Monday, March 18, 2013

Review of 'Profiles #5: The Vietnam War' by Daniel Polansky


It takes more than one person to bring about War. This book will follow the lives of six key players during one of the most controversial wars in history.

Profiles is so much more than just your typical biography. The next book in our six-in-one, full-color bio series will focus on the five W's of the Vietnam War--who, what, where, when, and why. Kids will learn all of the biographical information they need to know (background, family, education, accomplishments, etc.) about: Ho Chi Minh (prime minister of Democratic Republic of Vietnam) John F. Kennedy (US president 1961-1963), Lyndon B. Johnson (US president (1963-1969), Ngo Dinh Diem (president of South Vietnam), Henry Kissinger (US National security advisor), and William Westmoreland (US army general). This book will help illuminate one of the most controversial wars in American history for a new generation of readers.

**My thoughts**

 When I was in school, the Vietnam War had been over for several years, yet no one talked about it. It was like a passing mention in a textbook. This book serves to teach the next generation more about what shaped those that came before them and to what so much media refers in our current conflicts. 

The book focuses on six men who were instrumental in the conflict, each with approximately the same number of pages of information given to each one. Each one of them had a different role in the war and different reasons for their participation. Each one had different opinions of the conflict. By presenting all six of them, this book allows for a broader and more balanced look at the controversial war.

Each man's personal history, as it relates to the conflict, is given in his biographical sketch. Political reasoning and maneuvering, and military tactics are both discussed. I felt like I learned a lot from reading this book, that I had missed out on when taking history classes at a younger age.

The only thing that caught my eye was impeachment being defined as "the process by which Congress removes the president from office" when discussing Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon. Impeachment is actually the process of bringing formal charges against someone in public office, such as the President, but not necessarily removing them from office. Removal from office can result from impeachment, though. A recent example is President Clinton, who was impeached, charged and put on trial for misconduct, but was not removed from office. This stuck out to me, because I remember having this discussion in our limited coverage of the Vietnam War in high school. I also double-checked the definition at and other sources.

The end of the book also includes a brief timeline outlining the major events of the conflict, a glossary of terms used throughout, and a bibliography for future reference.

I think this book would be appropriate for middle grades through adult, as one reference for studies of the Vietnam War.

I received an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Buy links: Amazon \ Barnes & Noble


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