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Background Resources

General Resources for Alternative Commemoration of the American War in Vietnam

Printable Background Resources

These are just a few of the thousands of work on the American war in Vietnam. Sources are presented in the following categories:

Document & Essays

Vietnamese sources

Gulf of Tonkin

Legacies of the War

Teaching materials

Visuals

Videos/DVDs

Further reading (Fiction as well as Non-Fiction)

 

 

Document & Essays:

Christian G. Appy, Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered from All Sides. NY: Penguin Books, 2003.  [Fascinating selections by participants in the war from all sides, including the South Vietnamese]

H. Bruce Franklin, “Plausibility of Denial,” (Chapter 2) and “Missing in Action in the Twenty-first Century,” (Chapter 9) in Vietnam & Other American Fantasies. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2000. [A brilliant critique of the uses of POWs and MIAs in justifying the war and sabotaging the peace]

Marvin E. Gettleman, Jane Franklin, Marilyn B. Young, H. Bruce Franklin, Vietnam and America: A Documented History. NY: Grove Press, 1995. The following are a selection of articles contained therein:

  • Vietnam’s Revolutionary Tradition, By Ngo Vinh Long, 4-18.
  • First Appeal to the United States (June 18, 1919), By Ho Chi Minh, 18-20.
  • Vietnam Declaration of Independence (September 2, 1945), 26-28.
  • The Franco-Vietnamese War, 1945-1954: Origins of US Involvement, By Ngo Vinh Long (with Editors’ Introduction), 31-40.
  • Taking up the White Man’s Burden: Two American Views (1954) By John Foster Dulles and Richard M. Nixon, 50-52.
  • Rationale for Escalation: The US Government “White Paper” of 1965, 255-274.
  • “Declaration of Independence from the War in Vietnam” (April 1967), By The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., 310-318. (See video reenactment under Videos and DVDs)
  • “The Collapse of the Armed Forces” (1971), By Colonel Robert D. Heinl, Jr., 326-335. (a seminal piece on GI resistance by an officer who is unhappy about it)
  • “Remembering the Tet Offensive,” By David Hunt, 359-377.
  • US Promise of Postwar Reconstruction: Letter to DRV Prime Minister Pham Van Dong (February 1, 1973), pp. 487-88.
  • H. Bruce Franklin, “The Last Chapter?”, pp. 500-515. Epilogue: Marilyn Young, ”Epilogue: The Vietnam War in American Memory, pp. 515-522.

Michael Hunt, A Vietnam War Reader. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2010. [A recent collection of documents from both the US and Vietnamese sides]

J. Werner and D. Hunt, eds., The American War in Vietnam. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 1993. Long, Ngo Vinh, “The Tet Offensive and its aftermath”, pp. 23-45. (An updated and detached version of the realities of the Tet offensive)

George C. Herring, “Tet and the Crisis of Hegemony,” in Carole Fink, Philipp Gassert, and Detlef Junker, eds., 1968: The World Transformed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998, pp. 31-54. [A contemporaneous attempt to assess the significance of the 1968 Tet offensive]

The Vietnam War and the Struggle For Truth, by John Grant (Vietnam Veteran, now anti-war activist) http://www.inthemindfield.com/2012/06/22/the-vietnam-war-and-the-struggle-for-truth/ (Ruminations by a thoughtful American veteran and antiwar activist)

Matthew Rinaldi’s 1974 essay for Radical America, “The Olive Drab Rebels”

(More on GI resistance)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-a-ashwill/vietnam-war-50th-anniversary_b_3044899.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-a-ashwill/vietnam-veterans-travel_b_3176912.html

 

Vietnamese sources:

Hồ Chí Minh, Selected Writings. Hanoi: Foreign Languages Publishing House. 1977.

  1. On lynching and the Ku Klux Klan. 1924. http://sonsofmalcolm.blogspot.com/2012/03/ho-chi-minh-on-black-resistance-to.html
  2. At the Congress for unification of Viet Minh and Lien Viet. March 3, 1951.
  3. Instructions given at a Conference on Guerrilla warfare. July 1952.
  4. Closing address at the Congress of the National United Front. September 10, 1955.
  5. On revolutionary morality. 1958.
  6. The path which led me to Leninism, Soviet Review Problems of the East on the occasion of Lenin’s 90th birthday. April 1960.
  7. The Chinese revolution and the Vietnamese revolution, July 1, 1961.
  8. Report to the special political conference, March 27, 1964.

Le Cao Dai, The Central Highlands: A North Vietnamese Journal of Life on the Ho Chi Minh Trail 1965-1973. Hanoi: The Gioi Publisher, 2004.

Nguyen, Khac Vien. Vietnam: A Long History. Hanoi:The Gioi Publisher,1993.

Lap, Vu Tu. Vietnam: Geographical Data. Hanoi: Foreign Languages Publishing House,1979.

Le, Phan Huy, et al. The Traditional Village of Vietnam. Hanoi: The Gioi Publishers, 1993.

Tu, Mai Thi and Nham-Tuyet, Le Thi. Women in Vietnam. Hanoi: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1978.

Võ Nguyên Giáp. Dec 1969. National liberation war in Vietnam. Part II of Selected Writings. Hanoi: Thế giới Publishers. 1994.

  • Chapter 2: The entire people fight the enemy, 224-236.
  • Chapter 3: Political forces and military forces in mass uprising and people’s war, 237-252.

 

Gulf of Tonkin:

Excerpt from Daniel Ellsberg, Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers, New York: Penguin, 2002 (pp. 7–20). Links at either http://www.pbs.org/pov/mostdangerousman/secrets2.php   or http://newsmine.org/content.php?ol=deceptions/war-pretext-lies/ellsberg-gulf-of-tonkin.txt (Ellsberg was there as the cables from the Gulf of Tonkin arrive at the Pentagon; an authoritative debunking)

Robert J. Hanyok, “Skunks, Bogies, Silent Hounds, and the Flying Fish: The Gulf of Tonkin Mystery, 2-4  August 1964”, Cryptologic Quarterly, Winter 2000/Spring 2001 Edition, Vol. 19, No. 4 / Vol. 20, No. 1. http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB132/relea00012.pdf  [An official debunking of the official story] Or the Wikipedia page:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_of_Tonkin_Incident

Edwin E. Moise, Tonkin Gulf and the Escalation of the Vietnam War. Chapel Hill, NC: UNC Press, 1996. {The definitive treatment of the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin ‘incident’ and the subsequent escalation of the American war in Vietnam.]

See also https://www.dropbox.com/s/oqahklqswhlms7g/American%20Artifacts.mp4 for an understanding of what Johnson knew and what he said about the Gulf of Tonkin.

 

Anti-War movement:

Charles DeBenedetti and Charles Chatfield, An American Ordeal: The Anti-War Movement of the Vietnam Era. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1990.

Jerry Lembcke, The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam. New York: New York University Press, 1998. [A deconstruction and demolition of the narrative of the antiwar protestor spitting at returning soldiers]

Jerry Lembcke, Hanoi Jane: War, Sex, and Fantasies of Betrayal, Dexter, Michigan: Thomas-Shore, Inc., 2010. [The use of Jane Fonda to delegitimize the antiwar movement along with an interesting discussion of the reality for POWs]

Thomas Powers, Vietnam, the War at Home: The Anti-war Movement, 1964-1968. New York: Grossman, 1973 (1984).

Michael Uhl, Vietnam Awakening: My Journey From Combat to the Citizens Commission of Inquiry on U.S. War Crimes in Vietnam. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2007.

Tom Wells, The War Within: America’s Battle over Vietnam. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994 and Lincoln, Nebraska: iUniverse Press, 2005).

Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, Radicals on the Road: Internationalism, Orientalism and Feminism During the Vietnam Era. Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 2013. [A new book with an important perspective – feminist and internationalist –on new relationships developed around opposition to   the war]

Nancy Zaroulis and Gerald Sullivan, Who Spoke Up? American Protest Against the War in Vietnam, 1963-1975. New York: Doubleday, 1984.

Documents from Students for a Democratic Society (SDS):

http://www.sds-1960s.org/vietnam.htm

 

Legacies of the War:

Christian G. Appy, American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and our National identity, New York: Penguin Press, 2015.

Robert Dreyfuss. “Apocalypse Still, Agent Orange: The Next Generation,” Mother Jones (2/2000): 42-91. “The Catastrophe of Agent Orange for Vietnam”. Indochina Newsletter 52 (July-August 1988).

Edwin A. Martini, Agent Orange: History, Science, and the Politics of Uncertainty, University of Massachusetts Press, 2012

Fred Wilcox, Waiting For an Army To Die: The Tragedy of Agent Orange. New York: Random House, May 1983,; New York: Seven Stories Press, 2011) and Scorched Earth: Legacies of Chemical Warfare in Vietnam. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2011.

Michael Uhl & Tod Ensign. GI Guinea Pigs: How the Pentagon Exposed Our Troops to Dangers More Deadly than War: Agent Orange and Atomic Radiation. New York: Playboy Press, 1980.

Barry Weisberg. Ecocide in Indochina: The Ecology of War. New York: Harper & Row, 1970.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-a-ashwill/vietnam-war-50th-anniversary_b_3044899.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-a-ashwill/vietnam-veterans-travel_b_3176912.html

These are projects or documentation of attempts to remedy the continuing impact of the war, especially as to Agent Orange and unexploded ordinance (UXO).

http://www.agentorangerecord.com/home/

http://www.warlegacies.org/

Project Renew: UXO in Quang Tri province: http://www.landmines.org.vn/

Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Project: http://www.vn-agentorange.org/

An important conference on the environmental impact of the war held in Sweden in 2002 is fully described at http://www.nnn.se/environ.htm

A call for an alternative to the Department of Defense commemoration of the war: http://www.ncveteransforpeace.org/memorial/viettalk.pdf

 

Teaching materials:

The Zinn Education Project promotes and supports the use of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States and other materials for teaching a people’s history in middle and high school classrooms. The website offers more than 100 free, downloadable lessons and articles organized by theme, time period, and reading level. The Zinn Education Project is coordinated by two non-profit organizations, Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change.

Its goal is to introduce students to a more accurate, complex, and engaging understanding of United States history than is found in traditional textbooks and curricula.

http://zinnedproject.org/2013/06/camouflaging-the-vietnam-war-how-textbooks-continue-to-keep-the-pentagon-papers-a-secret/

http://zinnedproject.org/materials/the-most-dangerous-man-in-america-teaching-guide/

http://zinnedproject.org/materials/rethinking-the-teaching-of-the-vietnam-war/

http://www.vietnam.ttu.edu/teachers/

Another useful web site with lots of useful material is Remember Vietnam at: http://www.nnn.se/vietnam.htm along with further links at http://www.nnn.se/vietnam/links.htm

The following has useful links to many syllabi and other useful resources: http://academics.wellesley.edu/Polisci/wj/Vietnam/teaching.htm

Teaching the Vietnam War, by John J. Fitzgerald (2007).

 

Visuals:

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/12/vietnam-war-photos-that-made-a-difference/?_r=0

https://www.google.com/search?q=vietnam+war+photos&client=gmail&rls=gm&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=_gFgUpyZG62v4AOhq4GACw&ved=0CCwQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=450&dpr=1

[Famous war photos]

http://academics.wellesley.edu/Polisci/wj/Vietnam/antiwar.html

http://academics.wellesley.edu/Polisci/wj/Vietimages/posters.htm

[Links to many resources about the antiwar movement]

http://www2.iath.virginia.edu/sixties/HTML_docs

http://www2.iath.virginia.edu/sixties/HTML_docs/Exhibits/Track16.html

[Antiwar buttons and posters]

 

Videos/DVDs:

  • Biography of Ho Chi Minh on Biography (Release Date: 29 April 2000): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2w0Mtv5i4d4&feature=related [Excellent footage in a mixed analysis of Ho Chi Minh’s life, mostly, but not entirely from Western sources]
  • Hearts and Minds, Academy Award winning documentary by Peter Davis (1974).
  • Sir! No Sir! – The Suppressed Story of the GI Movement to End the War in Vietnam. Produced, directed and written by David Zeigler. www.sirnosir.com [The largely unknown history of GI resistance to the war]
  • Winter Soldier (1972) directed by The Winterfilm Collective (listed as Winterfilm, Inc. in the credits to the film Winter Soldier) consisted of: Rusty Sachs, Barbara Kopple, Fred Aranow, Nancy Baker, Joe Bangert, Rhetta Barron, Robert Fiore, David Gillis, David Grubin, Jeff Holstein, Barbara Jarvis, Al Kaupas, Mark Lenix, Michael Lesser, Nancy Miller, Lee Osborne, Lucy Massie Phenix, Roger Phenix, Benay Rubenstein, and Michael Weil. [chronicles the Winter Soldier Investigation which took place in Detroit, Michigan, from January 31 to February 2, 1971. The film documents the accounts of United States soldiers who returned from Vietnam, and participated in this war crimes hearing]
  • The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers (2009) Directed by Judith Ehrlich, Rick Goldsmith. With Peter Arnett, Ben Bagdikian, Ann Beeson, John Dean. [A biography of the man who revealed the secrets of the Vietnam war] http://zinnedproject.org/materials/dr-martin-luther-king-jr-beyond-vietnam/ [A video reading of MLK’s historic antiwar speech by Michael Ealy]
  • Vietnam: The 10,000 Day War, Peter Arnett: Episode 1 (“France in Vietnam” and “America in Vietnam”) and/or PBS’s Vietnam: A Television History: Episode 1: Roots of War [The beginnings of US involvement in Southeast Asia]
  • Remember My Lai May, 23, 1989. 60 minutes. Producer(s): Kevin Sim, Michael Bilton [In 1968, American soldiers massacred over 500 adults and children in a Vietnamese hamlet called My Lai. Frontline explores the legacy of that savage day on the men who were there and the Vietnamese who survived]
  • The Untold History of the United States MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged By Oliver Stone (Author) , Peter Kuznick (Author) , Peter Berkrot (Reader) Episode 7. [A revisionist view of US History]
  • In the Year of the Pig by Emilio de Antonio (1968) [Produced at the height of the Vietnam War, Emile de Antonio’s Oscar-nominated 1968 documentary chronicles the war’s historical roots… (103 mins.0]
  • Regret to Inform by Barbara Sonneborn. Sun Fountain Productions, 1999. 72 min. and teacher’s guide by Bill Bigelow. [This beautifully filmed Oscar-nominated documentary follows director Barbara Sonneborn as she travels to Vietnam to the site of her husband’s wartime death. Woven into her personal odyssey are interviews with American and Vietnamese widows who speak openly and profoundly about the men they loved and how war changed their lives forever. More information at regrettoinform.org]

 

Further reading:

This includes works of fiction as well as history.

Christian G. Appy, Working-Class War: American Combat Soldiers and Vietnam. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993. [An accurate depiction of the impact of the war on the working class]

Andrew J. Bacevich. The Pentomic Era: The U.S. Army between Korea and Vietnam. Washington DC: National Defense University Press: 1986. [This is not a lyrical book. However, Bacevich’s brief text lays bare the disarray within the U.S. Army following the war in Korea: its inability to define a strategic mission, its development of inefficient and occasionally ludicrous weapons (e.g. the Davy Crockett), its paranoid response to inter-service rivalries, and, despite its emphasis on business management strategies, its brief commitment to the wholly unmanageable “Pentomic” organizational structure.]

Ed. The Long War: A New History of U.S. National Security Policy Since World War II. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007. [Contains a number of interesting articles by specialists in military history. See especially, “Shield and Sword” by Bracevich which succinctly discusses the mistakes and duplicities that lead to a protracted war in Southeast Asia.]

Larry Berman. Perfect Spy: The Incredible Double Life of Pham Xuan An, Time Magazine Reporter and Vietnamese Communist Agent. NY: Harper Collins, 2007. [The incredible story of an effective spy beloved by western journalists]

Lady Borton, After Sorrow: An American among the Vietnamese New York: Viking Penguin, 1995.  This may be out of print; a slightly abridged version is at http://www.nnn.se/vietnam/sorrow.htm [Lady Borton has lived and worked in Vietnam during and since the war]

Michael Burleigh. Small Wars, Faraway Places: Global Insurrection and the Making of the Modern World. London: McMillan, 2013. [Documents the turmoil and anti-colonialism that followed in the wake of the collapse of the Japanese Empire in 1945. The majority of insurrections and wars in the succeeding twenty years are covered. In particular the French Indochina war and the American war in Vietnam, including the tunnel vision of American foreign policy, are incisively discussed.]

David Cortright, Soldiers in Revolt: GI Resistance During the Vietnam War. Haymarket Books (2005, originally 1975). [an early seminal work on GI resistance]

Bernard Edelman, D., Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam (video and book) http://www.amazon.com/Dear-America-Letters-Home-Vietnam/dp/0393323048

Daniel Ellsberg, Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers. New York: Penguin, 2002. [The memoir of the antiwar activist whose only regret is that he didn’t leak war secrets earlier]

W D Ehrhart, Beautiful Wreckage: New & Selected Poems. East Hampton, Mass., Adastra Press, 1999. [Known as the Dean of American Vietnam war poets]

Bernard Fall. Hell in a Very Small Place: The Siege of Dien Bien Phu. New York: Lippincott. 1966. [A early western account of one of the most significant battles of the 20th century which led to France’s withdrawal from Vietnam.]

Street Without Joy. Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole, 1961. [Often read and too often forgotten. Fall’s beautifully written books and articles on the War in Indochina constitute an insightful and scholarly (his work began as his doctoral thesis) examination of this conflict. As a member of the French Maquis and then a Lieutenant in the French Army, Fall brings an unblinking eye to the overwhelming, and ultimately insoluble obstacles to establishing French control over its former colony. Before his death, Fall made it abundantly clear that these self-same problems would apply to the American effort.]

John J. Fitzgerald, Marilyn B. Young and A. Tom Grundfeld, The Vietnam War: A History in Documents. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. [An up-to-date collection of important documents]

James William Gibson, The Perfect War: Technowar in Vietnam. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1986. [A searching exploration of the contradictions in and shortcomings of the American strategy]

William L. Griffin and John Marciano, Lessons of the Vietnam War: A Critical Examination of School Texts and an Interpretive History Utilizing the Pentagon Papers and Other Documents (1979), Roman and Allanheld, Publishers. Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2012 http://archive.org/details/teachingvietnamwOOgrif [An early critique of how US textbooks treat the war] Updated in Joe L. Kincheloe, Shirley R. Steinberg, John Marciano, Civic Illiteracy and American Education: Battle for the Hearts and Minds of American Youth (1997), Chapter 5, New York:

Le Ly Hayslip with Jay Wurts. When Heaven and Earth Changed Places (NY: Penguin Books,1989). [A moving memoir of war and return]

Stanley Karnow. Vietnam: A History. (orig.) New York: Viking, 1983; (paper) New York: Penguin, 1997. [A noted historian and a reporter with extensive firsthand experience in Vietnam, Karnow provides biographical information on all the leading actors – many of whom “declined to learn”–and the influences upon them: cultural, political, and military. The impact of “statistical razzle-dazzle” (read “body count” among other manipulations) and bureaucratic infighting is covered in detail. Karnow’s book is the basis for a public television documentary of the same name.]

George Katsiaficas (ed.), Vietnam Documents: American and Vietnamese Views of the War M. E. New York: Sharpe, 1992. [Key primary sources on the war]

Maxine Hong Kingston, ed.: Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace. Kihei, Hawaii: Koa Books, 2006. (Writings and poetry by veterans and others)

Gabriel Kolko, Anatomy of A War: Vietnam, the United States, and the Modern Historical Experience New York: New Press, 1995 (1984).

Yusef Koomanyakka, Dien Cai Dau (Wesleyan Poetry Series). Middlteon, Ct., Wesleyan University Press, 1988. [Komunyakaa makes a major contribution to the body of literature grappling with Vietnam –a poetry that pierces the artificial border between moral and aesthetic engagement]

Stanley I. Kutler (ed.), Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1996.  [A comprehensive and up-to-date reference on the Vietnam War. Among the articles are ten major interpretive essays]

Derek Leebaert  The Fifty-Year Wound: The True Price of America’s Cold War Legacy. New York: Little Brown, 2002.[A magisterial account of the cold war, its cost, clumsiness, and deceptions. Both the State Department and the CIA are exposed as inept and immoral, especially during the period before and during the War in Vietnam.]

Fredrik Logevall, Embers of war: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam, New York: Random House, 2012. [Pulitzer Prize-winning description of the French war (1946-54) and early American involvement. A detailed, objective and critical assessment of the effort by the French to retain their colonies in French Indochina. Also included is a discussion of America’s efforts to sustain the region in the name of anticommunism.]

Alfred W. McCoy. The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade. New York: Lawrence Hill Books, 1991. [A classic study of the role of the CIA in the drug netherworld – with a focus on Southeast Asia]

Edwin A. Martini, Invisible Hands: The American War on Vietnam, 1975-2000, Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2007.

Walter Dean Myers, Patrol: An American Soldier in Vietnam. New York: HarperCollins, 2005. 40 pp.  [Award winning young adult author Walter Dean Myers introduces the questions raised by many soldiers as they see the humanity of the “enemy” through this illustrated picture book for upper elementary students]

Gerald Nicosia. Home to War: A history of the Vietnam Veterans’ Movement. Amherst, MA.: University of Massachusetts Press, 1995. [The most comprehensive of the Viet Vet resistance movement]

Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1990. [America’s great war ‘fictional’ narrative, a classic]

Tim Page. (Eds. Doug Niven and Chris Riley). Another Side: Pictures of the War from the Other Side. Washington DC: National Geographic, 2002. [How the Vietnamese resistance pictured the war]

Pentagon Papers:

  • Sheehan, Neil; Smith, Hedrick; Kenworthy, E. W.; Butterfield, Fox, The Pentagon Papers. New York: Bantam, 19711. (Also http://www.nnn.se/vietnam/pentpapers.pdf for a concise summary.)
  • The Senator Gravel Edition: The Pentagon Papers: The Defense Department History of United States Decisionmaking on Vietnam. Boston: Beacon Press, 1971.
  • The Pentagon Papers. Vol. 5, Critical essays edited by Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn and an index to volumes one-four: Boston: Beacon Press, 1972.
  • George C. Herring, ed. The Secret Diplomacy of the Vietnam War: The Negotiating Volumes of the Pentagon Papers. Austin (TX): University of Texas Press, 1983. [Officially titled United States–Vietnam Relations, 1945–1967: A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense, this was a top secret history of involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967. The study was leaked by Daniel Ellsberg and published in excerpt form in the New York Times beginning in February 1971. The Sheehan version was in the New York Times; the Gravel version was read into the Congressional Record by alask senator Mike Gravel.] Go to http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB359/ for online versions of all the editions; or to http://www.archives.gov/research/pentagon-papers/ for the version declassified and released by the Pentagon in 2011.
  • Thomas E Ricks. The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today. New York: Penguin, 2012. [Documents the rise of the go-along-to get-along officer corps that rewarded micro-management best epitomized by the career of William Westmoreland. Perhaps uniquely, Westmoreland’s post graduate education consisted of a semester at the Harvard business school and a brief stint in the Army’s Cooks and Baker’s School suggesting that in a better world he would be known for his excellent cream chipped beef on toast and not his generalship. Ricks’ book lends support to the maxim that no officer with a business degree should be allowed to advance above the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.]

Larry Rottmann, Jan Barry, Basil T. Paquet, eds. Winning Hearts & Minds: War Poems by Vietnam Veterans. 1st Casualty Press/​McGraw-Hill, 1972. {Early poems by veterans]

Westmoreland: The General Who Lost Vietnam. Lewis Sorley. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011.

[Argues that General Westmoreland should not have been put in command of the military effort in Vietnam. Westmoreland had many self-deluded accomplices in this brutal folly, men who had neither the courage to pull out nor the wisdom to alter a failed strategy. A master of the telling anecdote, Sorely describes the time Westmoreland, who was then Chief of Staff, saw a picture of a company commander –“unkempt and unshaven”– just back from a long patrol. Westmoreland was outraged at the man’s unsoldierly appearance and went so far as to upbraid the battalion commander responsible. He had no knowledge of conditions in the field. “He just didn’t get it.” (page 217).]

 The Lessons of the Vietnam War (1996), Jerrold M. Starr, ed., The Center for Social Studies Education, Pittsburgh, PA : Center for Social Studies Education or The Lessons of the Vietnam War: A Modular Textbook, nonfiction (Pittsburgh: Center for Social Studies Education, 1988). (may be out of print)

Wallace Terry, Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans. New York: Ballantine Books, 1984 [Revealing portraits of Black soldiers]

James W. Trullinger, Village at War: An Account of Revolution in a Vietnamese Village, New York,Longman, 1980. [An anthropological description of a village in the war]

Nick Turse, Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, by Nick Turse (2013). [An updated description of the ‘real war’ against the civilian population of Vietnam]

Bruce Weigl, Song of Napalm: Poems. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1988.[Powerful poems by an /American veteran of the war] [Powerful poems by an /American veteran of the war]

S. Brian Willson, Blood on the Track: The Life and Times of S. Brian Willson. Oakland: PM Press, 2011. [Memoir of Vietnam war veteran and long-time nonviolent antiwar protestor]

VIiet Thanh Nguyen, The Sympathizer, New York: Grove Atlantic, 2015. In dialogue with but diametrically opposed to the narratives of the Vietnam War that have preceded it, this novel offers an important and unfamiliar new perspective on the war: that of a conflicted communist sympathizer.

Marilyn B. Young. The Vietnam Wars: 1945-1990. New York: Harper Collins, 1993. [A comprehensive study by the distinguished historian]

The Limits of Power: The United States in Vietnam (Choices Program) [ a US-centric view but a solid examination of the context of the Gulf of Tonkin incident and resolution. http://www.choices.edu/resources/detail.php?id=21 ]

 

 

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