More Than a Soldier's War
Pacification in Vietnam
Military History - Vietnam War
6 x 9, 224 pp.
12 b&w photos., 5 maps.
Pub Date: 11/01/1995
Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History Series
  cloth
Price:        $29.95

978-0-89096-666-2

Published by Texas A&M University Press

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More Than a Soldier's War

Pacification in Vietnam

By Edward P. Metzner

In the hamlets and villages of Vietnam, America waged a little-known war to serve and build in the midst of strife that destroyed and killed. The pacification program, "for the hearts and minds" of the Vietnamese people, represented an attempt to settle the conflict by bolstering support for the South Vietnam government and encouraging grass-roots opposition to the Viet Cong and the North. In that program, Col. Edward Metzner spent eight years as an advisor to district and provincial chiefs; his story is the story of the better side of Americans' involvement in Southeast Asia.

More Than a Soldier's War joins together, in one man's experiences, the beginning of the war, the ensuing agonizing course of events, and the ignominious end of one of modern history's most controversial and tormenting conflicts. It vividly describes Americans' efforts to save lives from the grinding daily carnage, shield the innocent, and provide hope for a future of peace and security, all while entangled in a relentless, grisly people's war. Individual Vietnamese emerge in dramatic relief in these pages: greedy, imperious army officers; intelligent, sympathetic village leaders; parents willing to risk their lives for their children's future welfare.

This eyewitness account, with its close-up look at an important side of the war, takes the war out of the strictly military arena and puts faces on those who worked hard to achieve a lasting victory. Arguing that more attention to the needs of the people and less to military tactics might have led to a different result, Metzner fairly lays blame for hindering the progress of the pacification effort at the feet of both South Vietnamese and American military leaders. Through his own experiences, he demonstrates that those involved at a grass-roots level accomplished a great deal that was never accurately reflected in reports on the war.

Edward Metzner is a retired army officer who is now coordinator of employment programs for the Private Industry Council, County of Monterey, California. As a lieutenant colonel and colonel, he served four tours of duty as a district- and province-level liaison with his Vietnamese counterparts in the pacification program. He is the American most decorated by the Republic of Vietnam.

What Readers Are Saying:

"an excellent work . . . mercifully free of abstract pontification. . . . [The University of California] Vietnam War Archive, with its sections on psychological warfare; propaganda analysis; political warfare; the VC's political dau tranh or struggle strategy and its three van or action programs, etc.—perhaps a total of 150,000 pages—contains nothing that matches [More Than a Soldier's War.]"--Douglas Pike, Indochina Studies Project, University of California

"an excellent work . . . mercifully free of abstract pontification. . . . [The University of California] Vietnam War Archive, with its sections on psychological warfare; propaganda analysis; political warfare; the VC's political dau tranh or struggle strategy and its three van or action programs, etc.—perhaps a total of 150,000 pages—contains nothing that matches [More Than a Soldier's War.]" --Douglas Pike, Indochina Studies Project, University of California

"More Than a Soldier's War is a powerful, affecting story of distinguished service up to a tragic end. . . . It is a splendid account . . . Moreover, it is exceedingly thoughtful, and fascinating to boot." --Robert W. Komer, former Assistant to President Johnson and Chief Advisor on P

“There are . . . officers whose stories can lend a perspective to the war that is available no other way. One such story is More Than a Soldier's War." --California Zephyr

“A well-written, fact-filled memoir . . . " --VVA Veteran

“Hundreds of books have been written about the American experience in Viet-Nam, however, few have been written about the advisory effort in general and the pacification effort specifically. Col. Metzner’s book does an excellent job in filling this gap.” --Military: The Press of Freedom

“A clear and honest description and evaluation of a cooperative program by the United States and Vietnam that was almost never reported in the media. . . . Colonel Metzner gives a very frank and well-organized explanation of the program. . . . Colonel Metzner is a gifted writer and his book tells an important part of our history, which certainly needed telling. It gives us a reason to be proud of the work done by the Pacification program.” --Purple Heart Magazine

“A major Vietnam literature contribution. Metzner plainly highlights the problems of advising a foreign army and its people. . . . The lessons he identifies are valuable for the US military in any future advisory effort.” --Military Review

“Colonel Metzner’s account of the workings of the pacification program at the local level in the provinces, districts and villages of Vietnam fills an important gap in the history of the war there, which is otherwise too dominated by the `soldier’s war’ which most Americans experienced. He is honest in his frustrations, but also in his recognition that the program did have a major impact in bring peace and progress to the countryside where most Vietnamese lived. It won the `people’s war’ against the communists, only to see that the `soldier’s war’ to which they later turned overwhelmed a Vietnam abandoned by its American protector.” --William E. Colby

“I have read your book More Than a Soldier’s War. I must congratulate you for having transformed a normally unglamorous provincial advisory role into an exciting experience. And you have done an excellent job of, as you put it, `telling the story faithfully and accurately.’. . . Finally, I am glad that we had advisors like yourself who had a profound empathy for the plight of Vietnamese people and who tried hard to help.” --Lam Quang Thi, Lt. Gen., ARVN

“An authoritative description of the war in the boondocks with valuable research material and case studies for historians to employ.” --Indochina Chronology

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