Young Americans went to South Vietnam and fought in a fierce war they barely understood. For a year they experienced an exotic land, strove to learn how to fight—and survive—looking eagerly ahead to their return from "The Nam." Their searing experiences varied by where they were assigned and at what point in the war they served. The Vietnamese adversaries, North and South, were defending their homes, fighting with no hope of ending the war other than by winning it. Too often the ordeals of those on both sides have been told by others—journalists, historians, even generals. In an invaluable corrective, John Prados, one of our leading interpreters of the Vietnam War, opens a window into the visceral reality of those on the ground in Vietnam. His carefully chosen and thoughtfully introduced anthology gathers the voices—in narrative and poetry—of men and women; Americans and Vietnamese (both of the North and South); officers, enlisted men, and civilians. All the selections feature individuals’ experiences of war or witnessing specific events and the realities of being caught up in them. Bridging the chasm between history and memory, together they offer an intense, even blazing, testimonial to the human condition in war.
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Published December 16, 2011
by Ivan R. Dee.