At the Crossroads of Justice by Paul Noto

Paul J. Noto’s At the Crossroads of Justice: My Lai and Son Thang: American Atrocities in Vietnam (iUniverse, 148 pp., $23.95, hardcover; $13.95, paper) sheds light on two of the most regrettable and disturbing incidents of the Vietnam War—the killing of innocent and unarmed Vietnamese civilians at My Lai and Son Thang by members of the U.S. military.

Noto, an attorney and historian, provides details about both of the incidents, for which only two U.S. soldiers were convicted. The overarching goal of his book is to evaluate why the killings took place, as well as to explain why understanding these incidents is important today.

In addition to exploring why U.S. military leaders at the time failed to properly punish those who committed the killings, Noto attributes the incidents to a breakdown in discipline that occurred as a result of “arrogant and inept civilian and military leadership.” The author concludes by pointing out that examining these tragedies could help prevent similar incidents from occurring today in Afghanistan and in other wars in the future.

—Dale Sprusansky