Nation: Recollections of the Fall

South Viet Nam's onetime leaders reflect on their defeat

Viet Nam won't go away. The war rages on in an extravaganza of movies (The Deer Hunter), in novels and memoirs (Dispatches), and now in the headlines about Viet Nam's attack on neighboring Cambodia. Until recently, however, there was a major gap in all the public recollections: there was no systematic analysis by senior leaders of South Viet Nam of their country's sudden and crushing defeat in 1975.

Last week that gap was filled. In an impressively restrained but at times moving report entitled The Fall of South Vietnam, published by the Rand Corp.,...

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