Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam

Author(s): Nick Turse


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." However, as award-winning journalist and historian Nick Turse demonstrates in this pioneering investigation, violence against Vietnamese civilians was not at all exceptional. Rather, it was pervasive and systematic, the predictable consequence of official orders to "kill anything that moves." Drawing on a decade of research into secret Pentagon files and extensive interviews with American veterans and Vietnamese survivors, Turse reveals the policies and actions that resulted in millions of innocent civilians killed and wounded. He lays out in shocking detail the workings of a military machine that made crimes in nearly every American unit all but inevitable. "Kill Anything That Moves" takes us from archives filled with Washington's long-suppressed war crime investigations to the rural Vietnamese hamlets that bore the brunt of the war; from boot camps where young American soldiers learned to hate all Vietnamese to bloodthirsty campaigns like Operation Speedy Express, in which a general obsessed with body counts led his troops to commit what one participant called "a My Lai a month."

Product Information

A "New York Times" Bestseller
"--The New York Review of Books
""An indispensable new history of the war... "Kill Anything That Moves" is 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."
"--San Francisco Chronicle
"A powerful case... 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?"
--"Washington Post"
"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."
--Bill Moyers, "Moyers & Company"
"In "Kill Anything that Moves," Nick Turse has for the first time put together a comprehensive picture, written with mastery and dignity, of what American forces actually were doing in Vietnam. The findings disclose an almost unspeakable truth... Like a tightening net, the web of stories and reports drawn from myriad sources coalesces into a convincing, inescapable portrait of this war--a portrait that, as an American, you do not wish to see; that, having seen, you wish you could forget, but that you should not forget."
--Jonathan Schell, "The Nation

Nick Turse is the author of "The Complex," the managing editor for, and a fellow at the Nation Institute. His work has appeared in the "Los Angeles Times," the "San Francisco Chronicle," and "The Nation," among other publications. Turse's investigations of American war crimes in Vietnam have gained him a Ridenhour Prize for Reportorial Distinction, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a fellowship at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. He lives near New York City.

General Fields

  • : 9780805086911
  • : henry holt and company
  • : Metropolitan Books (imprint of Henry Holt & Company)
  • : 0.594
  • : December 2012
  • : 235mm X 156mm X 31mm
  • : United States
  • : September 2013
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Nick Turse
  • : Hardback
  • : 1
  • : English
  • : 959.70434
  • : 384
  • : two 8-page inserts