Tag Archives: Mark Bradley

Marilyn Young Analyzes Counterinsurgency

For the next National History Center and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Weekly History Seminar, Marilyn B. Young, Professor of History at New York University, analyzes “The Eternal Question of Counterinsurgency” on Monday, May 3, 2010 at the Wilson Center.

What are historians to make of the phrase made famous during the Vietnam war, “hearts and minds”? With the advantage of distance in time and the cooling of passions, it seems clear that the phrase reflected a tactic of counterinsurgency characteristic of the European colonial empires as well as the American attempt to find a solution to the war. The rediscovery of counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan is not only a military tactic but also something that approaches an ideology—and something well worth discussing in the context of the war in Vietnam.

Please click here to watch a video presentation of the seminar.

Marilyn Young is a graduate of Vassar and Harvard. Her books include The Rhetoric of Empire: American China Policy, 1895–1901; The Vietnam Wars, 1945–1990; and (with William G. Rosenberg) Transforming Russia and China: Revolutionary Struggle in the Twentieth Century. She also co-edited with Mark A. Bradley the first volume of the Center’s Reinterpreting History series, which is entitled Making Sense of the Vietnam War: Local, National, and Transnational Perspectives.

This is part of the weekly history seminar that aims to facilitate the understanding of contemporary affairs in light of historical knowledge of all times and places, and from multiple perspectives. Click here to see a complete listing of the schedule of speakers and topics, as well as videos of the presentations.

New Books in History Podcast of Making Sense of the Vietnam Wars

New Books In History
New Books In History

New Books in History has a new podcast of an interview with Mark Philip Bradley and Marilyn Young, the editors of the Making Sense of the Vietnam Wars, the first volume in the Reinterpreting History series produced by the National History Center and Oxford University Press. The volumes in the series aim to convey to readers how and why historians revise and reinterpret their understanding of the past, and they do so by focusing on a particular historical topic, event, or idea that has long gained the attention of historians.

As Marshall Poe, editor of New Books in History,  states, “[The] authors provide no simple answers because there are none. You will not find easy explanations, good guys and bad guys, or ideological drum-beating in these pages. What you will find is a sensitive effort to understand an event of mind-boggling, irreducible complexity. There’s a lesson here: we may think we know what we are doing on far-away shores, but we are fooling ourselves.”

Click here to listen to the podcast.

Making Sense of the Vietnam Wars
Making Sense of the Vietnam Wars

Both this and the second volume in the Reinterpreting History series on the Atlantic World are available for purchase.
The podcast of the Atlantic World on New Books in History is available here.

Making Sense of the Vietnam Wars Reviewed

The first volume of the Reinterpreting History series, published by Oxford University Press, received a great book review in the latest volume of the Journal of American History (volume 96, issue 1). The volume, entitled Making Sense of the Vietnam Wars: Local, National, and Transnational Perspectives is edited by Mark Philip Bradley and Marilyn B. Young.

Reviewer Patrick Hagopian from Lancaster University in Lancaster, England, says, “This volume gathers together a group of distinguished scholars to bring fresh perspectives to the question, ‘Why Vietnam?’ Their contributions address the factors that led the United States to intervene militarily in Vietnam and the reasons (other than military strategy and feats of arms) that the conflict developed and concluded as it did; they also demonstrate the liveliness of current historiographical debates. The emergence of new interpretations results in part from the availability of new Vietnamese-language archives, the declassification of documents in the United States, and the release of materials in China, Eastern Europe, and Russia…..

“…The new synthesis toward which this volume excitingly, although perhaps distantly, signals, will involve not just the integration of materials from various national archives but the tracing of the connections between the large-scale and finely observed local perspectives that its contributions explore. The cutting-edge research in this volume constitutes a crucial addition to the library of anyone interested in the histories of the Vietnam Wars.”


The full review is availabe at the  History Cooperative.  This volume, and the second volume in the series  on Atlantic History, are available for purchase through the Center’s E-Store.