Next Time (Bantam/Nation Books).


“Joe Allen’s book is so needed, and so welcome. Indeed, the following pages amount to a masterpiece in which the author, unrelenting in his research, has reclaimed memory from the organized forgetting that has so bedeviled the very word ‘Vietnam.’.... What I also appreciate about Joe Allen’s work is that he demonstrates as a historian how a rapacious force as seemingly invincible as the United States can be defeated politically, if not militarily. While not claiming a likeness between the invasions of Vietnam and Iraq, he draws many valuable parallels of how they began. Rather than giving us ‘hope,’ he is giving us power: the power of information, meticulous, distilled, coherent, principled. His mighty primer should be on every curriculum. No, it should be in every home.”
--John Pilger, from the Foreword

“[Vietnam is] accessible where so many other books on the subject have not been.  Furthermore, its comprehensiveness helps make sense of an often confusing historical period. Friends of mine who teach history to high school and college undergraduates often bemoan the lack of texts on this period that are written so that their students will read them. With Allen's new release, I think they have found their book.”
--Ron Jacobs, Znet
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