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markk

markk

Currently reading

The Industrialisation of Soviet Russia, Volume 1: The Socialist Offensive: The Collectivisation of Soviet Agriculture, 1929-1930
Robert William Davies
Progress: 116/512 pages
The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815-1914
Richard J. Evans
Progress: 219/928 pages
Young Wilhelm: The Kaiser's Early Life, 1859-1888
John C. G. Röhl
Progress: 229/1016 pages

A prime example of confirmation bias

The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Vietnam War - Phillip Jennings

This godawful book is best read as an example of confirmation bias. Jennings's goal in it is to show that 1) the U.S. won the Vietnam War 2) that Congress then lost it by "defenestrating" Nixon and abandoning South Vietnam in 1975. Along the way he argues that Ngo Dinh Diem was not such a bad guy, and that the South Vietnamese effort was undermined by delusional soldiers like John Paul Vann and agenda-driven reporters. To make these arguments, he has to ignore any pesky details that run counter to his own viewpoint (such as the brutality of French control over Vietnam and Eisenhower's manifest reluctance to intervene in 1954, to cite just two examples), as well as the mountain of evidence that supports them. It's not as if he lacked the space, as he apparently felt it necessary to pad out his account with a few descriptions of individual battles and an "interview" that reads as if it was conducted with himself in an echo chamber. It all makes for a lousy book, one that does a disservice to the argument he is attempting to make.