Iraq: Deja Vu All Over Again? Part II
When I worked in the University of Pennsylvania’s Van Pelt Library, I spent much time browsing the DS 500 area of the stacks for books on the Vietnam War. (More after the jump.)
Most of the books listed below are available in Van Pelt, or some of the other Penn libraries--including here at Biddle.
Those who were there: eyewitness accounts of the war in Southeast Asia 1956-1975 and aftermath. 1984.
An annotated bibliography of books, articles and topic-related magazines covering writings both factual and imaginative.
Historical: These cover mostly policies, assumptions and decisions made.
America's Longest War: the United States and Vietnam, by George C. Herring.
America In Vietnam, by Genter Lewy.
Anatomy of a War, by Gabriele Kolko.
Backfire, by Loren Baritz.
A matter of honor, by Don Kowet.
Biddle DS559.8 M44 K68 1984
Written by Journalist Don Kowet, the book is a critical analysis of a CBS Reports show that accused General Westmoreland, the commander of U.S. forces in Viet Nam, of participating in a "conspiracy at the highest levels of American military intelligence" to underreport enemy troop strength in order to create the impression that the U.S. was winning the war.
The Best and the Brightest, by David Halberstam.
An excellent behind-the-scenes view of Jack Kennedy, Adlai Stevenson, Robert Lovett and Dean Rusk.
The Quiet American, by Graham Greene.
This is fiction, but it tells the whole story of America in Vietnam--yet it was written in 1955.
Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam, edited by Bernard Edelman.
Letters from Vietnam, taken from letters written home. The authors were killed in action.
The Heart of a Man, published by Marlyn Elkins.
A diary kept by a navy pilot who did not return. Published by his widow.
The Letters of PFC Richard E. Marks USMC.
Letters edited by the dead Marine’s mother.
Into the Mouth of the Cat: the story of Lance Sijan.
A Congressional Medal of Honor Winner, Sijan was a POW who died after repeatedly trying to escape.
Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam, by Neil Sheehan.
Sheehan was a UPI correspondent in Vietnam. Vann was a Lt.Col., friends with Daniel Ellsberg and General Westmoreland.
The new soldier, [electronic resource] by John Kerry and Vietnam Veterans Against the War ; edited by David Thorne, George Butler.
Available online through LOLA.
John Kerry was my hero 40 years before he ran for President of the United States!
Non-Fiction: These cover the atmosphere, duality and brotherhood of war.
Rumor of War, by Philip Caputo.
Born on the Fourth of July, by Ron Kovic.
Dispatches, by Michael Herr.
The Big V, by William Pelfrey.
Law, morality, and Vietnam; the peace militants and the courts, by John F. and Rosemary S. Bannan.
Biddle KA650 B219L
The authors look at the peace movement’s attempt to translate its moral convictions into legal instruments to get the judiciary to declare the war illegal.
Vietnam stories: a judge’s memoir, by Jack Crouchet.
Biddle KF7641 .C76 1997
Crouchet was a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corp and writes of his experiences in Saigon, exotic French restauraunts and traveling through the war zone hearing military cases.
Biddle has many books on Vietnam in the KF7600’s section.
Semi-Fiction: The companionship, little jokes and day-to-day life in Vietnam.
Going after Cacciato, by Tim O’Brien.
If I die in a combat zone : box me up and ship me home, by Tim O’Brien.
Tim Page’s Nam.
Requiem by the Photographers Who Died in Vietnam and Indochina, edited by Horst Faas and Tim Page.
Women as authors:
Home Before Morning: the story of an army nurse in Vietnam, by Lynda VanDevanter.
Shrapnel in the Heart, by Laura Palmer.
Winners and Losers, by Gloria Emerson.
Emerson was in Vietnam during the early policies of the war.
Women as subjects:
A Piece of My Heart, ed. by Keith Walker.
The stories of 26 women in Vietnam, forward by Martha Raye.
In the Combat: An Oral History, by Kathryn Marshall.
20 narratives of army or Red Cross nurses.
Aid and comfort: Jane Fonda in North Vietnam, by Henry Mark Holzer and Erika Holzer.
Biddle DS559.8 P65 H65 2002
While I would prefer to leave this book out because I disagree with just about all of it, we do own it and it is an interesting read.
The Bad War: an Oral History of the Vietnam War, by Kim Williamson with the correspondents of Newsweek.
Bloods: an Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Americans, by Wallace Terry
Wounds of War: the Psychological Aftermath of Combat in Vietnam, by Herbert Hendin & Ann Pollinger Haas.
Payback: Five Marines After Vietnam, by Joe Klein.
Facing the Wall: Americans at the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, by Duncan Spencer & Lloyd Wolf.
Other resources: I was surprised to find that besides monographs it was easy to find other materials: movies, websites, and special collections.
Some are available at Van Pelt, some at Rosengarten Reserve, many at Biddle, and there are some oral history videorecordings available at the University Archives.
Apocalypse Now, directed and produced by Francis Coppola, written by John Milius and Francis Coppola.
The Camden 28, produced, written and directed by Anthony Giacchino.
Deer Hunter, directed by Michael Cimino.
Full metal jacket, directed and produced by Stanley Kubrick.
Hearts and Minds, produced by Bert Schneider and Peter Davis, directed by Peter Davis.
Biddle DVD 18
Platoon, produced by Arnold Kopelson, written and directed by Oliver Stone.
The Weather Underground, a documentary by Sam Green and Bill Siegel.
Biddle DVD 20
There are over 15,000 items--from Purple Hearts, to teddy bears, to records by Dionne Warwick--that people leave at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Each item is cataloged and preserved in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection at the Museum and Archaeological Research Storage repository in Lanham in the Washington DC area.
If you go to the University of California, Berkeley there are 225 file cabinets of government documents, press clippings, and private papers at the Indochina Center, International and Area
The John M. Echols Collection is housed in the Carl A. Krock Library at Cornell University.
At Colorado State University at Fort Collins is the Vietnam War Literature Collection, the major resource in the world of imaginative literature of the Vietnam War. There are some four thousand items including fiction, plays, artists' sketches and miscellaneous works. Items are non-circulating and an appointment must be made.
Locally, at LaSalle University is "The Imaginative Representations of the Viet Nam War," a special collection housed at their Connelly Library. It consists of about 9,000 books of fiction and poetry, 600 non-print items, 600 films and videos, published and unpublished manuscripts, shooting scripts, runs of comic books and cartoon art. Scholars and researchers from outside the University are asked to bring identification and a letter of introduction.
The Vietnam Veterans Home Page officially opened on Veteran's Day, November 11, 1994. Its purpose is to "honor Vietnam Veterans, living and dead, who served their country on either side of the conflict." Its mission is "to provide an interactive, on-line forum for Vietnam Veterans and their families and friends to exchange information, stories, poems, songs, art, pictures, and experiences in any publishable form."
Many of the military units that served in Vietnam have their own websites. One of the units that I served with is the 11th Cavalry. These units can usually be found by conducting a web search for "11th cav" or whatever the unit is.
Each type of material I've compiled--historical, oral histories, movies, war memorial, or websites--has its own flavor. Find a genre you are comfortable with, look at the materials on both wars and see if you can discover the similarities and differences.
If you want any further recommendations, email me or stop by my office.