Historian
Fall of Saigon Marines Association


Colonel Steve Hasty USMC
(Historian Officer, Fall of Saigon Marines Association)
Former Staff NCOIC of Can Tho and former
Commanding Officer of the Marine Security Guard Battalion.
Colonel Hasty served two tours of duty in the Vietnam War and other wars.
colstevehasty@hotmail.com

Colonel Steve Hasty's personal story

~ Bibliography ~
For Students and Scholars ranging from Elementary School to Graduate Students

written by Colonel Steve Hasty USMC

Historian’s Note: As illustrated in the great Japanese movie director Kurosawa’s classic film RASHAMON, different people witnessing the same event from different perspectives can produce wildly different versions of the same story, and all true from their standpoint. The challenge of historians, much like that of detectives interviewing witness to help reconstruct a crime scene, is to evaluate and incorporate the individuals’ stories into a coherent whole. The list of books below dealing with the fall of Saigon is a partial one, concentrating primarily on the events leading up to the evacuations, and the circumstances immediately surrounding them. Many of these are memoirs by eyewitnesses to different portions of the event; others are compilations done after the fact, often using the memoirs as a basis for the book. The eyewitness accounts of what an observer directly saw tend to be of most value; second-or-third-hand accounts need to be evaluated against primary sources.

There are other works dealing with the aftermath of the fall of South Vietnam that are not included here, but are worth pursuing for a greater understanding of the conflict, just as there are many other works and memoirs dealing with the conflict as a whole. Not generally included in our list here are works in which the fall of South Vietnam is but a portion of the book (e.g. the memoirs of Henry Kissinger and Gerald Ford, among others). The memoirs below are those of bit players, caught in the rip tide of history. To many, especially the younger generation born long after the events of 1975, the Vietnam War is as remote to them as the Peloponnesian Wars of Ancient Greece. For those in Vietnam who experienced the events of the spring of 1975 personally, the memories may sometimes be repressed, but, even 30 years later, are never wholly forgotten.

Perhaps the best overarching account of those days is the volume U.S. Marines in Vietnam: The Bitter End 1973-1975, by George R. Dunham and David A. Quinlan (1990: History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, Washington DC) (For sale through the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC 20402.) Part of the Marine Corps Operational Histories Series dealing with Vietnam, it is a well-researched volume drawing on contemporary sources and provides an excellent overview in which to place the other books noted below. The books are listed alphabetically by author, and particularly noteworthy or recommended ones are annotated with an asterisk (*). Some of these works are no longer published, but for those interested there are many book search services (e.g. ABE.com; Amazon.com, etc.) from which out-of-print books may be located and purchased. (BSH)

The Fall of Saigon by David Butler (1985: Simon and Schuster: New York)

55 Days: The Fall of South Vietnam by Alan Dawson (1977: Prentice-Hall Inc; Englewood Cliffs, NJ)

* U.S. Marines in Vietnam: The Bitter End 1973-1975, by George R. Dunham and David A. Quinlan (1990: History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, Washington DC) (For sale through the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC 20402.)

How We Won The War by Vo Nguyen Giap and Van Tien Dung (1976: RECON Publications; Philadelphia, PA)

Goodnight Saigon by Charles Henderson (2005: A Berkley-Caliber Book; Berkley Publishing Group, NY

* Peace With Honor? An American Reports on Vietnam 1973-1975 by Stuart A. Herrington (1983: Presidio Press; Novato, CA)

* Without Honor: Defeat in Vietnam and Cambodia by Arnold R. Isaacs (1983: The Johns Hopkins University Press; Baltimore MD and London)

* Escape With Honor: My Last Hours In Vietnam by Francis Terry McNamara with Adrian Hill (1997: Brassey’s, Inc.; Herndon, VA)

Decent Interval by Frank Snepp (1977: Random House, NY)

* The Soldiers’ Story: Vietnam in Their Own Words by Ron Steinman (1999: TV Books, NY)

Gia Phong! The Fall and Liberation of Saigon by Tiziano Terzani (1976: St. Martin’s Press; NY)