The first comprehensive treatment of the air wars in Vietnam.
Filling a substantial void in our understanding of the history of airpower in Vietnam, this book provides the first comprehensive treatment of the air wars in Vietnam. Brian Laslie traces the complete history of these air wars from the beginning of American involvement until final withdrawal. Detailing the competing roles and actions of the air elements of the United States Army, Navy, and Air Force, the author considers the strategic, operational, and tactical levels of war. He also looks at the air war from the perspective of the North Vietnamese Air Force. Most important for understanding the US defeat, Laslie illustrates the perils of a nation building a one-dimensional fighting force capable of supporting only one type of war.
Brian D. Laslie is the Command Historian at the United States Air Force Academy. He is the author of The Air Force Way of War: U.S. Tactics and Training after Vietnam.
1 Getting Involved
2 The War in the South: Build-up
3 The War in the South: Close Air Support
4 “To Deter Hanoi . . .”: The War in the North
5 The US Navy’s Air War: An Attack Pilot’s War
6 Strategic Air Power at Bay?
7 Laos, Cambodia, and the War against the Ho Chi Minh Trail
8 The Air-to-Air War
Denouement and Conclusion
Appendix A: JCS 94-Target List
Appendix B: List of Project CHECO Reports
Appendix C: List of Named Aerial Operations during the Vietnam War
About the Author
The various aspects of aerial warfare in Vietnam have been well studied, but historian Brian Laslie is the first to attempt an overall description and assessment of what he rightly calls the air "wars" of Vietnam. In the process, he thoroughly debunks a key aspect of the Lost Cause mythology that grew out of the American failure in Vietnam: the claim that air power, if properly employed, could have won the war. The book constitutes an excellent starting point for anyone seriously interested in the air wars of Vietnam.
Air Power's Lost Cause is a key text for those interested in air power studies, or indeed the Vietnam War. Laslie’s work also opens up a number of vistas that should be of interest to anyone studying the influence of politics on military campaigns, the deployment of cutting-edge technology or the battle of the narrative. Air Power's Lost Cause has a lot to offer and is highly recommended.
In Air Power's Lost Cause, Brian Laslie offers an important and provocative argument that invites readers to reexamine the role of air power in the Vietnam War. Laslie places the entire air war in an intriguing new frame, making this book a must-read addition to the literature on air power and the Vietnam War.
A long-overdue, sweeping chronicle of US air operations over Southeast Asia during the American war in Vietnam. Laslie excels in demonstrating the promise—and ultimate failures—of airpower solving political problems overseas. A penetrating account demolishing the myth that air advocates could have ‘won’ the war in Vietnam if only given the chance.
A concise, incisive account of the chaotic air wars that the United States military waged over Vietnam in the 1960s. Laslie deftly explains how ambiguity in mission, doctrine, and command left the United States without a coherent air strategy, leading different services to fight at cross-purposes over the course of the conflict. His book is an excellent starting point for all those interested in the conflict, as well as for scholars looking for an integrated approach to the air wars.
Brian Laslie climbs into the rarified air of authors who provide a truly new perspective on the aerial conflict over Southeast Asia. Packed with insightful analysis, reliant on valuable sources, and penned with cogent prose, Air Power’s Lost Cause is a fresh look at how air power came of age during the Vietnam War, yet still never made it quite to full maturity either. Simply one of the best books on the subject.
Brian Laslie presents history in a formidable style that challenges the reader to evaluate facts and question the conclusions he derives from them. His latest book, Air Power’s Lost Cause, divides and analyzes the U.S. Air Force’s combat in the Vietnam War into six parts. The book is part of the War and Society Series, which investigates the history of the conduct of war, along with its social consequences.