B.A. (1967), History, Harvard University
M.A. (1972), Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan
Ph.D. (1977), History, University of Michigan
ROTC Workshop in Military History, U.S.M.A., West Point, summer 1982.
1969–70 (two full years): U.S. Peace Corps, Miri, Sarawak, East Malaysia. Teaching History, Economics, Mathematics, and English, first form (equivalent to U.S. junior high) to upper sixth form (equivalent to U.S. junior college).
1976–77: Instructor in History, Appalachian State University.
1978: Adjunct Professor of History, University of Detroit
1979–present: Clemson University (Visiting Assistant Professor 1979–81, Assistant Professor 1981–84, Associate Professor 1984–88, Professor 1988– ).
Land Reform in China and North Vietnam: Consolidating the Revolution at the Village Level. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1983.
Modern China: A History. London and New York: Longman, 1986.
Second edition: London and New York: Longman, 1994. Third Edition: London and New York: Longman, 2008.
Tonkin Gulf and the Escalation of the Vietnam War. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996.
Published July 2019: Tonkin Gulf and the Escalation of the Vietnam War, revised edition. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2019.
Historical Dictionary of the Vietnam War. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2001.
The A to Z of the Vietnam War. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2005. (A revised and updated version of the historical dictionary.)
The Myths of Tet: The Most Misunderstood Event of the Vietnam War. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2017.
"Land Reform and Land Reform Errors in North Vietnam", Pacific Affairs, 49:1 (Spring 1976), pp. 70–92. The text is available to subscribers on JSTOR.
"Downward Social Mobility in Pre-revolutionary China", Modern China, 3:1 (January 1977), pp. 3–31. The text is available to subscribers on JSTOR.
"Radical, Moderate and Optimal Patterns of Land Reform", Modern China, 4:1 (January 1978), pp. 79–90. The text and errata are available to subscribers on JSTOR.
"Class-ism in Vietnam", in William S. Turley, ed., Vietnamese Communism in Comparative Perspective, Westview Press, 1980, pp. 91–105. Online to paid subscribers of Questia.
"The Moral Economy Dispute" (review essay), Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, 14:1 (January–March 1982), pp. 72–77. The text is available online through Taylor & Francis.
"Why Westmoreland Gave Up" (review essay), Pacific Affairs, 58:4 (winter 1985–86), pp. 663–73. The text is available to subscribers on JSTOR.
"Nationalism and Communism in Vietnam", Journal of Third World Studies, V:2 (Fall 1988), pp. 6–22.
"Tonkin Gulf: Reconsidered", in William Cogar, ed., New Interpretations in Naval History: Selected Papers from the Eighth Naval History Symposium (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1989), pp. 304–22.
"JFK and the Myth of Withdrawal," in Marilyn B. Young and Robert Buzzanco, eds., A Companion to the Vietnam War (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2002), pp. 162–173.
"The Mirage of Negotiations," in Lloyd Gardner and Ted Gittinger, eds., The Search for Peace in Vietnam, 1964–1968 (Texas A&M University Press, 2004), pp. 73–82.
"The Myths of the Tet Offensive," in Michael Aung-Thwin and Kenneth R. Hall, eds., New Perspectives on the History and Historiography of Southeast Asia: Continuing Explorations (London and New York: Routledge, 2011), pp. 229–254.
"Chinese Public Policy: State-Society Relations in Historical Perspective," in Sujian Guo, ed., State-Society Relations and Governance in China (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014), pp. 71–80.
"Tonkin Gulf in Historical Perspective," Passport (the newsletter of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations), 45:2 (September 2014), pp. 46–50.
"The War in Numbers," in Lien-Hang T. Nguyen and Andrew Preston, eds., Cambridge History of the Vietnam War, volume II (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2024).
Iraq Wars Bibliography. A much more modest effort, currently listing somewhat more than 2,800 items.
Photos Taken in China, 2002 and 2005
"Land Reform and Land Reform Errors in North Vietnam", Asian Studies Section, Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters, Ann Arbor, April 4, 1975.
"Classism: Vietnamese Class Struggle in a Comparative Marxist Perspective", Association for Asian Studies conference on Vietnamese Marxism in Comparative Perspective, Washington, October 29, 1978.
"Tonkin Gulf Reconsidered", Naval History Symposium, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD, September 25, 1987.
"Nationalism and Communism in Vietnam", presented to the Association for Third World Studies, Americus, GA, April 15, 1988.
"Press Coverage of the Tonkin Gulf Incidents: August 1964", Popular Culture Association, St. Louis, MO, April 7, 1989.
"Limited War", Association for Asian Studies, Chicago, April 7, 1990.
"Guerrilla Warfare", Association of Third World Studies, Columbia, SC, October 12, 1990.
"Escalation Planning in 1964", Seminar on the History of the Vietnam/Indochina War, Columbia University, November 16, 1990.
"Herman Kahn's Model and the Escalation of the Vietnam War", Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, Washington, DC, June 22, 1991.
"The Domino Theory", Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, University of Maryland, June 19, 1998.
"Land Reform in North Vietnam, 1953–1956", at the 18th Annual Conference on Southeast Asian Studies, "Mass Political Violence in 20th Century Southeast Asia", Center for Southeast Asia Studies, University of California, Berkeley, February 16, 2001.
"The Mirage of Negotiations", at the conference "The Vietnam War: The Search for Peace in the Johnson Years", LBJ Presidential Library, April 22, 2001.
"Tonkin Gulf and the WMD Issue," at the 5th Triennial Vietnam Symposium, Texas Tech University, March 17, 2005.
Participant in the panel "Teaching the Tet Offensive and 1968: A Roundtable Discussion" at the Sixth Triennial Vietnam Symposium, The Vietnam Center, Texas Tech University, March 14, 2008.
"The Myths of the Tet Offensive." Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Military History, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, April 3, 2009.
"Chinese Public Policy in Historical Perspective". Paper presented at the International Convention of Asia Scholars, Macau, China, June 24, 2013.
"Chinese Public Policy: State-Society Relations in Historical Perspective". Paper (a slightly modified version of the previous item) presented at a conference "State-Society Relations in the New Era: Lessons from and for China," Fudan University, Shanghai, China, June 30, 2013.
"Reading Enemy Communications and Still Not Knowing: Tonkin Gulf 1964." Paper presented at the Symposium on Cryptologic History (hosted by the National Security Agency's Center for Cryptologic History), Laurel, MD, October 20, 2017.
"The Tet Offensive in Historical Perspective," presentation as part of the plenary session opening the conference "1968 and the Tet Offensive," Texas Tech University, April 27, 2018.
"Failures to Communicate," paper presented at the conference "1968 and the Tet Offensive," Texas Tech University, April 27, 2018.
"Myths of the Tet Offensive," presented at the First Division Museum at Cantigny Park, in Wheaton, Illinois, on September 12, 2018.
Clemson University Provost's Award for Scholarly Achievement, 2002
I have for more than thirty years been writing an overall history of the Vietnam War. I wrote a lengthy but very rough draft in the 1980s, then got diverted by other projects. My book on Tonkin Gulf was a section of this that grew to become a separate work. Then I expanded the section on the Tet Offensive to become a separate book. Recently as I was working on my study of asymmetric warfare (see below), incomporating portions of my old draft on the Vietnam War, I realized that looking at the Vietnam War through the lens of asymmetric warfare was giving me a clearer view of it than I had ever had before. This has motivated me to work much more actively on my manuscript on the Vietnam War, and I may have something ready to publish in the not too distant future.
I am in the early stages of writing a book titled An Asymmetric Power: The United States and Its Asymmetric Wars, looking at the way the status of the United States as the world's strongest power has shaped all American wars since World War II, not just the ones usually called "asymmetric wars."
I hope eventually to publish a study of the role of optimism in recent American wars, from Vietnam through Iraq. I will be comparing the case of Vietnam 1967-68 with other cases before and after that.
Revised March 22, 2023.