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The War in Vietnam: A Multimedia Chronicle,
a CD-ROM produced by CBS News and The New York Times, Macmillan Publishing USA, Indianapolis, Ind., $49.95.

The War in Vietnam: A Multimedia Chronicle, a CD-ROM for Windows and Macintosh, captures the powerful events of that turbulent time using a combination of text, still pictures, video clips and other supporting documentation. With more than 1,000 articles and 40 minutes of video, it may become the definitive CD-ROM on the Vietnam War.

CBS News anchor Dan Rather and The New York Times columnist R.W. Apple, Jr., veteran journalists who spent considerable time in Southeast Asia during the war, narrate the video clips. The encyclopedic information is divided into eight major subject headings. The first section, “Historical Overview,” provides a solid background on not only the American aspect of the war but also the history of Vietnam.

The next major section, “As It Happened,” presents a picture of Vietnam from the French era through 1995. Included is an overview of French Indochina’s political and economic situation, the Japanese occupation and the 1945­1954 Vietnamese War of Independence. The American involvement in Vietnam is by far the most extensively covered topic. The Communist Vietnam era, starting in 1975, is also discussed. The section concludes with the reopening of relations with Vietnam by President Bill Clinton 20 years after the fall of Saigon.

The “Chronology” section details year by year what was happening in Vietnam and also in the rest of the world. Another section presents some detailed maps of Vietnam. Although the maps could have been more user friendly, this section proved to be useful in conjunction with the articles.

An excellent major section is “Weapons,” which provides a picture, specifications, details and a brief statement for each weapon. The weapons range from simple wooden foot traps, to armor and artillery, to sophisticated laser-guided missiles and Boeing B-52 bombers.

The “Library” section includes a lengthy bibliography (both fiction and nonfiction), a detailed list of films (documentary and feature), and numerous historic documents, including the Paris Peace Accords and excerpts from the Pentagon Papers. The “Honors” section reminds the viewer of the sacrifices made by our brave men and women in Vietnam. Subsections include Medal of Honor recipients, MIAs, monuments, POWs, and “the Wall” (the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.). The last main section, “Biography,” is a basic who’s who of characters associated with the Vietnam War. This section is quite detailed, with entries ranging from General Creighton Abrams to Admiral Elmo Zumwalt. Some entries, such as those of Lieutenant William Calley and General William C. Westmoreland, provide more detail than others.

The “Tools” and “Directory” provide the user with credits, a glossary of terms, navigation instruction and a search option for locating specific words or people. This product also has a connection to America Online, a bookmark feature, and can create notes. Overall, this CD-ROM is an outstanding resource on the Vietnam War.Scott R. DiMarco