Close cookie details

This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav

Embers of War

Cover of Embers of War

Embers of War

The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam
Borrow Borrow Borrow
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE

Written with the style of a great novelist and the intrigue of a Cold War thriller, Embers of War is a landmark work that will forever change your understanding of how and why America went to war in Vietnam. Tapping newly accessible diplomatic archives in several nations, Fredrik Logevall traces the path that led two Western nations to tragically lose their way in the jungles of Southeast Asia. He brings to life the bloodiest battles of France's final years in Indochina—and shows how, from an early point, a succession of American leaders made disastrous policy choices that put America on its own collision course with history. An epic story of wasted opportunities and deadly miscalculations, Embers of War delves deep into the historical record to provide hard answers to the unanswered questions surrounding the demise of one Western power in Vietnam and the arrival of another. Eye-opening and compulsively readable, Embers of War is a gripping, heralded work that illuminates the hidden history of the French and American experiences in Vietnam.

ONE OF THE MOST ACCLAIMED WORKS OF HISTORY IN RECENT YEARS
Winner of the Francis Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians • Winner of the American Library in Paris Book Award • Winner of the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Book Award
  • Finalist for the Cundill Prize in Historical Literature

    NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
    The Washington Post
  • The Christian Science Monitor
  • The Globe and Mail

    "A balanced, deeply researched history of how, as French colonial rule faltered, a succession of American leaders moved step by step down a road toward full-blown war."—Pulitzer Prize citation

    "This extraordinary work of modern history combines powerful narrative thrust, deep scholarly authority, and quiet interpretive confidence."—Francis Parkman Prize citation

    "A monumental history . . . a widely researched and eloquently written account of how the U.S. came to be involved in Vietnam . . . certainly the most comprehensive review of this period to date."The Wall Street Journal

    "Superb . . . a product of formidable international research."The Washington Post

    "Lucid and vivid . . . [a] definitive history."San Francisco Chronicle

    "An essential work for those seeking to understand the worst foreign-policy adventure in American history . . . Even though readers know how the story ends—as with The Iliad—they will be as riveted by the tale as if they were hearing it for the first time."The Christian Science Monitor

    "A remarkable new history . . . Logevall skillfully explains everything that led up to Vietnam's fatal partition in 1954 [and] peppers the grand sweep of his book with vignettes of remarkable characters, wise and foolish."The Economist

    "Fascinating, beautifully written . . . Logevall's account provides much new detail and important new insights. . . . It is impossible to read the book without being struck by contemporary parallels."Foreign Policy

    "[A] brilliant history of how the French colonial war to hang on to its colonies in Indochina became what the Vietnamese now call 'the American war.'"—Esquire

    "An excellent, valuable book."—The Dallas Morning News
  • WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE

    Written with the style of a great novelist and the intrigue of a Cold War thriller, Embers of War is a landmark work that will forever change your understanding of how and why America went to war in Vietnam. Tapping newly accessible diplomatic archives in several nations, Fredrik Logevall traces the path that led two Western nations to tragically lose their way in the jungles of Southeast Asia. He brings to life the bloodiest battles of France's final years in Indochina—and shows how, from an early point, a succession of American leaders made disastrous policy choices that put America on its own collision course with history. An epic story of wasted opportunities and deadly miscalculations, Embers of War delves deep into the historical record to provide hard answers to the unanswered questions surrounding the demise of one Western power in Vietnam and the arrival of another. Eye-opening and compulsively readable, Embers of War is a gripping, heralded work that illuminates the hidden history of the French and American experiences in Vietnam.

    ONE OF THE MOST ACCLAIMED WORKS OF HISTORY IN RECENT YEARS
    Winner of the Francis Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians • Winner of the American Library in Paris Book Award • Winner of the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Book Award
  • Finalist for the Cundill Prize in Historical Literature

    NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
    The Washington Post
  • The Christian Science Monitor
  • The Globe and Mail

    "A balanced, deeply researched history of how, as French colonial rule faltered, a succession of American leaders moved step by step down a road toward full-blown war."—Pulitzer Prize citation

    "This extraordinary work of modern history combines powerful narrative thrust, deep scholarly authority, and quiet interpretive confidence."—Francis Parkman Prize citation

    "A monumental history . . . a widely researched and eloquently written account of how the U.S. came to be involved in Vietnam . . . certainly the most comprehensive review of this period to date."The Wall Street Journal

    "Superb . . . a product of formidable international research."The Washington Post

    "Lucid and vivid . . . [a] definitive history."San Francisco Chronicle

    "An essential work for those seeking to understand the worst foreign-policy adventure in American history . . . Even though readers know how the story ends—as with The Iliad—they will be as riveted by the tale as if they were hearing it for the first time."The Christian Science Monitor

    "A remarkable new history . . . Logevall skillfully explains everything that led up to Vietnam's fatal partition in 1954 [and] peppers the grand sweep of his book with vignettes of remarkable characters, wise and foolish."The Economist

    "Fascinating, beautifully written . . . Logevall's account provides much new detail and important new insights. . . . It is impossible to read the book without being struck by contemporary parallels."Foreign Policy

    "[A] brilliant history of how the French colonial war to hang on to its colonies in Indochina became what the Vietnamese now call 'the American war.'"—Esquire

    "An excellent, valuable book."—The Dallas Morning News
  • Available formats-
    • Kindle Book
    • OverDrive Read
    • EPUB eBook
    Languages:-
    Copies-
    • Available:
      1
    • Library copies:
      2
    Levels-
    • ATOS:
    • Lexile:
    • Interest Level:
    • Text Difficulty:

    Recommended for you


     
    Awards-
    Excerpts-
    • Chapter 1

      "The Empire Is with Us!"

      In the late afternoon of june 18, 1940, the tall, stiff-backed Frenchman walked into the BBC studios in London. His country stood on the brink of defeat. German columns were sweeping through France and had entered Paris. The French government under Marshal Philippe Pétain had fled for Bordeaux and had asked the Germans to state their terms for an armistice. These were the darkest days in the country's history, but General Charles de Gaulle, who had arrived in London the day before, was convinced that France could rise again--provided that her people did not lose heart. De Gaulle had met earlier in the day with Prime Minister Winston Churchill and had secured permission to make a broadcast to France.

      He was pale, recalled one of those present, with a brown forelock stuck to his forehead. "He stared at the microphone as though it were France and as though he wanted to hypnotize it. His voice was clear, firm, and rather loud, the voice of a man speaking to his troops before battle. He did not seem nervous but extremely tense, as though he were concentrating all his power in one single moment."

      De Gaulle's thoughts that day were on the French Empire, whose resources, he sensed, could keep France in the war and fighting. And they were with Britain and the United States, great powers with whom he could ally. "Believe what I tell you," de Gaulle intoned into the microphone, "for I know of what I speak, and I say that nothing is lost for France." Then, like a cleric chanting a litany, he declared: "For France is not alone. She is not alone. She is not alone. She has a vast Empire behind her. She can unite with the British Empire that rules the seas and is continuing the fight. Like Britain, she can make unlimited use of the immense industrial resources of the United States."

      The broadcast, which lasted barely four minutes, has gone down in French history as L'Appel du 18 Juin. At the time, however, few heard it and few knew who de Gaulle was. Alexander Cadogan, the permanent undersecretary at the British Foreign Office, knew only that de Gaulle had a "head like a pineapple and hips like a woman's." Robert Murphy, the counselor at the U.S. embassy in Paris, could not recall ever having heard of him before that day. The same was true of most of de Gaulle's compatriots. Although he was notorious within French military circles for his advocacy of the mechanization of the army and the offensive deployment of tanks, few outside that select group would have recognized his name, much less known the essentials of his biography: the birth in Lille in 1890; the diploma from the military academy at Saint-Cyr; the five failed (in part because of his conspicuous height) escape attempts from German prison camps in World War I; the postwar military career initially under the wing of Pétain.

      De Gaulle had been promoted to the rank of brigadier general only a few weeks before, in the midst of the Battle of France (thus making him, at forty-nine, the youngest general in the army). He then joined Premier Paul Reynaud's government on June 5 as undersecretary of state for war. Reynaud sought to carry on the fight, but twelve days later, with the French war effort collapsing wholesale, as German armies were well south of Dijon and pressing down the Atlantic coast, he resigned. De Gaulle, certain that Pétain would seek an armistice, escaped to London, determined to continue the resistance from there.

      The basis for de Gaulle's speech that fateful day was his conviction that the conflict was not limited to Europe. It was a "world war," he declared, one "not bound by the Battle of France." He would be proven correct....

    About the Author-
    • Fredrik Logevall is John S. Knight Professor of International Studies and professor of history at Cornell University, where he serves as director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies.

    Reviews-
    • Publisher's Weekly

      Starred review from April 2, 2012
      Cornell University’s Logevall specializes in the Vietnam War’s international aspects. His latest work masterfully pre-sents the war’s roots in the U.S. reaction to the French colonial experience. And that experience was inextricably linked to the global changes wrought by WWII, the beginning of the cold war, and America’s new role as the pre-eminent power in Asian and world affairs. Without neglecting the military aspects of the Franco-Indochina War and its aftermath, Logevall concentrates on political and diplomatic aspects. He presents “a contingent , full of alternative political choices.” Initially, the odds were against the Viet Minh—but France could never decide to seek a compromise. With Vietnam’s division after the Franco-Indochina War’s end in 1954, Ngo Dinh Diem dominated South Vietnam’s politics. But his limited concept of leadership and facile resort to repression alienated anticommunist nationalists. That was America’s problem as well. Logevall makes a detailed case that America’s Vietnam involvement replicated the French experience: the U.S. was fighting against an anticolonialist revolution and giving the Democratic Republic of Vietnam legitimacy that would be neither discredited nor defeated in 10 more years of war. 43 photos, 13 maps. Agent: John Dawkins & Associates.

    • Francis Parkman Prize citation

      "This extraordinary work of modern history combines powerful narrative thrust, deep scholarly authority, and quiet interpretive confidence."

    • Pulitzer Prize citation "A balanced, deeply researched history of how, as French colonial rule faltered, a succession of American leaders moved step by step down a road toward full-blown war."
    • Wall Street Journal "Superb . . . penetrating . . . Embers of War is a product of formidable international research. It is lucidly and comprehensively composed. And it leverages a consistently potent analytical perspective. . . . Outstanding."--Gordon Goldstein, The Washington Post "A monumental history . . . a widely researched and eloquently written account of how the U.S. came to be involved in Vietnam . . . certainly the most comprehensive review of this period to date."
    • Jonathan Mirsky, New York Review of Books "The most comprehensive account available of the French Vietnamese war, America's involvement, and the beginning of the US-directed struggle. . . . [Embers of War tells] the deeply immoral story of the Vietnam wars convincingly and more fully than any others. Since many of the others, some written over fifty years ago, are excellent, this is a considerable achievement."
    • Foreign Affairs "Magisterial."
    • Gary R. Hess, San Francisco Chronicle "The definitive history of the critical formative period from 1940 to 1960 [in Vietnam]. . . . lucid and vivid . . . As American involvement escalated, Bernard Fall, the highly respected scholar-journalist of Vietnam's wars, wrote that Americans were 'dreaming different dreams than the French but walking in the same footsteps.' Fredrik Logevall brilliantly explains that legacy."
    • The Christian Science Monitor "Embers of War is simply an essential work for those seeking to understand the worst foreign-policy adventure in American history. . . . Even though readers know how the story ends--as with "The Iliad"--they will be as riveted by the tale as if they were hearing it for the first time."
    • The Economist "A remarkable new history . . . Logevall skillfully explains everything that led up to Vietnam's fatal partition in 1954 . . . [and] peppers the grand sweep of his book with vignettes of remarkable characters, wise and foolish."
    • Foreign Policy "Fascinating, beautifully-written . . . Logevall's account provides much new detail and important new insights. . . . It is impossible not to read the book without being struck by contemporary parallels."
    • Vietnam Magazine "[A] brilliant history of how the French colonial war to hang onto its colonies in Indochina became what the Vietnamese now call 'the American war.'"--Charles Pierce, Esquire "Huge and engrossing . . . [Logevall] writes with an ambitious sweep and an instinct for pertinent detail. . . . If Logevall's earlier work stood up well in a crowded field, Embers of War stands alone. . . . What if [Embers] had been mandatory reading for Kennedy and his policy makers?"--The National Interest "Very much worth the read, both for the story and the writing. . . . Embers of War has the balance and heft to hold hindsight's swift verdicts at bay. . . An excellent, valuable book."--The Dallas Morning News "An encompassing, lucid account of the 40-year arc in which America's Southeast Asian adventure became inevitable . . . Logevall's prose is clean, his logic relentless, his tone unsparing, his vision broad and deep, his empathy expansive."
    • Publishers Weekly (starred review) "How easy it is to forget how it all started. The events pile on one another, new battles begin each day, demands for decisions encroach--and soon enough everything is incremental. Cornell historian Fredrik Logevall steps back from the edge and--parting from most Vietnam War studies that focus on the Kennedy and Johnson administrations--reaches back to World War II to give a fresh picture of America imagining itself into the Vietnam War. . . . [Embers of War puts] flesh on barebones assertions that occupy a few sentences or paragraphs in many Vietnam accounts. . . . startling."--The VVA Veteran "A superbly written and well-ar
    Title Information+
    • Publisher
      Random House Publishing Group
    • Kindle Book
      Release date:
    • OverDrive Read
      Release date:
    • EPUB eBook
      Release date:
    Digital Rights Information+
    • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

    Status bar:

    You've reached your checkout limit.

    Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.

    You already have this title checked out.

    Want to go to your Checkouts?

    Recommendation Limit Reached.

    You've reached the maximum number of titles you can recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 99 titles every 1 day(s).

    Sign in to recommend this title.

    Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

    Enhanced Details

    Limited availability

    Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

    is available for days.

    Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

    Permissions

    The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.

    Holds

    Total holds:


    Restricted

    Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.

    You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

    To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.

    Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

    There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

    Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.

    You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.

    This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.

    An unexpected error has occurred.

    If this problem persists, please contact support.

    NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

    Buy it now
    and help our library WIN!
    Embers of War
    Embers of War
    The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam
    Fredrik Logevall
    Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
    A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
    Clicking on the 'Buy It Now' link will cause you to leave the library download platform website. The content of the retail website is not controlled by the library. Please be aware that the website does not have the same privacy policy as the library or its service providers.

    There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

    Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

    You will be prompted to sign into your library account on the next page.

    If this is your first time selecting “Send to NOOK,” you will then be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

    The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

    You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

    Accept to ContinueCancel