Jay Phillips

A Shau: Crucible of the Vietnam War

A history of the struggle for control of the A Shau Valley during the Vietnam War, 1961 – 1975.

BOOK SUMMARY

Shadows of War: Unveiling the A Shau Valley's Pivotal Role in Vietnam's Tumultuous Tide

The Battle for Hue City in February 1968 and the bloody combat at Hamburger Hill in May 1969 are regarded as two of the turning points in the Vietnam War.  The former because it brought home to the American public the understanding that we were not, in fact, winning the war and pulled the plug on the “light at the end of the tunnel” illusion.  The latter, as it led directly to LBJ’s order to avoid heavy combat with the North Vietnamese Army, changing the nature of U.S. military operations as the draw-down of American forces got under way.  The NVA in Hue was infiltrated and supplied through the A Shau Valley; Hamburger Hill took place there.  Yet little has been written about the course of the war in that valley from its establishment as the first terminus of the Ho Chi Minh Trail in South Vietnam to its position as a huge enemy supply complex and transshipment center for the entire northern half of the country during the final battles in 1972-1975, following the withdrawal of the Americans from Vietnam.  That evolution was not linear.  Only during the major allied operations from April 1968 through September 1969 did they seriously contest the possession of the A Shau, but elite small ground units and air power were employed continuously, in a never-ending life and death struggle to interdict enemy movement and construction, and to raise the cost of the enemy presence.  In the end, it was a cost the Vietnamese Communists were willing to pay.  It was Vietnam’s Most Valuable Valley.

Category: History Military
Release date: May 11, 2021
Page size: 6.14″ x 9.21″
Word count: 170,000
Estimated page count: 542

BOOK INTERIOR

Jay Phillips

About The Author

Jay Phillips has studied the Vietnam War since 1961, six years before his own experiences there began in 1967. During his 21 months in-country, Mr. Phillips received the Combat Infantry Badge, Army Commendation Medal for Valor, Air Medal, and the Purple Heart with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters. He received his B.A. in History from the University of Denver in 1976. Mr. Phillips served as National Adjutant General for the Military Order of the Purple Heart in 2002-2004. He has drawn on his library of almost 1,300 works on the war in writing A Shau.

BOOK REVIEWS

A Shau: Crucible of the Vietnam War
Martin G. Clemis
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and author of The Control War: The Struggle for South Vietnam, 1968–1975
… As Jay Phillips shows in this richly detailed and meticulously researched book, the A Shau was more than a prop for the bloody struggle for Hill 937, it was a critical geostrategic region that shaped, and in many ways determined, the outcome of the Vietnam War …. A Shau is an excellent addition to the historiography of the Vietnam War and an important work that places this vital strategic and operational theater at the center of America’s failed war in Southeast Asia.
Gregory A. Daddis
San Diego State University, author of Withdrawal: Reassessing America’s Final Years in Vietnam
Jay Phillips has written a superb military history of a strategically vital area of operations during the American war in Vietnam—a sweeping narrative supported by an impressive level of research. A Shau will be an important resource for historians for years to come.
Diane Donovan
Midwest Book Review
Perhaps nowhere else in the war-torn country has one locale so represented the successes and failures of opposing forces as graphically and consistently throughout the war as in A Shau. A narrowed focus on this region is essential to understanding all the military and political facets involved in the war’s ultimate outcome. A Shau: Crucible of the Vietnam War is a scholarly history highly recommended as a foundation acquisition for any collection serious about Vietnam War analysis.

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A Shau: Crucible of the Vietnam War