Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965
by Mark Moyar
Cambridge University Press, October 2006
"a stunning performance"
– James M. Murphy, The Times Literary Supplement
"one of the most important books ever written on the Vietnam War"
– Mackubin Thomas Owens, The Weekly Standard
"akin to reading Euripides' tales of self-inflicted woe and missed chances"
– Victor Davis Hanson, City Journal
"a brilliant analysis"
– Lewis Sorley, Joint Force Quarterly
– Guenter Lewy, New York Sun
"a landmark contribution"
– Robert F. Turner, Historically Speaking
"Moyar makes so many striking contrarian arguments that one hardly knows where to begin.... This is an important book, a history that serves as a mirror on the present."
– Robert H. Scales, Wall Street Journal
"thought provoking, exhaustively researched, highly organized, and above all, outstanding."
– Rick Baillergeon, History
"Moyar, who has strong credentials, has an engaging writing style and supports his arguments with dispassionate research, unlike many earlier revisionists' works... Highly recommended."
– Michael O'Donnell, Choice
"Thoroughly researched and richly informative."
– George Cohen, Booklist
“The author is an immensely talented academic and writer... Moyar marshals the fruits of his research into a devastating attack on the conventional wisdom about the Vietnam War.”
– James C. Roberts, Human Events
"[a] definitive examination... It is essential reading for anyone wanting a fresh understanding of one of America's longest and most misunderstood conflicts."
– Charles Melson, Marine Corps Gazette
"Impressive and scrupulously researched... elevates the arguments of Vietnam War revisionists to a higher, more respected, level."
– Karl Helicher, ForeWord Magazine
"the sheer scholarship behind Moyar's book demands that we take his views seriously."
– Ian Horwood, Reviews in History
"Moyar is a fine writer and switches from broad strategic and geopolitical issues to heart-gripping accounts of key military actions.... Triumph Forsaken will go a long way toward vindicating and restoring respect for Vietnam vets and those who supported the war, often at great personal cost."
– Robert A. Hall, Leatherneck
"Better late than never."
– Stuart Herrington, Parameters
"will prove to be the indispensable history of the Vietnam War."
– Scott W. Johnson, Power Line
"throws down a mighty challenge to orthodox historians"
– Paul Beston, The American Spectator
"The book is meticulously documented; it draws on the substantial U.S. documentary record of the war, bringing fresh perspectives to familiar evidence. Moyar augments and supports his analysis with extensive use of North Vietnamese archival material, most of which was unavailable to the orthodox historians of the 1970s and ’80s. In sum, Triumph Forsaken is an important book."
– James S. Robbins, National Review
"Extensively researched from communist as well as Western sources... gripping."
– John M. Taylor, Washington Times
"This is revisionist history at its best."
– Christian Nelson, VietNow
"Moyar is refreshingly frank in his appraisals."
– Curtis Hooper O'Sullivan, Air Power History
“I know of no scholar more dedicated to bringing a thorough and accurate portrayal of America’s involvement in Vietnam than Mark Moyar. Everyone who is interested in a full picture of that oftmisunderstood war should be grateful for his effort.”
– Senator James Webb, Marine combat veteran, author of Fields of Fire and Born Fighting
“Mark Moyar has produced the best ‘revisionist’ study to date of the U.S.intervention in Vietnam. Engagingly written and broadly researched, this book establishes Moyar as the leading voice of a new generation of historians intent on challenging conventional wisdom.”
– William Stueck, author of Rethinking the Korean War
“Mark Moyar tells how and why the United States did not win its first war in Vietnam, 1954–1965. Triumph Forsaken replaces its predecessors because it shows how the counterinsurgency campaign might have been won at acceptable cost, thus avoiding ‘the big war’ that followed.”
– Allan R. Millett, Director, Eisenhower Center for American Studies, University of New Orleans
“Numerous bits of conventional wisdom have accreted around the Vietnam War. It is commonly held that Ho Chi Minh was a Vietnamese nationalist above all, not a true communist, and that his victory was inevitable. That Ngo Dinh Diem was an unpopular and repressive reactionary. That the United States had no vital strategic interest in defending South Vietnam. That the ‘domino theory’ was a myth. That the U.S. was right not to invade North Vietnam or Laos for fear of triggering Chinese intervention. Mark Moyar, a young, bold, and iconoclastic historian, takes a sledge hammer to these hoary beliefs. It is ‘revisionist’ in the best sense of the word.”
– Max Boot, author of The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power and War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History, 1500 to Today
“Mark Moyar provides detailed accounts of Saigon politics and of actual battles that are unmatched in any other study. He gives particular emphasis to southern Vietnamese views and experiences, and he encourages us to think about the war in fresh ways.”
– K.W. Taylor, Cornell University
“Triumph Forsaken is a remarkable book. Moyar’s work is the most powerful challenge to the orthodox interpretation of the origins of America’s war in Vietnam. In taking a fresh look at the primary sources, as well as exploiting new materials from the American and communist archives, Moyar has constructed an alternative explanation for the roots of the American commitment. Moyar’s book compels historians to reopen the debate about the meaning of the Vietnam War.”
– Thomas Alan Schwartz, Professor of History, Vanderbilt University
"Such is the quality of this book and the rewriting of history it effects that you will not only see the Vietnam War in a different light but understand current events in Iraq more clearly. That's quite an accomplishment and makes this the best book you're likely to read for some time. Grade: A+"
"One of the most important books of the last several years. This book is a must for anyone interested in either the Vietnam War, or in American security policy in general."
– George Mellinger, Old War Dogs
"Mark Moyar has joined the company of a select group of serious war scholars, including Admiral U. S. Grant Sharp, Colonel Harry Summers, and Colonel H. R. McMaster, who have provided fact- and logic-based analyses of the Vietnam War."
– Thomas Snodgrass, The Conservative Voice
"If you are beginning to think, as I do, that history is the story of a succession of wars and their aftermath, then you will want to read Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965 by Mark Moyar.... In the end, Moyar concludes that the intervention was based on sound assumptions and strategy. It’s a good thing history is written looking into the mirror of the past as we all drive toward the future. It helps us understand why not all wars are bad or wrong." – Alan Caruba, Bookviews
"impressive... a searing indictment of American decision making at the White House, State Department, and an American press which seemed determined to undermine their nation's efforts at preventing South Vietnam's collapse."
– Steven Martinovitch, Enter Stage Right
"[Moyar] goes to great lengths to stress Uncle Ho's communist ties and ideals, and he turns the father of his country idea on its ear, making a case that South Vietnamese Premier Ngo Dinh Diem, not Ho, was the George Washington of Vietnam.... His fiercely argued book covering the early years of American involvement in the war is a salvo against what he calls the 'orthodox school' of Vietnam war historians.... Moyar marshals a good deal of evidence to make his points."
– Marc Leepson, VVA Veteran
"The book, advertised as overturning orthodox opinion on the war, gets blurbs by a host of bigshots ranging from Max Boot to James Webb."
– Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit
"A revisionist history that challenges the notion that U.S. involvement in Vietnam was misguided; defends the validity of the domino theory and disputes the notion that Ho Chi Minh was, at heart, a nationalist who would eventually turn against his Communist Chinese allies."
– Chronicle of Higher Education