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Definitive book on Vietnam?

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by drslash, Nov 12, 2002.

  1. drslash

    drslash It's all about the beer

    Does anybody have a suggestion for a book about the Vietnam War that is exhaustive and historically accurate? I don't care if it was written by an ardent critic of the war or a supporter of the war, I just want it to be comprehensive enough for the reader to make up his own mind. Thanks.
  2. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    No such volume exists in my mind.

  3. Allene

    Allene Registered User

    The only Vietnam War book I have ever read was David Halberstam's [spelling?] The Best and the Brightest, which was written in the early 1970s--too close to the event itself. Frankly, having arrived in Boston from Nova Scotia a few weeks before the My Lai massacre hit the news, I found that war too depressing to read about.

  4. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    Books about the Vietnam war - you get your political books, the books that explain how the most brilliant minds in our government killed 58,000 of my generation, all with the best of intentions.

    You get the war hero book, the books about McCain and the others who resisted years of inhumane treatment and torture for their country. You get the books about the pitched battles that produced heros like the battalion commander in We Were Solders, Hal Moore.

    What you don't see in the books is the average high schooler in the mid 60's. He was brought up on the patriotism of WWII and even Korea. His leaders were Eisenhower and Kennedy, a war hero and one who proclaimed "No Sacrifice is too Big...". So when the time came he gladly joined the service to do his part. He may not have always been in combat outfit, he may have been a cook, a mechanic, a supply man or a communications man. He served his year. He may or may not have underwent attacks on his base or convoys. He may or may not have lost friends. He may or may not have written letters to parents and wives of men who he commanded. But he served his time and he did it with whatever honor was demanded of him. He had friends on campuses and if he was very lucky they remained friends, but all too often they turned on him. He returned to his country after surviving his time in Vietnam and was advised that so many he thought he was serving now held him in contempt that he should change out of his uniform, put away his medals, and slink back home. If he came from a small town he might be welcomed, but if he came from a big city there was nothing if he was lucky. If he was unlucky he was still a pariah.

    He read about My Lai and was just as horrified as his fellow citizens but now being a veteran who had fought for his country had earned him the title of Baby Killer.

    There will never be a complete book about Vietnam. The stories of the heroes and the amputees will be told. The politicians will have their exonerations. But the guy who just served will never have his story written. His country does not want to read about its shame.
  5. jamming

    jamming Banned

    I would say read several books about the Vietnam War, there in my opinion no one book that tells the complete story.

    I would read:
    1. A. http://www.history.navy.mil/seairland/appena.htm
    B. http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/mohviet.htm
    C. http://www.airforcehistory.hq.af.mil/PopTopics/vietnam.htm
    Books by
    2. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara
    3. Rear Admiral James B. Stockdale
    4. Admiral Zumwalt, Elmo R., Jr.
    5. Cutler, Thomas J.
    6. McDonough, James R.
  6. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    There isn't any one story to tell. I expect that if such a history would be totally catalogued, it would encompass volumes. As Shiny pointed out, perhaps the only story worthy of telling...the real story isn't glitzy enough or sensational enough to be printed, and the people demonizing the guys coming home haven't got the stomach to be reminded of their behavior.

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