Book Discussion: Fire and Rain by Carolyn Woods Eisenberg

Photo Courtesy: Oxford University Press


Carolyn Woods Eisenberg in her new book Fire and Rain, provides an interweave of Nixon and Kissinger’s pursuit of the war in Southeast Asia and their diplomacy with the Soviet Union and China with on-the-ground military events and US domestic reactions to the war conducted in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.



Fire and Rain provides a compelling and meticulous narrative of the way national security decisions formed at the highest levels of government affect the lives of individuals at home and abroad. By drawing these connections, Eisenberg brings to life policy decisions about Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, conveying their significance to a new generation of readers. Drawing upon a vast collection of declassified documents, she breaks fresh ground in contextualising Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger’s decisions within a wider institutional and societal framework.


Eisenberg presents an important re-interpretation that in their desperate effort to overcome or at least overshadow, their failure in Vietnam, Nixon and Kissinger made major concessions to both nations in the field of arms control, their response to the India-Pakistan war and the diplomacy surrounding Taiwan — much of this secret. Further, she reveals the falsity of the “credibility” justification of their decision-making.


A half-century after the Paris Peace Conference marking the withdrawal of US troops and advisors from Vietnam and foreign troops from Laos and Cambodia, this book is a dramatic account of geopolitical decision making, civil society and the human toll of the war on the people of Southeast Asia



Carolyn Woods Eisenberg


Professor of US History and American Foreign Relations, Hofstra University



Andrew Preston

Professor of American History, University of Cambridge


Thomas Schwartz

Distinguished Professor of History and Professor of Political Science and European Studies, Vanderbilt University



Soumava Basu

Soumava Basu

President and Founder, CGC


Federico Alastair D'Alessio

Federico Alistair D’Alessio

Research Director, The Cold War Project, CGC


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