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The Vietnam Reader: The Definitive Collection of Fiction and Nonfiction on the War
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The Vietnam Reader: The Definitive Collection of Fiction and Nonfiction on the War

4.14  ·  Rating Details  ·  159 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
"The Vietnam Reader" is a selection of the finest and best-known art from the American war in Vietnam, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, film, still photos, and popular song lyrics. All the strongest work is here, from mainstream bestsellers to radical poetry, from Tim O'Brien to Marvin Gaye. Also included are incisive reader's questions--useful for educators a ...more
Paperback, 724 pages
Published October 20th 1998 by Anchor Books
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Jun 11, 2011 Jimmy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: war
About as good a collection and summary as there could be of the literature up until that point in time of the Vietnam War. I'd be a little careful of using this book in a high school class on the literature of the Vietnam War. The language and the violence could be an issue. There is also the question brought up in the book whether or not there is such a thing as truthfully telling what happens in war. I like how the editor even acknowledged that people lie about their war experiences, sort of l ...more
Jun 11, 2014 Riley rated it liked it
Though these stories span generations and viewpoints, I was struck by how similar their themes were. These selections are dominated by coming-of-age stories -- what editor Stewart O'Nan described using the fancier term of bildungsroman, or German learning-novel.

I found these selections to be powerful and overwhelming dark, which isn't surprising considering the heartbreak and savagery of the Vietnam War. It also jumped out to me how little the Vietnamese play a role in American accounts of the w
Jul 04, 2015 Ruedebac rated it it was amazing
How can one call this a great book, which it is, without feeling the pain of a very difficult era in American history? In a nutshell, war is the ultimate human failure and a failed war without rationale is beyond failure.
Mar 11, 2009 Mike rated it really liked it
I read this when it came out, and it pointed me toward buying and reading several works I probably wouldn't have otherwise. Of course, this work contains fiction and nonfiction, plus movie reviews, and song lyrics.

It is a noble effort indeed to try and waken the consciousness of some readers who would otherwise be ignorant of the important works herein, and/or the Vietnam war era. If O'Nan's book helps the reading public to pick up other books on Vietnam, then he has succeeded admirably.

The mo
May 05, 2013 Elaine rated it it was amazing
Excellent anthology of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and even songs from the Vietnam War. Editor Stewart O'Nan made a great selection from the vast material that is out there. Though I wouldn't agree with some of his selections (did he really need to include the book that was the basis for U.S. government-touted movie The Green Berets?), the breadth and diversity of his choices give a good sense of the war from the American soldiers' point of view. Especially valuable are the poetry of Yusef Kuma ...more
Mike Harper
Dec 05, 2013 Mike Harper rated it really liked it
If you want to know about Vietnam, and don't have the patience for Karnow's "Vietnam: a History," this is the place to start. The selections include excerpts from novels, short stories, newspaper reports, lyrics and poems.
I read this for the first time when preparing to teach a seminar about the Vietnam conflict, and I'm rereading it now to prepare for another class.
My only quibble is that the book doesn't contain much of anything about the French war. I don't think the American war makes much
Sep 01, 2007 Griggette rated it it was amazing
A compilation of clips from works treating the Vietnam War, including letters, poetry, oral histories, works of fiction, short stories, etc. This gives a well-rounded look at writing that treats a very controversial period in US history. From government-hired journalists to soldiers on the frontline, to disabled vets living out the rest of their lives in government hospitals, this anthology provides a range of perspectives. Very gruesome. Very essential to understanding the Vietnam experience.
Ayne Ray
Sep 24, 2009 Ayne Ray rated it really liked it
Impressive in both depth and breadth of scope, this collection includes works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, film, still photos, and popular song lyrics in its balanced examination of the war from a variety of viewpoints. Essential reading for those interested in the history and impact of the Vietnam war.
Edwin van Amstel
Oct 04, 2013 Edwin van Amstel rated it it was amazing
Biedt een duiding van alles wat verschenen is over de Vietnamoorlog op het gebied van proza, poëzie, songteksten, films. Daarom moeilijk te overschatten. Als je jezelf een beeld wilt vormen van de (verandering van de) receptie van de Vietnamoorlog in de VS, is dit het boek dat je wilt lezen.
Mar 18, 2008 Carolyn rated it really liked it
This is a fantastic anthology of fiction, poems, and stories of the Vietnam War. There are many authors in this book; one of them is Tim O'Brien who is a renowned Vietnam War author. This is simply a fantastic look at the Vietnam War through a vet's eyes.
Jul 17, 2007 Kimberly rated it really liked it
If I were a teacher putting together a unit on the Vietnam War, I would snatch up a copy of this immediately. Poems, films, essays, bits of novels and memoirs, photographs, song lyrics--all thematically organized and ready for classroom use.
Dec 17, 2008 Summer rated it really liked it
I have always loved books about the Vietnam War... this was the book used in one of my classes in college and I have picked it up again trying to finish all of the stories I did not get a chance to read in the class.
Jul 30, 2008 Lindsey is currently reading it
Not for the faint at heart. Cruelly honest, with wrenching accounts, both fictional and otherwise. I had to stop reading at several points because it was overwhelming. And I've read a lot of Vietnam literature.
Elizabeth Botticelli
Dec 22, 2013 Elizabeth Botticelli rated it it was amazing
Most honest pieces of writing from this time in history. Everyone should read this.
Aug 02, 2011 Debra marked it as to-read
Stephen King friend and recommended author.
Jun 18, 2015 Mitchell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vietnam-war
Excellent collection of writing.
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Stewart O'Nan is the author of eleven novels, including Snow Angels and A Prayer for the Dying, a story collection, and two works of nonfiction. His previous novel, Last Night at the Lobster, was a national bestseller, was nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was named one of the New York Public Library Books to Remember. Additionally, Granta named him one of the 20 Best Young Ameri ...more
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