There's much more to the Vietnam War than military conflicts and U.S. protests. In fact, the chronology appendix begins with the start of the Dong Son era in early 7th century B.C. and continues, through the establishment of Nam Viet in the 3rd century, the partitioning of Vietnam in the 1954 Geneva agreements, and the skirmishes (political and military) of the '50s, '60s, and '70s, to Clinton's lifting the trade embargo in 1994 and officially recognizing Vietnam in 1995.
The A-to-Z dictionary section, which forms the bulk of the book, details over 1,500 entries covering the people, places, battles, equipment, literature, and events relating to the war, from the A-1 Skyraider (a single-engine propeller fighter-bomber used in air support for American and South Vietnamese ground troops) to Zumwalt, Elmo R. III (U.S. Naval commander from 1969 to 1970 who died in 1988 as a result, many believe, of a cancer caused by exposure to Agent Orange). There are entries for Bao Ninh (the former North Vietnamese Army soldier who wrote The Sorrow of War), Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola's film based on Heart of Darkness), the Nixon Doctrine of 1969, and Tim O'Brien, who wrote Going After Cacciato, as well as entries on Norodom Sihanouk (former king and premier of Cambodia), the Vin Moc Tunnels, and the Tet Offensive. With appendices on orders of battle, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, the Paris Peace Accords, and Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipients, this is a well-organized, rigorously cross-referenced collection of the causes, events, and repercussions of what we refer to as the Vietnam War. --Stephanie Gold