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The Epic Tragedy of Vietnam

Category: Art & Culture,Books

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Any long war is an inexhaustible subject for historians, but the murky Vietnam War perhaps more than most. On this week’s podcast, Max Hastings talks about his new book, “Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, 1945-1975,” and addresses part of why the war maintains its interest. “One is still dealing with a huge amount of guesswork and guesstimates about what went on in the north,” he says, “because reliable information about what was said and done is still so hard to come by.”

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Sue Prideaux also joins us this week, to discuss her new biography of Friedrich Nietzsche, “I Am Dynamite!” The philosopher still has his grip on our imagination, she says, because he was “never afraid of contradicting himself,” which means that thinkers of all stripes can find solace or ammunition in his ideas. “He’s never, ever trying to impose a system or construct a system.”

Also on this week’s episode, Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Gal Beckerman, Gregory Cowles and Lovia Gyarkye talk about what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.

Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:

We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.


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