Title: New Zealand’s Vietnam War – A history of combat, commitment and controversy
Author: McGibbon, Ian
Edition: 1st Edition
Publication Date: 2010
Cover: Hard Cover without Dust Jacket – 704 pages
Comments: New Zealand’s Vietnam War provides a comprehensive and authoritative account of New Zealand’s involvement in the Vietnam War, one that will remain the standard reference work on the subject for decades. Its publication will complete the programme of official war history production that began in 1945.
This work focuses on what New Zealand did in South Vietnam, as the reasons for this country’s involvement and opposition to it have already been covered in book form. It traces in detail the operations carried out by New Zealand forces in Vietnam and seeks to illuminate the experience of New Zealand soldiers fighting in a guerrilla war. The command structure, logistic support and operational context of fighting within a primarily Australian framework are all covered. The book addresses controversial aspects such as friendly fire incidents, atrocity allegations and veterans’ grievances, including over Agent Orange.
Maori participation in V Force was substantial and its impact is assessed. Although the book is inevitably weighted towards the military, because the troops were the largest element of New Zealand’s effort in Vietnam, the efforts of civilians in South Vietnam are also covered in depth. The surgical team operated from 1963 until their evacuation from Qui Nhon just days before North Vietnamese columns entered the city. The efforts of courageous civilians like Sister Mary Laurence and of Red Cross volunteers to alleviate misery among refugees are described.
The book also covers the dramatic end of the New Zealand involvement in South Vietnam – with the surgical team and the New Zealand Embassy evacuated by RNZAF Bristol Freighters just before the communist victory. The war’s troubled aftermath is traversed, culminating in the Prime Minister’s apology to veterans in 2007.
About the Author:
Ian McGibbon is General Editor (War History) at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. He has numerous publications to his credit, including the two-volume official history of New Zealand’s involvement in the Korean War, New Zealand and the Second World War: The people, the battles and the legacy, and several studies of New Zealand defence policy. With John Crawford, he edited New Zealand’s Great War (Exisle 2007). Since 1981 he has been managing editor of New Zealand International Review, the journal of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. He was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to historical research in 1997, and he lives in Wellington.