Paco Sullivan is the only man in Alpha Company to survive a cataclysmic Viet Cong attack on Fire Base Harriette in Vietnam. Everyone else is annihilated. When a medic finally rescues Paco almost two days later, he is waiting to die, flies and maggots covering his burnt, shattered body. He winds up back in the US with his legs full of pins, daily rations of Librium and Valium, and no sense of what to do next. One evening, on the tail of a rainstorm, he limps off the bus and into the small town of Boone, determined to find a real job and a real bed–but no matter how hard he works, nothing muffles the anguish in his mind and body. Brilliantly and vividly written, Paco’s Story–winner of a National Book Award–plunges you into the violence and casual cruelty of the Vietnam War, and the ghostly aftermath that often dealt the harshest blows.
The Vietnam War remains a topic of extraordinary interest, especially in light of the invasion of Iraq. In The Vietnam War, Mark Lawrence offers readers a superb short account of this key moment in U.S. as well as world history, based on the latest European and American research and on newlyopened archives in China, Russia, and Vietnam. While focusing on the American involvement from 1965 to 1975, Lawrence offers an unprecedentedly complete picture of all sides of the war, drawing on now available communist records to capture the complicated brew of motivations that drove the other side. Moreover, the book reaches back wellbefore American forces set foot in Vietnam, describing for instance how French colonialism sparked the 1945 Vietnamese revolution, and revealing how the Cold War concerns of the 1950s warped Washington's perception of Vietnam, leading the United States to back the French and eventually becomeinvolved on the ground itself. Of course, the heart of the book is the "American war," ranging from the overthrow of Ngo Dinh Diem to the impact of the Tet Offensive on the political situation in the US, Johnson's withdrawal from the 1968 presidential race, Nixon's expansion of the war into Cambodiaand Laos, and the final peace agreement of 1973, which ended American military involvement. Finally, the book examines the aftermath of the war, from the momentous liberalization--"Doi Moi"--in Vietnam that began in 1986, to the enduring legacy of the war in American books, films, and politicaldebate. A quick and reliable primer on an intensely relevant topic, this well researched and engaging volume offers an invaluable overview of the Vietnam War.
This detailed two-volume set considers the Vietnam War, one of America's longest and bloodiest wars, from a topical perspective, addressing the main characters and key events of the war and supplying many relevant primary source documents. * Comprehensively explains how the Vietnam War became one of the United States' longest and bloodiest wars and why it served as a society- and culture-changing event, even for the millions of Americans who were not directly involved in the conflict * Examines 14 key topics within and surrounding the Vietnam War, ranging from the First Indochina War to the aftermath of the war for both Vietnam and the United States * Includes key primary source documents, illustrations and maps, an extensive bibliography, and a detailed chronology
By the time of the Vietnam War era, the "Mexican American Generation" had made tremendous progress both socially and politically. However, the number of Mexican Americans in comparison to the number of white prisoners of war (POWs) illustrated the significant discrimination and inequality the Chicano population faced in both military and civilian landscapes. Chicanos were disproportionately "grunts" (infantry), who were more likely to be killed when captured, while pilots and officers were more likely to be both white and held as POWs for negotiating purposes. A fascinating look at the Vietnam War era from a Chicano perspective, "I'm Not Gonna Die in this Damn Place": Manliness, Identity, and Survival of the Mexican American Vietnam Prisoners of War gives voice to the Mexican American POWs. The stories of these men and their families provide insights to the Chicano Vietnam War experience, while also adding tremendously to the American POW story. This book is an important read for academics and military enthusiasts alike.
As the Vietnam War divided the nation, a network of antiwar coffeehouses appeared in the towns and cities outside American military bases. Owned and operated by civilian activists, GI coffeehouses served as off-base refuges for the growing number of active-duty soldiers resisting the war. In the first history of this network, David L. Parsons shows how antiwar GIs and civilians united to battle local authorities, vigilante groups, and the military establishment itself by building a dynamic peace movement within the armed forces. Peopled with lively characters and set in the tense environs of base towns around the country, this book complicates the often misunderstood relationship between the civilian antiwar movement, U.S. soldiers, and military officials during the Vietnam era. Using a broad set of primary and secondary sources, Parsons shows us a critical moment in the history of the Vietnam-era antiwar movement, when a chain of counterculture coffeehouses brought the war's turbulent politics directly to the American military's doorstep.
Robert Olen Butler's lyrical and poignant collection of stories about the aftermath of the Vietnam War and its impact on the Vietnamese was acclaimed by critics across the nation and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1993. A contemporary classic by one of America's most important living writers, this edition of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain includes two subsequently published stories - 'Salem' and 'Missing' - that brilliantly complete the collection's narrative journey, returning to the jungles of Vietnam.
Designed to encourage critical thinking about history, the Major Problems in American History series introduces students to both primary sources and analytical essays on important topics in U.S. history. Major Problems in the History of the Vietnam War incorporates new research expands its coverage of the experiences of average soldiers.
The image of the drug-addicted American soldier -- disheveled, glassy-eyed, his uniform adorned with slogans of antiwar dissent -- has long been associated with the Vietnam War. More specifically, it has persisted as an explanation for the U.S. defeat, the symbol of a demoralized army incapable of carrying out its military mission. Yet as Jeremy Kuzmarov documents in this deeply researched book, popular assumptions about drug use in Vietnam are based more on myth than fact. Not only was alcohol the intoxicant of choice for most GIs, but the prevalence of other drugs varied enormously. Although marijuana use among troops increased over the course of the war, for the most part it remained confined to rear areas, and the use of highly addictive drugs like heroin was never as widespread as many imagined. Like other cultural myths that emerged from the war, the concept of an addicted army was first advanced by war hawks seeking a scapegoat for the failure of U.S. policies in Vietnam, in this case one that could be linked to "permissive" liberal social policies and the excesses of the counterculture. But conservatives were not alone. Ironically, Kuzmarov shows, elements of the antiwar movement also promoted the myth, largely because of a presumed alliance between Asian drug traffickers and the Central Intelligence Agency. While this claim was not without foundation, as new archival evidence confirms, the left exaggerated the scope of addiction for its own political purposes. Exploiting bipartisan concern over the perceived "drug crisis," the Nixon administration in the early 1970s launched a bold new program of federal antidrug measures, especially in the international realm. Initially, the "War on Drugs" helped divert attention away from the failed quest for "peace with honor" in Southeast Asia. But once institutionalized, it continued to influence political discourse as well as U.S. drug policy in the decades that followed.
The Refugees, is a collection of perfectly formed stories written over a period of twenty years, exploring questions of immigration, identity, love, and family. With the coruscating gaze that informed The Sympathizer, in The Refugees Viet Thanh Nguyen gives voice to lives led between two worlds, the adopted homeland and the country of birth. From a young Vietnamese refugee who suffers profound culture shock when he comes to live with two gay men in San Francisco, to a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia and starts to confuse her for a former lover, to a girl living in Ho Chi Minh City whose older half-sister comes back from America having seemingly accomplished everything she never will, the stories are a captivating testament to the dreams and hardships of immigration. The second piece of fiction by a major new voice in American letters, The Refugees is a beautifully written and sharply observed book about the aspirations of those who leave one country for another, and the relationships and desires for self-fulfillment that define our lives.
The war in Vietnam, spanning more than twenty years, was one of the most divisive conflicts ever to envelop the United States, and its complexity and consequences did not end with the fall of Saigon in 1975. As Peter Sills demonstrates in Toxic War, veterans faced a new enemy beyond post-traumatic stress disorder or debilitating battle injuries. Many of them faced a new, more pernicious, slow-killing enemy: the cancerous effects of Agent Orange. Originally introduced by Dow and other chemical companies as a herbicide in the United States and adopted by the military as a method of deforesting the war zone of Vietnam, in order to deny the enemy cover, Agent Orange also found its way into the systems of numerous active-duty soldiers. Sills argues that manufacturers understood the dangers of this compound and did nothing to protect American soldiers. Toxic War takes the reader behind the scenes into the halls of political power and industry, where the debates about the use of Agent Orange and its potential side effects raged. In the end, the only way these veterans could seek justice was in the court of law and public opinion. Unprecedented in its access to legal, medical, and government documentation, as well as to the personal testimonies of veterans, Toxic War endeavors to explore all sides of this epic battle.
Communist forces in the Vietnam War lost most battles and suffered disproportionally higher casualties than the United States and its allies throughout the conflict. The ground war in South Vietnam and the air war in the North were certainly important in shaping the fates of the victors and losers, but they alone fail to explain why Hanoi bested Washington in the end. To make sense of the Vietnam War, we must look beyond the war itself. In his new work, Pierre Asselin explains the formative experiences and worldview of the men who devised communist strategies and tactics during the conflict, and analyzes their rationale and impact. Drawing on two decades of research in Vietnam's own archives, including classified policy statements and reports, Asselin expertly and straightforwardly relates the Vietnamese communist experience - and the reasons the war turned out the way it did.
For many Westerners, the name Vietnam evokes images of a bloody televised American war that generated a firestorm of protest and brought conflict into their living rooms. In his sweeping account, Ben Kiernan broadens this vision by narrating the rich history of the peoples who have inhabitedthe land now known as Viet Nam over the past three thousand years. Despite the tragedies of the American-Vietnamese conflict, Viet Nam has always been much more than a war. Its long history had been characterized by the frequent rise and fall of different political formations, from ancient chiefdoms to imperial provinces, from independent kingdoms to dividedregions, civil wars, French colonies, and modern republics. In addition to dramatic political transformations, the region has been shaped by its environment, changing climate, and the critical importance of water, with rivers, deltas, and a long coastline facilitating agricultural patterns, trade,and communications. Kiernan weaves together the many narrative strands of Viet Nam's multi-ethnic populations, including the Chams, Khmers, and Vietnamese, and its multi-religious heritage, from local spirit cults to Buddhism, Confucianism, and Catholicism. He emphasizes the peoples' interactions over the millenniawith foreigners, particularly their neighbors in China and Southeast Asia, in engagements ranging from military conflict to linguistic and cultural influences. He sets the tumultuous modern period - marked by French and Japanese occupation, anticolonial nationalism, the American-Vietnamese war, andcommunist victory - against the continuities evident in the deeper history of the people's relationships with the lands where they have lived. In contemporary times, he explores this one-party state's transformation into a global trading nation, the country's tense diplomatic relationship with Chinaand developing partnership with the United States in maintaining Southeast Asia's regional security, and its uncertain prospects for democracy.
From the award-winning historian and filmmakers of The Civil War, Baseball, The War, The Roosevelts, and others: a vivid, uniquely powerful history of the conflict that tore America apart--the companion volume to the major, multipart PBS film to be aired in September 2017. More than forty years after it ended, the Vietnam War continues to haunt our country. We still argue over why we were there, whether we could have won, and who was right and wrong in their response to the conflict. When the war divided the country, it created deep political fault lines that continue to divide us today. Now, continuing in the tradition of their critically acclaimed collaborations, the authors draw on dozens and dozens of interviews in America and Vietnam to give us the perspectives of people involved at all levels of the war: U.S. and Vietnamese soldiers and their families, high-level officials in America and Vietnam, antiwar protestors, POWs, and many more. The book plunges us into the chaos and intensity of combat, even as it explains the rationale that got us into Vietnam and kept us there for so many years. Rather than taking sides, the book seeks to understand why the war happened the way it did, and to clarify its complicated legacy. Beautifully written and richly illustrated, this is a tour de force that is certain to launch a new national conversation.
Created in association with the Smithsonian Institution, this authoritative guide chronicles America's fight against Communism in southeast Asia during the 1960s and 1970s, and comprehensively explores the people, politics, events, and lasting effects of the Vietnam War. Honoring those who served in the war at home or abroad, the inside covers of this book feature images of submitted photographs of Vietnam veterans. Filled with more than 500 photographs, The Vietnam War tells the story of Vietnam through powerful images; profiles of the war's most influential figures, such as Henry Kissinger and Pol Pot; and a complete overview of the conduct, strategies, and events in this controversial war, including Ho Chi Minh's rise to power, the Geneva conference, America's intervention, and the Christmas bombings. Gallery spreads feature collections of infantry weapons, artillery, aircraft, and armored vehicles, and diagrams and maps show exactly where battles and key moments happened. A divisive and destructive event, the Vietnam War was the world's first televised war, and photographs from its front lines powerfully convey war's complex reality. Taking a global perspective, The Vietnam War remembers the people who served and features full spreads about prisoners of war, anti-war protest movements, and the significance of the war for black Americans as they struggled for civil rights. A powerful gift for the military enthusiast, The Vietnam War is a stirring visual record of the suffering, sacrifice, and heroism in America's longest and bloodiest conflict of the 20th century.
An insightful look into the immediate and long-term impact of the Vietnam War on a wide range of people and social groups, both Americans in the United States and in Vietnam. * Primary sources reveal a broad spectrum of opinion expressed in a variety of forms, including memoirs, documents, and poetry * Includes a chronology of key events related to the Vietnam War and an extensive bibliography covering political, diplomatic, social, and cultural aspects of the war
An essential new resource for students and teachers of the Vietnam War, this concise collection of primary sources opens a valuable window on an extraordinarily complex conflict. The materials gathered here, from both the American and Vietnamese sides, remind readers that the conflict touched the lives of many people in a wide range of social and political situations and spanned a good deal more time than the decade of direct U.S. combat. Indeed, the U.S. war was but one phase in a string of conflicts that varied significantly in character and geography. Michael Hunt brings together the views of the conflict's disparate players--from Communist leaders, Vietnamese peasants, Saigon loyalists, and North Vietnamese soldiers to U.S. policymakers, soldiers, and critics of the war. By allowing the participants to speak, this volume encourages readers to formulate their own historically grounded understanding of a still controversial struggle.
In 2005, Deborah Nelson joined forces with military historian Nick Turse to investigate an extraordinary archive: the largest compilation of records on Vietnam-era war crimes ever to surface. The declassified Army papers were erroneously released and have since been pulled from public circulation. Few civilians have seen the documents. The files contain reports of more than 300 confirmed atrocities, and 500 other cases the Army either couldn't prove or didn't investigate. The archive has letters of complaint to generals and congressmen, as well as reports of Army interviews with hundreds of men who served. Far from being limited to a few bad actors or rogue units, atrocities occurred in every Army division that saw combat in Vietnam. Torture of detainees was routine; so was the random killing of farmers in fields and women and children in villages. Punishment for these acts was either nonexistent or absurdly light. In most cases, no one was prosecuted at all. In The War Behind Me Deborah Nelson goes beyond the documents and talks with many of those who were involved, both accusers and accused, to uncover their stories and learn how they deal with one of the most awful secrets of the Vietnam War.
More than three decades after the final withdrawal of American troops from Southeast Asia, the legacy of the Vietnam War continues to influence political, military, and cultural discourse. Journalists, politicians, scholars, pundits, and others have used the conflict to analyze each of America's subsequent military engagements. Many Americans have observed that Vietnam-era terms such as "cut and run," "quagmire," and "hearts and minds" are ubiquitous once again as comparisons between U.S. involvement in Iraq and in Vietnam seem increasingly appropriate. Because of its persistent significance, the Vietnam War era continues to inspire vibrant historical inquiry. The eminent scholars featured in The War That Never Ends offer fresh and insightful perspectives on the continuing relevance of the Vietnam War, from the homefront to "humping in the boonies," and from the great halls of political authority to the gritty hotbeds of oppositional activism. The contributors assert that the Vietnam War is central to understanding the politics of the Cold War, the social movements of the late twentieth century, the lasting effects of colonialism, the current direction of American foreign policy, and the ongoing economic development in Southeast Asia. The seventeen essays break new ground on questions relating to gender, religion, ideology, strategy, and public opinion, and the book gives equal emphasis to Vietnamese and American perspectives on the grueling conflict. The contributors examine such phenomena as the role of women in revolutionary organizations, the peace movements inspired by Buddhism, and Ho Chi Minh's successful adaptation of Marxism to local cultures. The War That Never Ends explores both the antiwar movement and the experiences of infantrymen on the front lines of battle, as well as the media's controversial coverage of America's involvement in the war. The War That Never Ends sheds new light on the evolving historical meanings of the Vietnam War, its enduring influence, and its potential to influence future political and military decision-making, in times of peace as well as war.