The best books about South Vietnam

1 authors have picked their favorite books about South Vietnam and why they recommend each book.

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Democracy

By Joan Didion,

Book cover of Democracy

Some of us marry our childhood sweetheart, while others carry a lifelong torch for a love that seems unattainable. For Inez Victor—married to a U.S. Senator and failed Presidential candidate, a woman who has spent her entire adult life being photographed—the memories of Jack Lovett come in and out of focus like a camera lens. For decades, the two of them nurture a fantasy that finally explodes into the open with the force of the munitions that Lovett sells to governments around the world.

Democracy

By Joan Didion,

Why should I read it?

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


Who am I?

From an early age, it became obvious there were two types of people in the world. There were those who played it safe, who sold life insurance or worked for the government, who took their kids to soccer games and dutifully hosted Thanksgiving dinner. Then there were those who were haunted and driven by inner forces they couldn’t begin to understand. After realizing that I fell into the second category, I discovered many kindred spirits who had written books. While some of them sugar-coated their stories into “page-turners” or “beach reads,” the core of human obsession was unmistakable. I resolved to explore the outer edge of that obsession.


I wrote...

Friend of the Devil

By Mark Spivak,

Book cover of Friend of the Devil

What is my book about?

Joseph Soderini di Avenzano is America's most celebrated chef...Some believe he cut a deal with the Devil to achieve fame and fortune. Whether he is actually Bocuse or Beelzebub, Avenzano is approaching the twenty-fifth anniversary of his glittering Palm Beach restaurant, Chateau de la Mer, patterned after the Michelin-starred palaces of Europe. Journalist David Fox arrives in Palm Beach to interview the chef for a story on the restaurant’s silver jubilee and quickly becomes involved with Chateau de la Mer’s hostess, Alessandra, unwittingly transforming himself into Avenzano’s rival.

When the chef invites David to winter in Florida and write his authorized biography, he gradually becomes sucked into the restaurant’s vortex—shipments of cocaine coming up from the Caribbean; the Mafia connections and unexplained murder of the chef’s original partner; and the chef’s ravenous ex-wives, swirling in the background like a hidden coven. As Alessandra plots the demise of the chef, David tries to sort out hallucination and reality, while Avenzano plays with him like a feline’s catnip-stuffed toy.

Strategy for Defeat

By U.S. Grant Sharp,

Book cover of Strategy for Defeat: Vietnam in Retrospect

As a Vietnam combat veteran at the height of the Vietnam War, I was and still am infuriated by the gross misrepresentation of the war by the U.S. media. It conceals the extreme vulnerability of North Vietnam, where the war originated and was always controlled, to a truly strategic air campaign that could have ended the war in less than a year and made their conquest of South Vietnam impossible. This book by the former commander of all U.S. forces in SE Asia explains exactly how.

Strategy for Defeat

By U.S. Grant Sharp,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Strategy for Defeat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

In 1965, I voluntarily enlisted in the Army as a draft exempt, 26-year-old high school teacher. After completing the infantry officer, airborne, ranger, jumpmaster, special forces, and jungle warfare courses, in 1967 I was assigned to a Special Forces A-team in I Corps, Vietnam. In 1968, I volunteered for SOG, a top-secret recon-commando unit at a small, remote SF jungle camp that was later attacked by 3,000 to 4,000 North Vietnamese Army troops. With a master’s degree in history, I have since studied all aspects of the Vietnam War. Gregory Sanders, also a Vietnam veteran, and I researched, wrote, and in 2019 published a unique tactical, operational, and strategic narrative and analysis of that battle titled BAIT: the Battle of Kham Duc


I wrote...

Bait: The Battle of Kham Duc

By James McLeroy, Gregory Sanders,

Book cover of Bait: The Battle of Kham Duc

What is my book about?

The strategic potential of the three-day attack of two NVA regiments on Kham Duc, a remote and isolated Army Special Forces camp, on the eve of the first Paris peace talks in May 1968, was so significant that former President Lyndon Johnson included it in his memoirs. This gripping, original, eyewitness narrative and thoroughly researched analysis of a widely misinterpreted battle at the height of the Vietnam War radically contradicts all the other published accounts of it. In addition to the tactical details of the combat narrative, the authors consider the grand strategies and political contexts of the U.S. and North Vietnamese leaders.

"The most authentic account to date of the historic battle of Kham Duc in the Vietnam War, it convincingly explains why, contrary to all other accounts, it was an American tactical victory. Well written, impressively researched, and filled with new details, BAIT is highly recommended for scholars, students, and general readers of military history." -- Robert Turner, Professor and Distinguished Fellow, University of Virginia, Vietnam War veteran

Book cover of All Day Long the Noise of Battle

The study of battles, and often individual actions by small groups of men, has been an important part of Australian military history, and the Australian military historical tradition has produced many fine practitioners of operational military history. One author who produced a fine example of the genre is Gerard Windsor, the author of fiction and memoir who, though without any previous experience of writing military history, produced All Day Long the Noise of Battle, a study of the attack made by one company of Australian infantry upon a Viet Cong bunker system in Phuoc Tuy province, South Vietnam, in 1968. Sparked by a chance encounter with a schoolmate, Windsor began investigating a hitherto unnamed battle, one of the most fierce the Australians fought in their ten-year war in Vietnam, and a superb example of how to write about men in battle. 

All Day Long the Noise of Battle

By Gerard Windsor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Day Long the Noise of Battle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"In 1968 an Australian infantry company assaulted a Vietnamese bunker complex in a three-day battle. Yet it passed unacknowledged in Australia, and the men were insulted by command's failure to recognise their courage. Gerard Windsor's All Day Long the Noise of Battle looks at the men's strengths and weaknesses, their alliances and tensions, their morale, their reactions to combat, their stand-out characters and their leaders. And throughout, the book becomes an essay on the nature of men's memory of battle. Windsor brings a fiction writer's eye to this tragic episode. Full of memorable personalities Windsor's book is seminal and moving."

Who am I?

I am a Research Professor in history at UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy. I now mostly write on the military history of British India history but for 27 years I worked at the Australian War Memorial, Australia’s national military museum, where I became Principal Historian. Much of my career was devoted to Australian military history and more than half of my 40 or so books are in that field. That puts me in a good position to comment upon what I think are the five best books in the field of Australian military history (my own excepted, of course). 


I wrote...

Bad Characters

By Peter Stanley,

Book cover of Bad Characters

What is my book about?

Having left the Australian War Memorial in 2007 I felt able to write what I liked about Australia’s experience of the Great War, a key episode in Australia’s sense of national identity. Picking up an insight from the official historian, Charles Bean, that his history accepted ‘the good and the bad’ of the story (but realising that neither he – nor anyone - had said much about the ‘bad’), I began to explore the other side of the medal, researching what Australians celebrate as their soldiers’ ’larrikinism’ – harmless high spirits.

I showed that Australians, while good fighters, made poor soldiers – unwilling to submit to military discipline, prone to say what they thought and while venerating mateship, more likely to desert than any other army in the British empire. Expecting to affront those who venerate ‘the Anzacs’, I was surprised to find that readers accepted that (as Bean had seen) war history needed to encompass the ‘good and bad’ – and the book jointly won the Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History, an award that dramatically changed my career.

Abandoning Vietnam

By James H. Willbanks,

Book cover of Abandoning Vietnam: How America Left and South Vietnam Lost Its War

A perfect example of what a well-researched and written academic book on the Vietnam War should be.  Abandoning Vietnam tells the critical story of the military side of how America exited its conflict in Vietnam. In most western books on the Vietnam War, our allies in Vietnam, the South Vietnamese, are missing. But this book makes clear South Vietnam’s manifold strengths and clear weaknesses and why our alliance with them failed. The failure of that alliance not only cost more than 50,000 American lives but cost the Vietnamese millions and cost South Vietnam its very life. 

We like to forget what happened there in the wake of our defeat, but this book won’t let you forget. Reading this pushed me to write my own book to further the story.

Abandoning Vietnam

By James H. Willbanks,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

To achieve this goal, America poured millions of dollars into training and equipping the South Vietnamese military while attempting to pacify the countryside. Precisely how this strategy was implemented and why it failed so completely are the subjects of this eye-opening study. Drawing upon both archival research and his own military experiences in Vietnam, Willbanks focuses on military operations from 1969 through 1975. He contends that Vietnamization was a potentially viable plan that was begun years too late.

Who am I?

I was always fascinated by the Vietnam War since my older sister’s friends went off to fight in it. After getting my PhD and writing about World War I and World War II, I returned to Vietnam by getting involved with veterans groups and taking veterans and students to Vietnam. Since then I have written widely on the topic, teach about the Vietnam War, and have been involved in several major Vietnam War documentaries for outlets including the History Channel and National Geographic Channel. From those early days I have read everything I can get my hands on about the war, about my generation’s war.


I wrote...

The Boys of '67: Charlie Company's War in Vietnam

By Andrew Wiest,

Book cover of The Boys of '67: Charlie Company's War in Vietnam

What is my book about?

The Boys of ’67 tells the story of one combat company in the Vietnam War – Charlie Company, 4th of the 47th Infantry. Called up in the largest draft call of the entire war, the men of Charlie Company were a slice of Americana – city slickers, surfers, sharecroppers, bikers, and preachers. They trained together for eight months, becoming brothers in the process, and shipped out to Vietnam. During their year in combat, the 160 originals of Charlie Company lost 26 killed and 105 wounded in days of grueling combat that changed the young men forever. 

They returned to a country that had changed dramatically – a country where their service and sacrifice were not valued, and the men and their families still live with the war today. This is their story.

The Vietnam War Reexamined

By Michael G. Kort,

Book cover of The Vietnam War Reexamined

The Vietnam War cannot be understood without understanding two opposing groups of historians of it: the orthodox and the revisionist. This is the most concise, balanced, and objective analysis of those contradictory versions of the war. The leftist version is an anti-war, anti-U.S. military, anti-South Vietnamese government interpretation that sees the war as unwinnable and morally shameful U.S. imperialism. It rejects all revisionist arguments to the contrary, such as the difference between the U.S. political failure in America and the U.S. military success in Vietnam, as "conservative counterfactual speculation".

The Vietnam War Reexamined

By Michael G. Kort,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Vietnam War Reexamined as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Going beyond the dominant orthodox narrative to incorporate insight from revisionist scholarship on the Vietnam War, Michael G. Kort presents the case that the United States should have been able to win the war, and at a much lower cost than it suffered in defeat. Presenting a study that is both historiographic and a narrative history, Kort analyzes important factors such as the strong nationalist credentials and leadership qualities of South Vietnam's Ngo Dinh Diem; the flawed military strategy of 'graduated response' developed by Robert McNamara; and the real reasons South Vietnam collapsed in the face of a massive North…

Who am I?

In 1965, I voluntarily enlisted in the Army as a draft exempt, 26-year-old high school teacher. After completing the infantry officer, airborne, ranger, jumpmaster, special forces, and jungle warfare courses, in 1967 I was assigned to a Special Forces A-team in I Corps, Vietnam. In 1968, I volunteered for SOG, a top-secret recon-commando unit at a small, remote SF jungle camp that was later attacked by 3,000 to 4,000 North Vietnamese Army troops. With a master’s degree in history, I have since studied all aspects of the Vietnam War. Gregory Sanders, also a Vietnam veteran, and I researched, wrote, and in 2019 published a unique tactical, operational, and strategic narrative and analysis of that battle titled BAIT: the Battle of Kham Duc


I wrote...

Bait: The Battle of Kham Duc

By James McLeroy, Gregory Sanders,

Book cover of Bait: The Battle of Kham Duc

What is my book about?

The strategic potential of the three-day attack of two NVA regiments on Kham Duc, a remote and isolated Army Special Forces camp, on the eve of the first Paris peace talks in May 1968, was so significant that former President Lyndon Johnson included it in his memoirs. This gripping, original, eyewitness narrative and thoroughly researched analysis of a widely misinterpreted battle at the height of the Vietnam War radically contradicts all the other published accounts of it. In addition to the tactical details of the combat narrative, the authors consider the grand strategies and political contexts of the U.S. and North Vietnamese leaders.

"The most authentic account to date of the historic battle of Kham Duc in the Vietnam War, it convincingly explains why, contrary to all other accounts, it was an American tactical victory. Well written, impressively researched, and filled with new details, BAIT is highly recommended for scholars, students, and general readers of military history." -- Robert Turner, Professor and Distinguished Fellow, University of Virginia, Vietnam War veteran

Book cover of The Magnificent Bastards: The Joint Army-Marine Defense of Dong Ha, 1968

My river boat division (Mobile Riverine Force Division 112) patrolled the Cua Viet River just south of the DMZ between North and South Vietnam during the timeline of this book so I could very much relate to the events, though the Marines took much heavier casualties than our boats did. Keith Nolan does an excellent job documenting the battles—as I read, I relived the bomb and strafing runs done by the navy aircraft carrier F-4 Phantoms (which I also wrote about in my memoir) Nolan’s very detailed account of the Marine battles on the north side of the river answered many decades-old questions for me. His use of dialogue and insights into the Marines keep the reader engrossed. 

The Magnificent Bastards

By Keith Nolan,

Why should I read it?

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


Who am I?

As I write this, I massage aching bits of shrapnel still embedded beneath silvered scars. I’ve read many Vietnam War stories—praising the war, glorifying combat, condemning the war. My stories are 1st person limited POV, voice of a twenty-year-old sailor. My title is a spin-off of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. By the time I wrote my memoir, I realized that our national goals in Vietnam had been Muddy from the beginning. I too, traveled Jungle Rivers. During my time on the riverboat, I witnessed Rivers of blood—rivers of life, trickle across our deck. And yes, Jungle is a fitting metaphor for our life at that time.


I wrote...

Muddy Jungle Rivers: A river assault boat cox'n's memory journey of his war in Vietnam

By Wendell Affield,

Book cover of Muddy Jungle Rivers: A river assault boat cox'n's memory journey of his war in Vietnam

What is my book about?

Muddy Jungle Rivers is a close-up look at life on a gunboat during 1968, the bloodiest year of the Vietnam War. It’s the story of a seven-man crew captained by a volatile pro-war enlisted man. Like Philip Caputo’s A Rumor Of War, this narrative takes the reader into frustration, rage, terror, death, betrayal, and the search for redemption. Muddy Jungle Rivers has 29 chapters, maps, and photographs. Today’s generation watch their peers returning from combat and cannot understand why their loved ones have changed after being blanched in the cauldron of war. In Muddy Jungle Rivers the reader will glimpse the genesis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Steve Almond wrote the Foreword for Muddy Jungle Rivers.

Enduring Vietnam

By James Wright,

Book cover of Enduring Vietnam: An American Generation and Its War

My book is a story about what often happens to some soldiers after a war, in today's lingo, PTSD. As one who is a veteran himself, I’ve always been conflicted about soldiering, war, the aftermath of war, and the American penchant for war. One book put it all into perspective for me, Enduring Vietnam by historian James Wright. Wright gives you the historical context that brought about the war; the politics that influenced the war; and the battles fought during the war. But he tells it all from the perspective of the soldiers who fought the war, from our fellow Americans and allies in South Vietnam, but also from the perspective of the enemy soldiers, the Vietcong and North Vietnamese.

Enduring Vietnam

By James Wright,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Vietnam War is largely recalled as a mistake, either in the decision to engage there or in the nature of the engagement. Orboth. Veterans of the war remain largely anonymous figures, accomplices in the mistake. Critically recounting the steps that led to the war, this book does not excuse the mistakes, but it brings those who served out of the shadows. Enduring Vietnam recounts the experiences of the young Americans who fought in Vietnam and of families who grieved those who did not return. By 1969 nearly half of the junior enlisted men who died in Vietnam were draftees.…

Who am I?

For me, writing novels is an attempt in metaphor to clear the ledger of unfinished business in my crazy, contradictory, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and always messy mind. All the books I've written have long and often intensely personal backstories. All of us live two lives, a life in the world of things, relationships, and time (needs), and a life in the world we create in our minds (wants). When needs and wants come into conflict we have the elements that make a novel. I see my job as a novelist to provide an exciting story and plot that carries a reader through the material world.


I wrote...

Whirlybird Island

By Ernest Hebert,

Book cover of Whirlybird Island

What is my book about?

The idea behind Whirlybird Island first hit me during an anti-war demonstration in 1968. It struck me that the rebellious youth movement of the 1960s was blowback from trauma suffered by veterans of WWII and the Korean War and passed down to their progeny. For years—no, decades—I wanted to explore this idea in a novel but I could not do it, because the characters I had in mind were based on real people that I loved; they would recognize themselves, and I didn't want to hurt them. It wasn't until they were all dead that I started Whirlybird Island. So, what is this book about? It can all be summed up in a question: Who is killing Korean War veterans and why?

Ride the Thunder

By Richard Botkin,

Book cover of Ride the Thunder: A Vietnam War Story of Honor and Triumph

Author Richard Botkin was a U. S. Marine Captain, who served during a time of peace, but who, like many Marines, became fascinated with Marine Corps history during the Vietnam War. This book is about the U. S. Marine officers who served as military advisors to the Vietnamese Marine Corps, and who helped the Vietnamese Marines defend their country during the so-called Easter Offensive of 1972. The North Vietnamese launched this unprecedented offensive with the intent of conquering our ally, the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) or South Vietnam as we came to know them. This was an all-out, go-for broke offensive during which the NVA launched over 1,000 Soviet tanks and massive artillery bombardments, backed by tens of thousands of NVA infantry soldiers. The intent of this offensive was “total victory.” History and this book document the fact that this juggernaut was ultimately stopped cold by the ARVN and the…

Ride the Thunder

By Richard Botkin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ride the Thunder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Everything Americans know about the end of the Vietnam War is wrong, contends Richard Botkin, former Marine infantry officer and author of the groundbreaking book Ride the Thunder: A Vietnam War Story of Honor and Triumph.

Now the inspiration for a major motion picture of the same name Ride the Thunder reveals the heroic, untold story of how Vietnamese Marines and their US advisers fought valiantly, turning the tide of an unpopular war and actually winning – while Americans 8,000 miles away were being fed only one version of the story.

Focusing on three Marine heroes – Colonel John W.…


Who am I?

I enlisted in the U. S. Marine Corps in 1966 and was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program. As a Marine officer, I served one 13-month combat tour in the Republic of Vietnam from November 1967 to December 1968. During my tour, I led Marines through some of the heaviest fighting in the war, including the historic Battle for Hue City during the Tet Offensive of 1968. I will never forget my Marines, who always, always rose and faced the enemy, risking their lives for their fellow Marines and the people of South Vietnam. I experienced first-hand the brutality of war and the loss of too many of my Marines, at the hands of our fierce enemy, the Viet Cong, and the NVA, and at the hands of our own leaders who valued historic real estate over the lives of the young Americans who served in “The ‘Nam.” I am extremely passionate about this topic and feel strongly that every American should study this war and learn the facts about what happened there – the good, the bad, and the ugly – to ensure we as a nation never again send our troops into harms’ way without our nation’s full support.


I wrote...

Book cover of Phase Line Green: The Battle for Hue, 1968

What is my book about?

The bloody monthlong battle for the ancient Citadel Fortress in Hue pitted U.S. Marines against an entrenched North Vietnamese Army force. By official accounts it was a tactical and moral victory for the Marines and the United States. But here survivor Nicholas Warr describes with urgency and outrage the Marines' savage house-to-house fighting--ordered without air, naval, or artillery support by officers with no experience in that type of combat.

Triumph Forsaken

By Mark Moyar,

Book cover of Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965

Moyar does an excellent job of debunking the myths surrounding this country’s failure to secure an independent, non-communist South Vietnam. From the “Bright and Shining Lie” of the vaunted Saigon press corps to the supposed incompetence of Ngo Dinh Diem, Moyar demonstrates that the orthodox narrative is false and that the loss of Vietnam was the result of decisions made in Washington rather than dysfunction in Saigon.  

Triumph Forsaken

By Mark Moyar,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Drawing on a wealth of new evidence from all sides, Triumph Forsaken, first published in 2007, overturns most of the historical orthodoxy on the Vietnam War. Through the analysis of international perceptions and power, it shows that South Vietnam was a vital interest of the United States. The book provides many insights into the overthrow of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem in 1963 and demonstrates that the coup negated the South Vietnamese government's tremendous, and hitherto unappreciated, military and political gains between 1954 and 1963. After Diem's assassination, President Lyndon Johnson had at his disposal several aggressive policy options…

Who am I?

I entered the United States Army in August 1970, two months after graduation from high school, completed flight school on November 1971, and served a one-year tour of duty in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot in Troop F (Air), 8th US Cavalry, 1st Aviation Brigade. After my discharge, I served an additional 28 years as a helicopter pilot in the Illinois National Guard, retiring in 2003. I graduated from Triton Junior College, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Northwestern University Law School in 1981. My passion for this subject arises, as one would expect, from my status as a veteran. My expertise is based on my own experience and 16 years of research and writing that went into the preparation of my book.


I wrote...

Reckoning: Vietnam and America's Cold War Experience, 1945-1991

By Neal Thompson,

Book cover of Reckoning: Vietnam and America's Cold War Experience, 1945-1991

What is my book about?

America’s triumph over Soviet Communism, orthodoxy tells us, was a splendid bi-partisan accomplishment in which all Americans can take pride, marred only by America’s singularly unjust, ill-advised campaign in Vietnam, which was undertaken in good faith by well-meaning and intelligent men acting in the country’s interest. Nonsense.

In Reckoning, I identify facts that have been hiding in plain sight—“elephants in the room” as they are commonly known—and prove that: 1) the war in Vietnam, while winnable, was lost by a corrupt political class that was focused on domestic politics and opponents in Washington rather than Communists in Asia; 2) the war crimes allegations advanced by the antiwar left are false. The facts and figures regarding day-to-day operations in Vietnam, when compared to those of Korea and World War II, prove clearly that the men who fought in Vietnam were as honorable as any generation of American veterans. Finally, I demonstrate conclusively that you will never understand the Vietnam War by reading about the Vietnam War. You must begin with the “legacy of the 1930s” and the policies to which it gave rise. For the Vietnam War was but one campaign among many within the Truman Doctrine, and if it was the “Bad War fought for all the wrong reasons and in all of the wrong ways” that orthodoxy tells us it was, the Truman Doctrine itself becomes nothing but a long campaign of, in Daniel Ellsberg’s words, “American aggression.”

Armed with Abundance

By Meredith H. Lair,

Book cover of Armed with Abundance: Consumerism and Soldiering in the Vietnam War

How music became so readily available to Vietnam soldiers is emphasized in Armed with Abundance. Trying to remedy the tenuous morale among GIs, the U.S. military provided them with “creature comforts” in an effort to make war easier, and certainly more palatable. Lair finds that consumption and satiety, more so than privation and sacrifice, defined the experience of most soldiers' Vietnam deployments. She reveals that in 1969 and 1970, for example, soldiers purchased nearly 500,000 radios, 178,000 reel-to-reel tape decks, and 220,000 cassette recorders. Rock and roll was there to stay! 

Armed with Abundance

By Meredith H. Lair,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Armed with Abundance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Popular representations of the Vietnam War tend to emphasize violence, deprivation, and trauma. By contrast, in Armed with Abundance, Meredith Lair focuses on the noncombat experiences of U.S. soldiers in Vietnam, redrawing the landscape of the war so that swimming pools, ice cream, visits from celebrities, and other "comforts" share the frame with combat.

To address a tenuous morale situation, military authorities, Lair reveals, wielded abundance to insulate soldiers - and, by extension, the American public - from boredom and deprivation, making the project of war perhaps easier and certainly more palatable. The result was dozens of overbuilt bases in…

Who am I?

Until today’s multiple catastrophes, the Vietnam War was the most harrowing moment in the lives of my fellow baby boomers and me. Drafted into the U.S. Army in early 1970, I spent 365 days in Vietnam as a combat correspondent. That experience changed my life, because as the Argentinian writer Jose Narosky has pointed out, “in war, there are no unwounded soldiers.” I have spent the past five decades trying to heal those wounds, writing three books grounded in my Vietnam experience, and have devoted my life to listening to the voices of our veterans, distilling their memories (often music-based), and sharing their words. 


I wrote...

We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War

By Doug Bradley, Craig Werner,

Book cover of We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War

What is my book about?

In We Gotta Get Out of This Place, Doug Bradley and Craig Werner place popular music at the heart of the American experience in Vietnam. The authors explore how and why U.S. troops turned to music as a way of connecting to each other and the World back home and coping with the complexities of the war they had been sent to fight. Bradley and Werner also demonstrate how music was important for every group of Vietnam veterans—black and white, Latino and Native American, men and women, officers and “grunts”—whose personal reflections drive the book’s narrative. Together their testimony taps into memories—individual and collective—that capture a central, if often overlooked, component of the American war in Vietnam.

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