I just finished reading one of the better novels I have read. Matterhorn is a novel of Vietnam. How accurate the portrayal is, I will leave to those who were there. The story is compelling in any case.
I am a student of history. I particularly like military history. The Vietnam War has long left me perplexed. I am certain I have not studied enough, but I fail to understand the rationale behind not directly attacking the North. The Vietcong was virtually eliminated after the 1968 Tet Offensive, so the US could have easily moved the offensive North. Why didn't we attack Hanoi and flush the Communist leaders? Why didn't we launch a strong campaign across the DMZ? The North Vietnamese would have been forced to bring the troops out of Laos and Cambodia to protect from this invasion. What was the purpose of a war of attrition with no military objective beyond killing as many of the enemy as we could find? Did we really believe the USSR or China would go to nukes over a shithole like Vietnam?
I am not alone in my skepticism over the tactics and strategy of our efforts in Vietnam. The classic war novels of the era echo the futility and waste of the efforts of a generation of Americans. Coonts, Berent, and Marlantes are just a few who have raised these questions.