They Marched Into Sunlight by David Maraniss
War and Peace Vietnam and America October 1967

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Synopsis

Here is the epic story of Vietnam and the sixties told through the events of a few tumultuous days in October 1967. David Maraniss takes the reader on an unforgettable journey to the battlefields of war and peace. With meticulous and captivating detail, They Marched Into Sunlight brings that catastrophic time back to life while examining questions about the meaning of dissent and the official manipulation of truth, issues that are as relevant today as they were decades ago.

In a seamless narrative, Maraniss weaves together three very different worlds of that time: the death and heroism of soldiers in Vietnam, the anger and anxiety of antiwar students back home, and the confusion and obfuscating behavior of officials in Washington. In the literature of the Vietnam era, there are powerful books about soldiering, excellent analyses of American foreign policy in Southeast Asia, and many dealing with the sixties' culture of protest, but this is the first book to connect the three worlds and present them in a dramatic unity. To understand what happens to the people of this story is to understand America's anguish.

In the Long Nguyen Secret Zone of Vietnam, a renowned battalion of the First Infantry Division is marching into a devastating ambush that will leave sixty-one soldiers dead and an equal number wounded. On the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison, students are staging an obstructive protest at the Commerce Building against recruiters for Dow Chemical Company, makers of napalm and Agent Orange, that ends in a bloody confrontation with club-wielding Madison police. And in Washington, President Lyndon Johnson is dealing with pressures closing in on him from all sides and lamenting to his war council, "How are we ever going to win?"

Based on thousands of primary documents and 180 on-the-record interviews, the story unfolds day by day, hour by hour, and at times minute by minute, with a rich cast of characters -- military officers, American and Viet Cong soldiers, chancellors, professors, students, police officers, businessmen, mime troupers, a president and his men, a future mayor and future vice president -- moving toward battles that forever shaped their lives and evoked cultural and political conflicts that reverberate still.
 

About David Maraniss

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David Maraniss, an associate editor at The Washington Post, is the author of critically acclaimed bestselling books on Bill Clinton, Vince Lombardi, Vietnam and the sixties, Roberto Clemente, and the 1960 Rome Olympics. He won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of Clinton, was part of a Post team that won the 2007 Pulitzer for coverage of the Virginia Tech tragedy, and has been a Pulitzer finalist three other times, including in the nonfiction history category for They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967. He lives in Washington, D.C., and Madison, Wisconsin.
 
Published October 14, 2003 by Simon & Schuster. 608 pages
Genres: History, Travel, War, Self Help, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for They Marched Into Sunlight

Kirkus Reviews

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A sprawling, vivid, and hard-to-put-down account of a mere two days in the fall of 1967, a time of two fierce battles: one in South Vietnam, the other in Wisconsin.

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Publishers Weekly

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The second narrative centers on the October 18, 1967, riot at the University of Wisconsin at Madison when student protesters tried to stop Dow Chemical, the maker of napalm, from recruiting on campus.

Aug 18 2003 | Read Full Review of They Marched Into Sunlight: W...

Star Tribune

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His story gives a very human face to the foot soldiers of both wars and very hard faces to those who presumed to lead them.

Nov 15 2003 | Read Full Review of They Marched Into Sunlight: W...

Entertainment Weekly

In his finely detailed history of both events, veteran journalist Maraniss conveys the troops' abject terror, the palpable rage of the student mob, and the panicked response of the cops -- not to mention the desperate hand-wringing of the Johnson administration and the utter apathy of grad s...

Sep 26 2003 | Read Full Review of They Marched Into Sunlight: W...

HistoryNet

David Maraniss is an associate editor of The Washington Post who has written biographies of — brace yourself for the contrast — Vince Lombardi and Bill Clinton.

Jun 12 2006 | Read Full Review of They Marched Into Sunlight: W...

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