Historian Bernard Nalty gives us a look into the way the air war in Vietnam changed after the Tet Offensive in 1968. His selection of dates is not arbitrary. The growing opposition to, politicization, and micromanagement of the war after Tet, as well as the shift of operational responsibility to the Republic of Vietnam Air Force (RVNAF) changed the way in which the air war was conducted, and arguably gives a preview of the challenge faced in air warfare in our current conflicts.
Keep in mind that this is a service history, published by the U.S. Air Force. Political considerations and bias do enter the report and should be accounted for. But this makes the candor with which Nalty examines a few of the less flattering aspects of the period – the drugs and personnel issues, the over-extension of the B-52 force – the more interesting.
It is also worth noting that while Nalty’s aim is to tell the story of the air war, he does not limit himself, and provides a great deal of context and general history. As such, this book is a worthy addition to any library on the war.