Bookshelf Spotlight: Southeast Asian Wars

Featured Books

* A War of Frontier and Empire: The Philippine-American War, 1899-1902
* Confrontation: The War with Indonesia 1962 – 1966
* For Us Surrender Is Out of the Question: A Story from Burma’s Never-Ending War
* Hanoi’s War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam (The New Cold War History)
* Thailand’s Secret War: OSS, SOE and the Free Thai Underground During World War II (Cambridge Military Histories)

A War of Frontier and Empire: The Philippine-American War, 1899-1902


by David J. Silbey
Hill and Wang, 2008

It has been termed an insurgency, a revolution, a guerrilla war, and a conventional war. As David J. Silbey demonstrates in this taut, compelling history, the 1899 Philippine-American War was in fact all of these. Played out over three distinct conflicts -one fought between the Spanish and the allied United States and Filipino forces; one fought between the United States and the Philippine Army of Liberation; and one fought between occupying American troops and an insurgent alliance of often divided Filipinos- the war marked America’s first steps as a global power and produced a wealth of lessons learned and forgotten.

First-rate military history, A War of Frontier and Empire retells an often forgotten chapter in America’s past, infusing it with commanding contemporary relevance.

Hill and Wang |Goodreads | Amazon | Google Books

Return to Top

Confrontation: The War with Indonesia 1962 – 1966


by Nick van der Bijl
Pen and Sword, 2008

For over four years in the ‘Swinging Sixties’ the armed forces of the UK were engaged in a little publicized but crucial jungle war against communist aggressive on the vast island of Borneo.
At any one time up to 50,000 troops (half of the Army’s strength today) were deployed along a 1,000 mile front. Their enemy were the communist led Indonesians whose leaders were determined to seize the states of Sarawak, Sabah and the oil rich Brunei, all of whom for their part wished to maintain their Commonwealth links. The catalyst for the war was the 1962 uprising in Brunei which was quickly crushed by the bold intervention of British army units.

The arrival of Major General Walter Walker, himself a controversial figure, gave the subsequent campaign a clear direction. Indonesian incursions were rigorously defended and ruthlessly pursued. Top Secret ‘Claret’ operations took the fight to the enemy with cross border operations initially using Special Forces and later with Chindit-style long range patrols. The outcome was a text book military victory thus avoiding a British ‘Viet Nam’ debacle.

Pen and Sword | Goodreads | Amazon | Google Books

Return to Top

For Us Surrender Is Out of the Question: A Story from Burma’s Never-Ending War


by Mac McClelland
Soft Skull Press, 2010

There are bad things going on in Burma that you don’t know about. There’s a civil war (the world’s longest running, in fact) raging between the government and ethnic rebels. Much of the United States’ heroin comes from there. And there’s the small matter that America helped make it all possible with overt funding and the CIA’s very first secret war. Of course, you wouldn’t know any of this, because Burma is a country nearly shut out from the rest of the world, with the only footage of the carnage coming via groups of young, tough, booze-loving refugees who run into war zones to collect it. And with these refugees is where we find Mac McClelland embedded in her staggering debut, For Us Surrender Is Out of the Question. McClelland weaves a narrative that is part investigative journalism, part popular history, and part memoir of a Midwestern, twentysomething girl living with refugee activists on the Burma-Thailand border. Driven by the community McClelland is illegally aiding-a small group of brave young men and women-For Us Surrender Is Out of the Question is an urgent and fascinating look at a weary conflict, told by a bright, new voice.

Soft Skull Press | Goodreads| Amazon | Google Books

Return to Top

Hanoi’s War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam (The New Cold War History)


by Lien-Hang T. Nguyen
The University of North Carolina Press, 2012

While most historians of the Viet Nam War focus on the origins of U.S. involvement and the Americanization of the conflict, Lien-Hang T. Nguyen examines the international context in which North Vietnamese leaders pursued the war and American intervention ended. This riveting narrative takes the reader from the marshy swamps of the Mekong Delta to the bomb-saturated Red River Delta, from the corridors of power in Hanoi and Saigon to the Nixon White House, and from the peace negotiations in Paris to high-level meetings in Beijing and Moscow, all to reveal that peace never had a chance in Viet Nam.

Hanoi’s War renders transparent the internal workings of America’s most elusive enemy during the Cold War and shows that the war fought during the peace negotiations was bloodier and much more wide ranging than it had been previously. Using never-before-seen archival materials from the Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as materials from other archives around the world, Nguyen explores the politics of war-making and peace-making not only from the North Vietnamese perspective but also from that of South Viet Nam, the Soviet Union, China, and the United States, presenting a uniquely international portrait.

UNC Press | Amazon | Google Books

Return to Top

Thailand’s Secret War: OSS, SOE and the Free Thai Underground During World War II (Cambridge Military Histories)


by E. Bruce Reynolds
Cambridge University Press, 2010

Despite its 1941 alliance with Japan, Thai leaders managed to establish clandestine relations with China, Britain and the United States, each of which had ambitions for postwar influence in Bangkok. Based largely on recently declassified intelligence records, this narrative history thoroughly explores these relations, details Allied secret operations and sheds new light on the intense rivalry between the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) and the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS).

Cambridge University Press |Goodreads | Amazon | Google Books

Return to Top