The American experience in Vietnam divided the US nation and eroded its confidence in both the morality and the effectiveness of its foreign policies, yet American understanding of that tragic episode remains superficial. To understand the war, this study argues, Americans must understand the Vietnamese, their culture and their ways of looking at the world. The author has lived and worked in Vietnam for many years. Against the background of traditional Vietnamese culture, his portrait explores the saga of modern Vietnamese history and Western involvement in the country, from the coming of the French in 1858 through the Vietnam War and its aftermath. Throughout his analysis, Jamieson enables the Vietnamese to speak for themselves through poetry, fiction, essays, newspaper editorials and reports of interviews and personal experiences.