Reporter: A Memoir (2018) and Bring the War Home (2018) address history and legacy of Vietnam War
On occasion, I have been reading about the Vietnam War – as seen from a wide range of vantage points. While the war was underway, I followed the news closely and over the years met a good number of Vietnam War resisters as well as some veterans – in particular during the years I was travelling and working in the interior and West Coast of British Columbia.
Recent books addressing the war’s legacy include:
Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America (2018)
The first book is featured in a June 14, 2018 CBC The Current article entitled: “How reporter Seymour Hersh uncovered a massacre, and changed the Vietnam War dialogue: Pentagon tried to bury story of U.S. soldiers killing hundreds of Vietnamese civilians, says veteran reporter.”
As I recall, I heard the interview on my car radio on the day it was aired on CBC Radio.
Click here to access a CBC The Current transcript of the Seymour Hersh interview >
I learned of the second book from a July 6, 2018 New York Times article entitled: “Where Did the Radical Right Come From?”
Previous posts highlight a range of perspective regarding the Vietnam War:
We Were Soldiers (2002) is a movie based on We Were Soldiers Once …. and Young: Ia Drang: the Battle that Changed the War in Vietnam (1992)
I have begun to view We Were Soldiers (2002), while pausing to read The Water Will Come (2017)
I became interested in reading about the history and legacy of the war after reading a brief mention – a mini-review, so to speak – of We Were Soldiers (2002) by Robert Mueller, in an article that I came across some time back:
We Were Soldiers (2002) is pretty accurate, notes Robert Mueller, who seldom mentioned his Marine service
A related topic concerns “moral injury” as a feature of warfare:
Jonathan Shay speaks of “moral injury” in Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character (1994)
A May 13, 2019 Yale Environment 360 article is entitled: “Fifty Years After, A Daunting Cleanup of Vietnam’s Toxic Legacy: From 1962 to 1971, the American military sprayed vast areas of Vietnam with Agent Orange, leaving dioxin contamination that has severely affected the health of three generations of Vietnamese. Now, the U.S. and Vietnamese governments have joined together in a massive cleanup project.”
An Aug. 9, 2019 CNN article is entitled: “Southwest pilot flew his Vietnam veteran father’s remains back to the place where he last saw him 52 years ago.”
10 Recommended Reads
A March 5, 2019 London School of Economics article is entitled: “Reading List: 10 Recommended Reads on the Contemporary Far Right and Populism.”
Among the books featured in the list is one featured at the current post.
Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America. Kathleen Belew. Harvard University Press, 2018
The article describes the book:
In this original book, US historian Kathleen Belew argues that key activists within the modern US far right were profoundly influenced by (their experiences in) the Vietnam War. It was Vietnam veterans like Louis R. Beam Jr who popularised the notion of ‘leaderless resistance’ within the far right, which inspired many of the most infamous far right terrorists, from Robert Jay Matthews (The Order) to Timothy McVeigh (Oklahoma City bombing). Belew also shows how the defeatist mood in the US led to a push for ‘remasculinisation’, expressed through the paramilitarisation of US culture in general, and the various far-right subcultures in particular.
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I have read quite a bit about the Vietnam war over the years but was truly impressed by Ken Burns recent documentaries about the Vietnam War. He even had perspectives from the Vietcong side. It is an excellent series.
Ken Burns has done a lot of good work. I look forward to possibly viewing the series.
The book We Were Soldiers Once … and Young: Ia Drang: The Battle that Changed the War in Vietnam (1992) also includes material based on interviews with military leaders from the North Vietnam and Viet Cong side of the Vietnam War.
After the war, military leaders from both sides of the conflict had opportunities to compare notes and talk about the tactics and strategies adopted by their respective sides. The insights and reflections that have been published, based on such comparing of notes, are of interest.