A Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist in History
Winner of the 2018 Marine Corps Heritage Foundation Greene Award for a distinguished work of nonfiction.
The first battle book from Mark Bowden since his #1 New York Times bestseller Black Hawk Down, Hue 1968, "an instantly recognizable classic of military history" (Christian Science Monitor), was published to massive critical acclaim and became a New York Times bestseller.
In the early hours of January 31, 1968, the North Vietnamese launched over one hundred attacks across South Vietnam in what would become known as the Tet Offensive. The lynchpin of Tet was the capture of Hue, Vietnam's intellectual and cultural capital, by 10,000 National Liberation Front troops who descended from hidden camps and surged across the city of 140,000. Within hours the entire city was in their hands save for two small military outposts. American commanders refused to believe the size and scope of the Front's presence, ordering small companies of marines against thousands of entrenched enemy troops. After several futile and deadly days, Lieutenant Colonel Ernie Cheatham would finally come up with a strategy to retake the city in some of the most intense urban combat since World War II.
With unprecedented access to war archives in the U.S. and Vietnam and inter-views with participants from both sides, Bowden narrates each stage of this crucial battle through multiple viewpoints. Played out over twenty-four days and ultimately costing 10,000 lives, the Battle of Hue was the bloodiest of the entire war. When it ended, the American debate was never again about winning, only about how to leave. Hue 1968 is a gripping and moving account of this pivotal moment.
Meticulously analytical... excellent... gives us the clearest picture yet of what happened in Vietnam * USA Today * An extraordinary feat of journalism... To understand what it is to be human, you must understand war, which is unique to our species. In Hue 1968, we read about humanity placed in a crucible, out of which comes both refined steel and slag. Here the best and worst of human behaviour is exposed in glaring light. -- Karl Marlantes * Wall Street Journal * Bowden tells this story with a power and a wealth of detail that no previous history of this offensive has approached - this is another instantly-recognizable classic of military history. * Christian Science Monitor * Hue 1968 is, by far, the most comprehensive (and balanced) coverage on this battle I've seen. -- Brigadier General Mike Downs, USMC (ret.) Hue 1968 unravels one of the great mysteries of our time... Did the Battle of Hue end up as a victory or defeat? The answer depends on who's asking and who's telling. Bowden takes on both roles and does it well. -- Lieutenant Colonel Charles A. Krohn (ret.), author of THE LOST BATTALION OF TET This book is a tragic tale of misunderstanding but also one of great heroism and sacrifice by those who fought in the streets of Hue and in the nearby rice paddies and villages. -- Brigadier General Howard T. Prince II, USMC (ret.), Commanding Officer, Bravo Company, 5/7 Cavalry, 1968 There is no more complete, accurate and detailed book. It reads like a novel even though is it made up almost exclusively of very personal accounts. -- John Wear, president of the USMC Vietnam Tankers Association
Mark Bowden is the author of thirteen books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Black Hawk Down and the Sunday Times bestseller Killing Pablo. He reported at the Philadelphia Inquirer for twenty years and now writes for the Atlantic, Vanity Fair, and other magazines. He is also the writer in residence at the University of Delaware. His most recent book is The Three Battles of Wanat: And Other True Stories.