Vietnam: A History by Stanley Kurnow is a very readable account of Vietnam's history from prehistoric times until the fall of Saigon. A good overview of the reunification period is provided in Melanie Beresford's Vietnam: Politics, Economics and Society.
Dispatches by Michael Herr takes a cold hard look at the Vietnam War through the eyes of an American correspondent. The war from the point of view of a North Vietnamese (who by no means is anti-American) is described by Bao Ninh in The Sorrow of War.
A Bright Shining Lie by Neil Sheehan is a highly acclaimed biographical account of the war.
Vietnamerica by Thomas Bass brings the Vietnam War home to America in a more poignant and personal form, following the fortunes of the children fathered by American soldiers in Vietnam.
The Quiet American by Graham Greene (1954) is set during the last days of French rule and is probably the most famous Western work of fiction on Vietnam.
The Lover by Marguerite Duras provides a French perspective on colonial life in Vietnam.
Hitchhiking in Vietnam by Karen Muller is a travelogue detailing a woman's tumultuous seven-month journey through Vietnam.
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