Download My Lai: Vietnam, 1968, and the Descent into Darkness Audiobook

My Lai: Vietnam, 1968, and the Descent into Darkness Audiobook, by Howard Jones Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Howard Jones Narrator: James Patrick Cronin Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2017 ISBN: 9781541476066
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On the early morning of March 16, 1968, American soldiers from three platoons of Charlie Company—from the 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 11th Brigade, 23rd Infantry Division— entered a group of hamlets located in the Son Tinh district of South Vietnam. It was located near the Demilitarized Zone and known as “Pinkville” because of the high level of Vietcong infiltration. The soldiers, many still teenagers who had been in the country for three months, were on a “search and destroy” mission. The Tet Offensive had occurred only weeks earlier and in the same area and had made them jittery; so had mounting losses from booby traps and a seemingly invisible enemy. Three hours after the GIs entered the hamlets, more than five hundred unarmed villagers lay dead, killed in cold blood. The atrocity took its name from one of the hamlets, known by the Americans as My Lai 4.

Military authorities attempted to suppress the news of My Lai, until some who had been there, in particular a helicopter pilot named Hugh Thompson and a door gunner named Lawrence Colburn, spoke up about what they had seen. The official line was that the villagers had been killed by artillery and gunship fire rather than by small arms. That line soon began to fray. Lieutenant William Calley, one of the platoon leaders, admitted to shooting the villagers but insisted that he had acted upon orders. An exposé by journalist Seymour Hersh of the massacre and cover-up, followed by graphic photographs, incited international outrage, and Congressional and US Army inquiries began. Calley and nearly thirty other officers were charged with war crimes, though Calley alone was convicted and would serve three and a half years under house arrest before being paroled in 1974.

My Lai polarized American sentiment. Many saw Calley as a scapegoat, the victim of a doomed strategy in an unwinnable war. Others saw a war criminal. President Nixon was poised to offer a presidential pardon. The atrocity intensified opposition to the war, devastating any pretense of American moral superiority. Its effect on military morale and policy was profound and enduring. The Army implemented reforms and began enforcing adherence to the Hague and Geneva conventions. Before launching an offensive during Desert Storm in 1991, one general warned his brigade commanders, “No My Lais in this division—do you hear me?”

Compelling, comprehensive, and haunting, based on both exhaustive archival research and extensive interviews, Howard Jones’s My Lai will stand as the definitive book on one of the most devastating events in American military history.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Jones succeeds on all counts in a book that, due to its subject matter, is not pleasant to read but is powerful and important. Kirkus Starred Review
  • "[A]n exhaustively researched and well-written narrative and analysis of the My Lai Massacre…[Jones] has produced a thorough and, as he says, ‘balanced and accurate’ analysis of the massacre itself, along with the event’s controversial and convoluted legal and political aftermath.”

    Vietnam Veterans of America

  • “Nearly ten years in the making, this exhaustively researched and well-written narrative bores in on the details of what has become known as the My Lai Massacre…[An] authoritative account of a dark moment in American history.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A powerful and discerning account of one of the darkest days in American military history. Judicious and unsparing, My Lai chronicles anew the ‘Descent into Darkness,’ and considers how we should think about the massacre today, half a century later.”

    Fredrik Logevall, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam

  • “A scrupulous history…Jones succeeds on all counts in a book that, due to its subject matter, is not pleasant to read but is powerful and important.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • One of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2017

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About the Author

Howard Jones is University Research Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Alabama, where he taught for thirty-nine years. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Mutiny on the Amistad, as well as The Bay of Pigs, Death of a Generation, and To the Webster-Ashburton Treaty.

About the Narrator

James Patrick Cronin began his audiobook career at twelve years of age opposite Christopher Lloyd in The Pagemaster. An Earphones Award–winning narrator, he has recorded over one hundred audiobooks across an extensive range of genres. A classically trained stage actor with an MFA from the University of Louisville and a degree in philosophy, he has spent his years since college performing as an actor and a comedian on stages all over the world. He has performed everything from the classics to original material in Ireland, Scotland, Serbia, and Israel, as well as all across the United States.