My favorite books about the Sixties and the Vietnam War era

Why am I passionate about this?

Almost all of my books have been historical novels, but this one is the one most dear to me, an attempt to understand the fault line that the Vietnam War laid across American society, leaving almost every man of my generation with scars physical or psychic. My picks are all books that illuminate the multiple upheavals of that time.


I wrote...

Coyote Weather

By Amanda Cockrell,

Book cover of Coyote Weather

What is my book about?

Coyote weather is the feral, hungry season, drought-stricken, and ready to catch fire. It’s 1967 and the American culture is violently remaking itself while the country is forcibly sending its young men to fight in a deeply unpopular war. Jerry has stubbornly made no plans for the future because he doesn’t think that, in the shadow of Vietnam, the Cold War, and atomic bomb drills, there is going to be one. Ellen is determined to have a plan, because nothing else seems capable of keeping the world from tilting. And the Ghost, who isn’t exactly dead, just wants to go home to a place that won’t let him in, the small California town where they all grew up. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Sleeping Where I Fall: A Chronicle

Amanda Cockrell Why did I love this book?

This is a classic account of the rebellious souls of the counterculture who attempted to disentangle themselves from a society they found stifling and parasitic.

Coyote’s memoir is sometimes bleak, sometimes funny, almost always endearing even through the worst of unintended consequences.

A brutally and beautifully written picture of a time that sought to remake America for the better.

By Peter Coyote,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sleeping Where I Fall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In his energetic, funny, and intelligent memoir, Peter Coyote relives his fifteen-year ride through the heart of the counterculture—a journey that took him from the quiet rooms of privilege as the son of an East Coast stockbroker to the riotous life of political street theater and the self-imposed poverty of the West Coast communal movement known as The Diggers. With this innovative collective of artist-anarchists who had assumed as their task nothing less than the re-creation of the nation’s political and social soul, Coyote and his companions soon became power players.

In prose both graphic and unsentimental, Coyote reveals the…


Book cover of Winter Soldiers: An Oral History of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War

Amanda Cockrell Why did I love this book?

Winter Soldiers offers firsthand accounts of more than thirty of members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, some of whom first joined the military with a deep belief in the rightness of America’s role in that conflict.

Eventually they made common cause with the protesters against the war and their voices had a role in its ending. Winter Soldiers follows them from their lives before the war, through their service, and into its aftermath.

By Richard Stacewicz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Winter Soldiers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1971, Vietnam veterans testified in public hearings about atrocities they had participated in or witnessed during the war. Here, Stacewicz seeks to tell their story by interviewing more than 30 members of Vietnam Veterans Against War and draws on their archives for supporting evidence.


Book cover of ...and a hard rain fell: A GI's True Story of the War in Vietnam

Amanda Cockrell Why did I love this book?

...and a hard rain fell is a devastating firsthand portrait of a young man brutalized by the war from basic training to his final discharge and the nightmares that followed.

John Ketwig’s memoir pulls no punches in an account of his experience that is as eloquent as it is horrifying.

If you want to know what an ordinary soldier’s life was like, from basic training to the jungles and the recurring nightmares, this is the book.

By John Ketwig,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked ...and a hard rain fell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A classic, must-read Vietnam war memoir
The classic Vietnam war memoir, ...and a hard rain fell is the unforgettable story of a veteran's rage and the unflinching portrait of a young soldier's odyssey from the roads of upstate New York to the jungles of Vietnam. Updated for its 20th anniversary with a new afterword on the Iraq War and its parallels to Vietnam, John Ketwig's message is as relevant today as it was twenty years ago.
"A magnetic, bloody, moving, and worm's-eye view of soldiering in Vietnam, an account that is from the first page to last a wound that…


Book cover of The World Split Open: How the Modern Women's Movement Changed America

Amanda Cockrell Why did I love this book?

The societal changes brought by the movements of the sixties had a different effect on women.

The sexual revolution promised freedom but didn’t plan for jealousy or conflicting ideas of “free.” The anti-war movement and even the civil rights movement saw women’s role as making the sandwiches and lettering the placards. 

Rosen chronicles women’s rising fed-up-ness from the 1950s to the unfinished business left at the book’s publication in 2000.

By Ruth Rosen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The World Split Open as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Newly Revised and Updated Edition

In this enthralling narrative-the first of its kind-historian and journalist Ruth Rosen chronicles the history of the American women's movement from its beginnings in the 1960s to the present. Interweaving the personal with the political, she vividly evokes the events and people who participated in our era's most far-reaching social revolution. Rosen's fresh look at the recent past reveals fascinating but little-known information including how the FBI hired hundreds of women to infiltrate the movement. Using extensive archival research and interviews, Rosen challenges readers to understand the impact of the women's movement and to…


Book cover of Positively 4th Street: The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Farina and Richard Farina

Amanda Cockrell Why did I love this book?

If there is any cultural icon that defines this era, it is music.

Positively 4th Street chronicles the personal and musical lives of these four, a portrait of extravagant, quarrelsome genius and the transformation of folk music from academic song-collecting to an era-defining musical form, by way of Greenwich Village, the anti-war movement, and shifting personal entanglements.

By David Hajdu,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Positively 4th Street as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When twenty-five-year-old Bob Dylan wrecked his motorcycle near Woodstock in 1966 and dropped out of the public eye, he was already recognized as a genius, a youth idol with an acid wit and a barbwire throat; and Greenwich Village, where he first made his mark, was unquestionably the center of youth culture.

In Positively 4th Street, David Hajdu recounts the emergence of folk music from cult practice to popular and enduring art form as the story of a colorful foursome: not only Dylan but also his part-time lover Joan Baez -- the first voice of the new generation; her sister…


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Captain James Heron First Into the Fray: Prequel to Harry Heron Into the Unknown of the Harry Heron Series

By Patrick G. Cox, Janet Angelo (editor),

Book cover of Captain James Heron First Into the Fray: Prequel to Harry Heron Into the Unknown of the Harry Heron Series

Patrick G. Cox Author Of Ned Farrier Master Mariner: Call of the Cape

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

On the expertise I claim only a deep interest in history, leadership, and social history. After some thirty-six years in the fire and emergency services I can, I think, claim to have seen the best and the worst of human behaviour and condition. History, particularly naval history, has always been one of my interests and the Battle of Jutland is a truly fascinating study in the importance of communication between the leader and every level between him/her and the people performing whatever task is required.  In my own career, on a very much smaller scale, this is a lesson every officer learns very quickly.

Patrick's book list on the Battle of Jutland

What is my book about?

Captain Heron finds himself embroiled in a conflict that threatens to bring down the world order he is sworn to defend when a secretive Consortium seeks to undermine the World Treaty Organisation and the democracies it represents as he oversees the building and commissioning of a new starship.

When the Consortium employs an assassin from the Pantheon, it becomes personal.

Captain James Heron First Into the Fray: Prequel to Harry Heron Into the Unknown of the Harry Heron Series

By Patrick G. Cox, Janet Angelo (editor),

What is this book about?

The year is 2202, and the recently widowed Captain James Heron is appointed to stand by his next command, the starship NECS Vanguard, while she is being built. He and his team soon discover that they are battling the Consortium, a shadowy corporate group that seeks to steal the specs for the ship’s new super weapon. The Consortium hires the Pantheon, a mysterious espionage agency, to do their dirty work as they lay plans to take down the Fleet and gain supreme power on an intergalactic scale. When Pantheon Agent Bast and her team kidnap Felicity Rowanberg, a Fleet agent…


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Interested in the Vietnam War, singers, and veterans?

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