2013 Fredrik Logevall, Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam (Random House)

This extraordinary work of modern history combies  powerful narrative thrust, deep scholarly authority, and quiet interpretive confidence to chart the development of Ho Chi Minh's liberation movement, the loss of the French empire, and the fateful decisions of the United States in the late 1950s to enter the conflict in Southeast Asia. Revealing how the American commitment in Vietnam originated in the tangled logic of French engagement there, Logevall also shows how the United States was never able to free itself from taking the same steps that had led France into an earlier, fatal quagmire. His exemplary research in French, Vietnamese, and American sources, both published and archival and in at least three languages, reveals multiple perspectives on the conflict between a single, small, divided, people and two of the richest and most powerful nations on earth.