Vietnam War Bibliography:

U.S. Policy: Nixon & Ford Administrations

Stephen Ambrose, Nixon, vol. 2, The Triumph of a Politician, 1962-1972. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989. 736 pp.

Stephen Ambrose, Nixon, vol. 3, Ruin and Recovery, 1973-1990. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991.

Mortimer P. Ames, III, "Presidential Communications Management in the Nixon Administration." Ph.D. dissertation, History, University of Chicago, 2002. 220 pp. AAT 3048362.

Larry Berman, No Peace, No Honor: Nixon, Kissinger, and Betrayal in Vietnam. New York: The Free Press, 2001. xv, 334 pp.

Larry Berman, "A Final Word on the 'Decent Interval' Strategy." SHAFR Newsletter, December 2003. (See also below, under Jeffrey Kimball.)

Hal W. Bochin, Richard Nixon: Rhetorical Strategist. New York: Greenwood, 1990. 237 pp.

Douglas Brinkley and Luke A. Nichter, eds., The Nixon Tapes, 1971-1972. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014. xxiii, 758 pp. Transcripts from the voice-activated taping system President Nixon kept in his office.

Douglas Brinkley and Luke A. Nichter, eds., The Nixon Tapes: 1973. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015. 848 pp. Covers the period January to July, 1973.

Virginia Brodine, Mark Selden, Keith M. Buchanan, and John W. Dower, Open Secret: The Kissinger-Nixon Doctrine in Asia. Introduction by Noam Chomsky. New York: Harper & Row, 1972. 218 pp.

William Bundy, A Tangled Web: The Making of Foreign Policy in the Nixon Presidency. New York: Hill and Wang, 1998. xix, 647 pp.

William Burr, ed., "Did Nixon Even Read the CIA's Daily Briefs?" National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 559, September 14, 2016. Argues that President Nixon paid little if any attention to the daily summary of intelligence matters sent to him by the CIA, despite the CIA's efforts to tailor it to his interests. He got his informaion from a daily report written by Henry Kissinger. The redacted texts of both the CIA's daily brief and Kissinger's version for several dates are appended, so one can compare.

William Burr and Jeffrey Kimball, "Nixon's Secret Nuclear Alert: Vietnam War Diplomacy and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Readiness Test, October 1969." Cold War History 3:2 (January 2003), pp. 113-56.

William Burr and Jeffrey Kimball, "Nixon's Nuclear Ploy." Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 59:1 (January/February 2003), pp. 28-37, 72-73.

William Burr and Jeffrey Kimball, eds., "Nixon's Nuclear Ploy: The Vietnam Negotiations and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Readiness Test, October 1969." National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 81. December 23, 2002. The texts of twelve of the documents that were sources for the two articles immediately above.

William Burr and Jeffrey Kimball, eds., "Nuclear Weapons, the Vietnam War, and the 'Nuclear Taboo'" National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 195, July 31, 2006. Documents from the contingency planning done during the year 1969, code name Duck Hook, for a possible escalation of attacks against North Vietnam, some of which consider the possibility of nuclear weapons use. Also an introductory essay by the editors.

William Burr and Jeffrey P. Kimball, Nixon's Nuclear Specter: The Secret Alert of 1969, Madman Diplomacy, and the Vietnam War. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2015. xv, 455 pp.

William Burr and Jeffrey P. Kimball, eds., "Nixon, Kissinger, and the Madman Strategy during Vietnam War." National Security Archive, George Washington University, May 29, 2015. Twenty-seven of the source documents for Nixon's Nuclear Specter

James M. Cannon, Time and Chance: Gerald Ford's Appointment with History. New York: HarperCollins, 1994. xvi, 496 pp. pb Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1998. xvi, 496 pp.

"Contemporary Practice of the United States Relating to International Law" or, occasionally, "Contemporary Practice of the United States Relating to Contemporary Law." A collection of material presenting U.S. opinions on issues involving international law appeared in each issue of The American Journal of International Law. It was compiled by someone (usually the Assistant Legal Adviser) in the Office of the Legal Adviser, Department of State. If you browse the Internet through an institution that has subscribed to JSTOR, you can access the full text of this journal through the JSTOR American Journal of International Law browse page. Some of the more interesting Vietnam-related material that can be found in these compilations:

Monica Crowley, Nixon in Winter. New York: Random House, 1998. xvi, 428 pp.

Gregory A. Daddis, "'A Better War?'—The View from the Nixon White House", Journal of Strategic Studies 36:3 (2013), pp. 357-384. Argues that relations between the White House and MACV were very poor from 1969 to 1972.

Robert Dallek, Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power. New York: HarperCollins, 2007. xii, 740 pp. I have not read this one, but my impression is that it is an important study.

Thomas M. DeFrank, Write It When I'm Gone: Remarkable Off-the-Record Conversations with Gerald R. Ford. New York: Putnam (Penguin), 2007. 258 pp.

Gerald R. Ford, A Time to Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald R. Ford. New York: Harper & Row, 1979. 454 pp.

Don Fulsom, Nixon's Darkest Secrets: The Inside History of America's Most Troubled President. New York: Thomas Dunne Books (St. Martin's), 2012. ix, 292 pp. I have skimmed a few pages, on the secret bombing of Cambodia. They looked seriously inaccurate.

Bill Gulley, with Mary Ellen Reese, Breaking Cover. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1980. 288 pp. Gulley was head of the White House Military Office.

Hannah Gurman, "The Other Plumbers Unit: The Dissent Channel of the U.S. State Department," Diplomatic History35:2 (April 2011), pp. 321-49.

Alexander M. Haig, Jr., with Charles McCarry, Inner Circles: How America Changed the World. New York: Warner, 1992. x, 610 pp. Haig, a young Army officer, was in the Pentagon 1962-65, served in Vietnam with the 1st Infantry Division 1966-67, then became one of the crucial shapers of US military and diplomatic policy serving under Henry Kissinger in the White House 1969-73.

H.R. Haldeman, The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House. New York: Putnam, 1994. xviii, 698 pp. This version, in book form, is abridged. A much more complete version, published on CD-ROM, is The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House, the Complete Multimedia Edition. Santa Monica: Sony Electronic Publishing, 1994. A vital source; Haldeman was Nixon's chief of staff in the White House.

Joan Hoff, Nixon Reconsidered. New York: Basic Books, 1994. xviii, 475 pp.

Captain Jane E. Holl, USA, "From the Streets of Washington to the Roofs of Saigon: Domestic Politics and the Termination of the Vietnam War," Ph.D. dissertation, Stanford, 1989. xi, 486 pp.

Ole R. Holsti and James N. Rosenau, American Leadership in World Affairs: Vietnam and the Breakdown of Consensus. Boston: Allen & Unwin, 1984. xvi, 301 pp.

Ken Hughes, "Fatal Politics: Nixon's Political Timetable for Withdrawing from Vietnam." Diplomatic History 34:3 (June 2010), 497-506.

Ken Hughes, Chasing Shadows: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair, and the Origins of Watergate. University of Virginia Press, 2014.

Ken Hughes, Fatal Politics: The Nixon Tapes, the Vietnam War, and the Casualties of Reelection. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015. xii, 273 pp.

Johannes Kadura, The War after the War: The Struggle for Credibility during America's Exit from Vietnam. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2016. xvi, 231 pp.

Morton Kaplan, Abram Chayes, G. Warren Nutter, Paul C. Warnke, John P. Roche, and Clayton Fritchey, Vietnam Settlement: Why 1973, not 1969? Washington: American Enterprise Institute, 1973. 208 pp.

Edward C. Keefer, "Key Sources for Nixon's Foreign Policy." Passport, 38:2 (August 2007), pp. 27-30.

Jeffrey Kimball, Nixon's Vietnam War. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1998. xvi, 495 pp. Best on Nixon, Kissinger, their relations with one another, and their handling of the Paris negotiations.

Jeffrey Kimball, The Vietnam War Files: Uncovering the Secret History of Nixon-Era Strategy. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2004. xvii, 352 pp. Winner of the Arthur Link - Warren Kuehl Prize, awarded by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.

Jeffrey Kimball, "The Case of the 'Decent Interval': Do We Now Have a Smoking Gun?" SHAFR Newsletter, 32:3 (September 2001), pp. 35-39. There was an exchange over this issue between Kimball and Larry Berman in 33:1 (March 2002), pp. 37-44. See also above, under Berman.

Jeffrey Kimball, "Decent Interval or Not? The Paris Agreement and the End of the Vietnam War." SHAFR Newsletter, December 2003.

Henry Kissinger became President Nixon's special assistant for national security affairs in 1969. Nixon gave him far more power than had ever before been attached to that office. In September 1973 he became concurrently secretary of state. He held both offices until November 1975; he was only secretary of state from then until January 1977.

Herbert G. Klein, Making It Perfectly Clear: An Inside Account of Nixon's Love-Hate Relationship with the Media. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1980. xiii, 464 pp. Klein was communications director in the Nixon White House.

Lawrence J. Korb, The Fall and Rise of the Pentagon: American Defense Policies in the 1970s. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1979. xi, 192 pp.

Stanley I. Kutler, ed., Abuse of Power: The New Nixon Tapes. New York: The Free Press, 1997. xxiii, 675 pp. Some Vietnam-related material, but not a lot.

John F. Lehman, The Executive, Congress, and Foreign Policy: Studies of the Nixon Administration. New York: Praeger, 1976. xv, 247 pp.

Bronwyn Lewis, "Nixon, vietnam, and Audience Costs". This essay, and comments on it by several scholars, are online in James McAllister, ed., ISSF Forum on "Audience Costs and the Vietnam War".

Robert S. Litwak, Détente and the Nixon Doctrine: American Foreign Policy and the Pursuit of Stability, 1969-1976. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984. vii, 232 pp.

Ray Locker, Nixon's Gamble: How a President's Own Secret Government Destroyed His Administration. Lyons Press, 2015 (forthcoming). 352 pp.

Fredrik Logevall and Andrew Preston, eds., Nixon in the World: American Foreign Relations, 1967-1977. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. The two essays most directly focused on Vietnam are "Waging War on All Fronts: Nixon, Kissinger, and the Vietnam War, 1969-1972," by Lien-Hang T. Nguyen, and "The End of the Vietnam War, 1973-1975," by Robert D. Schulzinger. But there are also numerous comments on the war elsewhere in this volume.

Adm. John S. McCain, Jr., "Red Shadow over Asia," Ordnance, no. 305 (March-April 1971), pp. 431-435.

Kelly McHugh, "Understanding Congress's Role in Terminating Unpopular Wars: A Comparison of the Vietnam and Iraq Wars," Democracy and Security 10:3 (2014), pp. 191-224.

Yanek Mieczkowski, Gerald Ford and the Challenges of the 1970s. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2005. xi, 455 pp.

Roger Morris, Haig: The General's Progress. New York: Playboy Press, 1982. xxv, 450 pp. Morris was on the National Security Council staff for part of the time that Haig was there.

John P. Murtha, with John Plashal, From Vietnam to 9/11: On the Front Lines of National Security. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003. xii, 244 pp. The first chapter includes Murtha's Vietnam service. In 1966, he was a major in the Marine Corps Reserve. He volunteered to return to active duty and go to Vietnam, where he was made the intelligence officer of the 1st Marine Regiment; he held that job for a year. In 1974, he became the first Vietnam veteran to be elected to Congress; he travelled to Vietnam early in 1975 to evaluate the question of supplementary aid, which as a Democratic Party hawk he supported, and again in 1978 in connection with the search for MIAs.

National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM) One: "The Situation in Vietnam." On January 21, 1969, Henry Kissinger presented a long list of questions about the Vietnam War (many of them in multiple parts) to the Departments of State and Defense, the JCS, the CIA, MACV, and the U.S. Ambassador in Saigon. He made a deliberate effort to get the divergent views of different organizations, rather than have them reach a consensus and then give him the consensus. A long summary of the results has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project at Texas Tech University, in six parts: front matter including cover letter of March 22, 1969, general summary (32 pp.), and Vietnam Questions (6 pp);   summary of responses to questions 1-10 (Communist forces, policies, and capabilities);   summary of responses to questions 11-15 (RVN forces, and pacification);   summary of responses to questions 16-21 (pacification, operations and administration in countryside);   summary of responses to questions 22-26 (Vietnamese politics; military operations);   summary of responses to questions 27-29 (effectiveness of bombing).

Ron Nessen, It Sure Looks Different from the Inside. Chicago: Playboy Press, 1978. pb Chicago: Playboy Press, 1979. xv, 367 pp. Nessen, a journalist who had spent considerable time covering the Vietnam War as a correspondent for NBC, served as press secretary to President Ford. (See also Nessen's other memoir listed under The Media).

Larry A. Niksch, Vietnamization: The Program and Its Problems. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, January 5, 1972. 78 pp. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University, in two parts: Front matter and pp. 1-44, pp. 45-78.

Richard Nixon, No More Vietnams. New York: Arbor House, 1985. 240 pp. pb New York: Avon, 1986. 240 pp.

Richard Nixon, The Real War. New York: Warner, 1980. 341 pp. pb, with a new introduction, New York: Warner, 1981. xvi, 366 pp. Contains only a moderate amount of discussion of Vietnam.

Richard Nixon, RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1978. xi, 1120 pp. is a project making available, online, both transcripts and audio recordings from the taping system Nixon used in the White House.

Chester Pach, "'Our Worst Enemy Seems to Be the Press': TV News, the Nixon Administration, and U.S. Troop Withdrawal from Vietnam, 1969-1973," Diplomatic History 34:3 (June 2013).

Rick Perlstein, ed., Richard Nixon: Speeches, Writings, Documents. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008. lxix, 291 pp.

Rick Perlstein, Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America. New York: Scribner, 2008. xiii, 881 pp. Covers Nixon's career roughly 1965-1972.

Douglas Pike, ed., The Bunker Papers: Reports to the President from Vietnam, 1967-1973, 3 vols., Indochina Research Monograph #5. Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, 1990. xxxix, 899 pp. These reports, written by US Ambassador to Vietnam Ellsworth Bunker, mostly date from 1967 and 1968. The index is a big help. Vol. 3 (reports dated 12/19/68 to 5/5/73, and index) is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.

David L. Prentice, "Choosing 'the Long Road': Henry Kissinger, Melvin Laird, Vietnamization, and the War over Nixon’s Vietnam Strategy," Diplomatic History 40:3 (June 2016), pp. 445-474.

Stephen P. Randolph, "A Bigger Game: Nixon, Kissinger, and the 1972 Easter Offensive." Ph.D. dissertation, History, George Washington University, 2005. 678 pp. AAT 3158518. The full text of the dissertation is available online if you are browsing the Internet from an institution, such as Clemson University, that has a subscription to ProQuest "Dissertations and Theses: Full Text."

Stephen P. Randolph, Powerful and Brutal Weapons: Nixon, Kissinger, and the Easter Offensive. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007. x, 401 pp. Judging by the quality of a paper based on this research, which Col. Randolph (USAF, Ret.) presented at a conference at Texas Tech University, March 19, 2005, I expect this book to be excellent.

Peter W. Rodman, More Precious Than Peace: The Cold War and the Struggle for the Third World. New York: Scribner's, 1994. xiii, 654 pp. Rodman was an aide to Henry Kissinger. I haven't seen this, but it could be very interesting.

Peter W. Rodman, Presidential Command: Power, Leadership, and the Making of Foreign Policy from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush. New York: Knopf, 2009. xiii, 351 pp.

William Safire, Before the Fall: An Inside View of the Pre-Watergate White House. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1975. xii, 704 pp. Safire was a speechwriter for President Nixon.

Sandra Scanlon, "The Conservative Lobby and Nixon's 'Peace with Honor' in Vietnam," Journal of American Studies 43:2 (August 2009).

Jonathan Schell, The Time of Illusion. New York: Knopf, 1976. 392, xii pp. A study of both foreign and domestic policy under the Nixon presidency.

David F. Schmitz, Richard Nixon and the Vietnam War: The End of the American Century. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014. xvi, 161 pp.

Thomas Alan Schwartz, "'Henry,... Winning an Election is Terribly Important': Partisan Politics in the History of U.S. Foreign Relations." Diplomatic History, 33:2 (April 2009), pp. 173-190. Not limited to the Nixon administration, but emphasizing it.

Asaf Siniver, Nixon, Kissinger, and U.S. Foreign Policy Making: The Machinery of Crisis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. xvi, 252 pp. Looks at the role of the Washington Special Actions Group (WSAG), a small interdepartmental group chaired by Kissinger, in the Nixon administration's handling of four crises, one of which was the 1970 Cambodian incursion.

Melvin Small, The Presidency of Richard Nixon. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1999. xix, 387 pp.

Melvin Small, ed., A Companion to Richard M. Nixon. Blackwell, 2011. 648 pp. Includes Jeffrey P. Kimball's historiographic essay "The Vietnam War" (pp. 380-399).

Bartholomew H. Sparrow, The Strategist: Brent Scowcroft and the Call of National Security. New York: PublicAffairs, 2015. xvii, 717 pp. Scowcroft, an Air Force officer, served on the Joint Staff, then shifted to the White House staff at the end of 1971, initially as the military assistant to the president, later as a deputy to Henry Kissinger.

Gerald S. Strober and Deborah Hart Strober, Nixon: An Oral History of His Presidency. New York: HarperCollins, 1994. xi, 576 pp. pb 1996.

Deborah Hart Strober and Gerald S. Strober, The Nixon Presidency: An Oral History of the Era. Washington, DC: Brassey's, 2003. xi, 587 pp. A revised edition of the above item.

Tad Szulc, The Illusion of Peace: Foreign Policy in the Nixon Years. New York: Viking, 1978. vii, 822 pp.

Sarah J. Thelen, "Friends on the Outside: The Nixon White House and Mobilizing Support for the War i Vietnam, 1969-74." Ph.D. dissertation, American University, 2012. DA 3540412.

Dale Van Atta, With Honor: Melvin Laird in War, Peace, and Politics. University of Wisconsin Press, 2008. xviii, 641. 648 pp. An authorized biography of Nixon's Secretary of Defense.

Tim Weiner, One Man Against the World: The Tragedy of Richard Nixon. Holt, 2015.

Richard J. Whalen, Catch the Falling Flag: A Republican's Challenge to his Party. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1972. viii, 308 pp. Whalen had been one of Nixon's speechwriters.

James H. Willbanks, Abandoning Vietnam: How America Left and South Vietnam Lost its War. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2004. xi, 377 pp. I have looked at the first five pages, and found a starting number of errors, some of them quite serious. Example: p. 5 describes the fighting in the Tet Offensive of 1968 as having been much briefer than it actually was. Example: p. 3 says that in October 1974, "the U.S. Congress appropriated only $700 million for the defense of South Vietnam and Cambodia, indicating that the amount would be drastically cut in the future." P. 4, discussing the situation of early 1975, says "Congress had further reduced military aid to Saigon." The reality is that the figure of $700 million voted in October 1974 was only the South Vietnam component of the Fiscal Year 1975 military aid package for South Vietnam and Cambodia. The Cambodia component, $200 million, was added in a second vote in December. The Congress did not reduce aid below this $900 million. Right up until the time the war was ended by the fall of Phnom Penh and Saigon, U.S. aid continued to flow on the basis of the $900 million figure, which indeed had been augmented, not reduced, since the Congress had given the Defense Department permission to give to give items that were considered surplus to U.S. military need--tens of thousands of tons of artillery shells, for example--without counting their value as part of the $900 million figure for military aid. Seeing so many errors in the early pages has discouraged me from reading further.

Ronald L. Ziegler was President Nixon's press secretary. His papers have been donated to the Library of Congress. They should someday be a very valuable resource, but it may take time to process them, and also there are some access restrictions.

A variety of documents relating to the Vietnam War have been placed online by the Gerald Ford Presidential Library. See

The Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training has been placed online as part of the American Memory project of the Library of Congress.

See also Peace Negotiations and the Paris Agreement.

See also The Last Stage, 1973-1975.

See also State Department Publications.

Return to Table of Contents

Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, Edwin E. Moise. This document may be reproduced only by permission. Revised February 14, 2017.