David L. Anderson and John Ernst, the editors of the 2008 anthology The War That Never Ends: New Perspectives on the Vietnam War, which is out in a new paperback edition (University of Kentucky, 376 pp., $28), dedicate this worthy volume to the eminent Vietnam War historian George Herring. He is the author of the classic concise history, America’s Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975 (1979).
Herring, the Alumni Professor of History Emeritus at UK, contributes an excellent essay, “The War That Never Seems to Go Away,” to this collection. It deals with how the lessons and experiences of the Vietnam War have become part of the debate whenever the United States gets involved—or thinks about getting involved—in military action around the globe.
Other contributors include Vietnam War historian Marilyn Young, who writes in her introduction, “Why Vietnam Still Matters,” that—as Herring indicates—the lessons of the Vietnam War have mattered very much in “each conflict in which the United States has engaged since 1975.” Also of note: Robert K. Brigham’s essay on Ho Chi Minh, Confucianism, and Marxism; Robert Topmiller on the Buddhist antiwar movement in South Vietnam; and Robert Buzzanco on military dissent during the Vietnam War.
Anderson is a history professor at California State University, Monterey Bay, who has written widely about the Vietnam War and who served a 1968-70 tour of duty in Vietnam in the U.S. Army Ernst is a U.S. History prof at Morehead State University where he teaches a course in the Vietnam War, his specialty.