By MG (Ret) Edward B. Atkeson, Class of 1969
A Tale of Three Wars is simply a splendid book. Written by one of the military's leading thinkers, retired General Atkeson's book analyzes the complexities of the Vietnam War through the venue of historical fiction. He illustrates the fractured nature of the NLF (National Liberation Front) and Viet Cong, the often problematic relationship between the US and South Vietnamese intelligence and military authorities, and the troubled internal politics of South Vietnam itself. The result is a nuanced and sophisticated picture of the Vietnam War and the challenges faced by the US in dealing with the daunting problems of insurgency, corruption, and political infighting.
This book is particularly critical now during the War on Terrorism. Atkeson has shattered the notion that the NLF, VC, and North Vietnam represented a homogeneous, monolithic enemy. He has shown that beneath the thin skin of solidarity nationalist and ideological movements (and those purporting to be religious) are more often than not fractured alliances of necessity that hide competing ideas, agendas, and struggles for power. The most effective way to deal with them is to find the seams and the fractures and exploit them, as Atkeson's protagonist, Paul McCandless, did in the novel. A similar approach to the War on Terrorism is likely to be very successful. -- Christopher D. Kolenda, Editor and Co-Author of Leadership: The Warrior's Art.