Kill Anything That Moves – a book about systematic U.S. Army’s atrocities in Vietnam war.

March 5, 2013   ·   0 Comments

German’s newspaper “Die Welt” draws attention to an U.S. book.

In 2013, Henry Holt published Turse’s Kill Anything That Moves, a history of U.S. atrocities during the Vietnam War for Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt.[13][unreliable source?] The book quickly became a New York Times bestseller.[14] He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for work on the book.[15]

In a press release, publisher Henry Holt describes Kill Anything That Moves this way:

Americans have long been taught that events such as the notorious My Lai massacre were isolated incidents in the Vietnam War, carried out by “a few bad apples.” But as award-winning journalist and historian Nick Turse demonstrates in this groundbreaking investigation, violence against Vietnamese noncombatants was not at all exceptional during the conflict. Rather, it was pervasive and systematic, the predictable consequence of orders to “kill anything that moves.”

Kill Anything That Moves has received extensive advance praise from some veterans, experts, and historians. Vietnam veteran and retired Army colonel Andrew J. Bacevich, author of Washington Rules: America’s Path To Permanent War, wrote: “This deeply disturbing book provides the fullest documentation yet of the brutality and ugliness that marked America’s war in Vietnam. No doubt some will charge Nick Turse with exaggeration or overstatement. Yet the evidence he has assembled is irrefutable. With the publication of Kill Anything That Moves, the claim that My Lai was a one-off event becomes utterly unsustainable.”

Vietnam veteran and National Book Award winner Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried, said “This book is an overdue and powerfully detailed account of widespread war crimes—homicide and torture and mutilation and rape—committed by American soldiers over the course of our military engagement in Vietnam. Nick Turse’s research and reportage is based in part on the U.S. military’s own records, reports, and transcripts, many of them long hidden from public scrutiny. Kill Anything That Moves is not only a compendium of pervasive and illegal and sickening savagery toward Vietnamese civilians, but it is also a record of repetitive deceit and cover-ups on the part of high ranking officers and officials. In the end, I hope, Turse’s book will become a hard-to-avoid, hard-to-dismiss corrective to the very common belief that war crimes and tolerance for war crimes were mere anomalies during our country’s military involvement in Vietnam.”

Jonathan Schell,who covered the Vietnam War for The New Yorker, called Kill Anything That Moves a “tour de force of reporting and research: the first time comprehensive portrait, written with dignity and skill, of what American forces actually were doing in Vietnam. The findings, hidden behind a screen of official lies and cover-ups all these years, are shocking almost beyond words.… Some thirty thousand books have been written about the Vietnam War. Many more will now be needed, and they must begin with Kill Anything That Moves.”

James Bradley, co-author of the New York Times bestseller, Flags of Our Fathers, said that “American patriots will appreciate Nick Turse’s meticulously documented book, which for the first time reveals the real war in Vietnam and explains why it has taken so long to learn the whole truth.”

Pulitzer Prize winner Seymour Hersh, who exposed the My Lai massacre, wrote that “Nick Turse reminds us again, in this painful and important book, why war should always be a last resort, and especially wars that have little to do with American national security. We failed, as Turse makes clear, to deal after the Vietnam War with the murders that took place, and today—four decades later—the lessons have yet to be learned. We still prefer kicking down doors to talking.”

Marine Corps veteran Daniel Ellsberg, who served in Vietnam with the State Department and leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times, wrote that “No book I have read in decades has so shaken me, as an American. Turse lays open the ground-level reality of a war that was far more atrocious than Americans at home have ever been allowed to know. He exposes official policies that encouraged ordinary American soldiers and airmen to inflict almost unimaginable horror and suffering on ordinary Vietnamese, followed by official cover-ups as tenacious as Turse’s own decade of investigative effort against them. Kill Anything That Moves is obligatory reading for Americans, because its implications for the likely scale of atrocities and civilian casualties inflicted and covered up in our latest wars are inescapable and staggering.”

Pulitzer Prize and National book award winner Frances FitzGerald, author of Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam, said: “Meticulously researched, Kill Anything That Moves is the most comprehensive account to date of the war crimes committed by U.S. forces in Vietnam and the efforts made at the highest levels of the military to cover them up. It’s an important piece of history.”

Christian Appy, author of Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered From All Sides, wrote: “Nick Turse has done more than anyone to demonstrate—and document—what should finally be incontrovertible: American atrocities in Vietnam were not infrequent and inadvertent, but the commonplace and inevitable result of official U.S. military policy. And he does it with a narrative that is gripping and deeply humane.”

John Prados, author of Vietnam: The History of an Unwinnable War, 1945–1975, says “In this deeply researched and provocative book Nick Turse returns us to Vietnam to raise anew the classic dilemmas of warfare and civil society. My Lai was not the full story of atrocities in Vietnam, and honestly facing the moral questions inherent in a ‘way of war’ is absolutely necessary to an effective military strategy. Turse documents a shortfall in accountability during the Vietnam War that should be disturbing to every reader.”

According to Marilyn Young, author of The Vietnam Wars, 1945–1990, “Nick Turse’s Kill Anything That Moves is essential reading, a powerful and moving account of the dark heart of the Vietnam War: the systematic killing of civilians, not as aberration but as standard operating procedure. Until this history is acknowledged it will be repeated, one way or another, in the wars the U.S. continues to fight.”[16]

Publishers Weekly wrote that “After a decade of scouring Pentagon archives and interviewing Vietnamese survivors and American vets, Turse offers this detailed, well-documented account of the “real” Vietnam War… The author shows that, contrary to popular belief, the massacre at My Lai was not an isolated incident… and Turse leaves little room for doubt that “[m]urder, torture, rape, abuse, forced displacement, home burnings, specious arrests, [and] imprisonment without due process” were encouraged by body count–minded war managers and badly trained junior officers, and abetted by Gen. William Westmoreland’s search-and-destroy strategy.”[17]

The San Francisco Chronicle called Kill Anything That Moves an “indispensable new history of the war… a paradigm-shifting, connect-the-dots history of American atrocities that reads like a thriller; it will convince those with the stomach to read it that all these decades later Americans, certainly the military brass and the White House, still haven’t drawn the right lesson from Vietnam.”[18]

John Tirman, writing in the Washington Post said that Turse makes a “powerful case.” He continued: “With his urgent but highly readable style, Turse delves into the secret history of U.S.-led atrocities. He has brought to his book an impressive trove of new research—archives explored and eyewitnesses interviewed in the United States and Vietnam. With superb narrative skill, he spotlights a troubling question: Why, with all the evidence collected by the military at the time of the war, were atrocities not prosecuted?”[19]

Commentator Bill Moyers, who served in Lyndon Johnson’s White House and now hosts PBS’s Moyers & Company said: “There have been many memorable accounts of the terrible things done in Vietnam—memoirs, histories, documentaries and movies. But Nick Turse has given us a fresh holistic work that stands alone for its blending of history and journalism, for the integrity of research brought to life through the diligence of first-person interviews.… Here is a powerful message for us today—a reminder of what war really costs.”[20]

Vanity Fair praised Kill Anything That Moves, stating that “Nick Turse’s explosive, groundbreaking reporting uncovers the horrifying truth.”[21]

Parade magazine called Kill Anything That Moves “Explosive… A painful yet compelling look at the horrors of war.”[22]

Bookforum called Kill Anything That Moves “astounding… Meticulous, extraordinary, and oddly moving.”[23]

The Minneapolis Star Tribune called Kill Anything That Moves “Meticulously documented, utterly persuasive, this book is a shattering and dismaying read.”[24]

A reviewer in Dayton Daily News said of Kill Anything That Moves: “If you are faint-hearted, you might want to keep some smelling salts nearby when you read it. It’s that bad… The truth hurts. This is an important book.”[25]



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