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They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace Vietnam and America October 1967

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  1,045 ratings  ·  106 reviews
Here is the epic story of Vietnam and the sixties told through the events of a few tumultuous days in October 1967. With meticulous and captivating detail, "They Marched Into Sunlight" brings that catastrophic time back to life while examining questions about the meaning of dissent and the official manipulation of truth, issues that are as relevant today as they were decad ...more
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Published October 1st 2003 by Simon & Schuster Audio (first published September 23rd 2003)
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Gary Grubb
This is a book well worth reading. It's a funny thing, you know. That fact that I graduated from high school in 1965, just in time for the escalation of the Vietnam "war" "police action" "conflict". We were hauled off by the busloads to the nearest military base for our draft physicals within months of walking down the aisle in our caps and gowns. I joined the Navy on the east coast.

After completion of boot-camp we each had the honor of filling out our "dream-sheets". This is where we got to wr
Dec 16, 2007 sdw rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history buffs, peaceniks
The concept behind this book is smart. Maraniss examines the connections between two seemingly distant events that occur nearly simultaneously: the crushing ambush of the Black Lions squadron in Vietnam on October 17th, 1967, and the protests of Dow Chemical’s recruitment interviews on the campus of University of Wisconsin, Madison on October 18th, 1967. Because the book focuses on a two day period with a set group of actors, the author provides a range of individual stories, provoking the diver ...more
Bryan Alexander
They Marched Into Sunlight is a fascinating, rich, and moving work of history.

The conceit is unusual. Maraniss focuses on two events from the 1960s which occurred at about the same time. On October 17, 1967, Viet Cong troops ambushed a United States force. On October 18th a group of University of Wisconsin students protested Dow Chemical recruiters, and were attacked by Madison police (one link). They Marched Into Sunlight explores both of these events in painstaking, sensitive detail, then slow
One of the best non-fiction books I've ever read. At first I wasn't going to read another Vietnam book; I figured I had already exhausted the genre. But Maraniss' portrayal of two simulataneous events - a deadly ambush in the jungles of Vietnam and a student protest at the University of Wisconsin that turns bloody - covers the war in a more complete fashion than anything I've ever read. Though this is non-fiction, it reads like a novel. Knowing what lonely death those kids were forced to face in ...more
Mike Kershaw
I used this book as the basis for an LPD we hosted at Fort Drum prior to deploying to Iraq in 2006. I paired this with an accompanying PBS Frontline Special, "Two Days in October" and was able to involve the surviving company commander who is a central figure in the book. It is the story of a battalion (-) of the Big Red One that gets overrun during heavy fighting with heavy casualties, losing the battalion commander/sergeant major and brigade S3 killed in action in some heavy fighting. It contr ...more

The book's only failing is an occasional moment of absurdity when the reader trips up on Maraniss's biggest challenge, forced on him by the requirements of narrative symmetry: trying to make the lives of self-involved 19-year olds in Madison seem equally dramatic and momentous as the life-and-death events the other 19-year olds are enduring in Vietnam.

That said, the author is scrupulously fair and even-handed and humane about all of his characters, and it reflects well on him; we n
I picked up this book because I thought it was a big picture strategy examination of U.S. political-military performance in Vietnam. It is, however, 2 books--one on the battle of Ong Thanh, and one on the simultaneous protests against Dow Chemical recruiting on campus at the University of Wisconsin. As a career military officer I was looking forward to the former narrative; as a graduate of a midwestern university, I found myself nodding a lot at the latter, as well. I liked the way Maraniss set ...more
Twin tales of October 1967 in Vietnam and Madison, WI. Just started it and it is good.
The year 1967 was a pivotal year in the history of the United States. The author Maraniss take the reader on an unforgettable journey as he weaves us through 3 very different worlds of time: The death and heroism of the Vietnam soldiers that fought in Southeast Asia, the anger and anxiety of the anti-war protesters and students in the United States and the confusion and unclear behavior of the motives of the officials in Washington.

The book explores a renowned battalion of the First Infantry Div
I'm FINALLY finished with this book! That's my first reaction.

Now, on to the real review. I wanted to read this because of the Wisconsin connection and wanting to know more specifics about the Vietnam War. This is heavy reading, intertwining the events and people involved in a particular battle on October 17, 1967 in Vietnam and the people and events surrounding a protest against Dow at the UW the same time. These two events weren't necessarily connected, but as the story unravels you find the i
Mark Johnson
Fifty years later, America has not come to terms with Vietnam. Like the Marcomannic wars of the Roman Empire under Marcus Aurelius, Vietnam was the first chastening experience for a people and nation which had come to view itself as invincible. This book focuses on a single month - October of 1967 - which may well have marked the moment when the ultimate outcome became inevitable. The terrible TET offensive is three months away; the American have lost 15000 soldier's lives; the antiwar movement ...more
In light of the “holiday” tomorrow, finishing this book was a timely, albiet unplanned, coincidence. Rather than a discussion of this particular book— one of many impressive narratives recounting components of the Vietnam War— I think a broader statement about war itself feels more appropriate for the occasion.

This Memorial Day, as is the case every year, I am reminded of the somber quote from Jeannette Rankin: “You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.” This, I think, is the ult
"They Marched Into Sunlight," is a soulful work of non-fiction. Author David Maranis has given us a few October days in the horrible history of the Vietnam era that define the entire period. He writes with a strong sense of mission which is to chronicle the grief and glory of men at war as well as the confusion and altruism of a sector of the home-front that opposed it.
Impeccably researched from primary sources, "...letters...journal entries...archival documents, and interviews...," Mr. Maraniss
63. They Marched into Sunshine, by David Marannis. 535 pages. This is an awesome book that was recommended to me by all around genius and GT Coordinator for the Kimberly Area School District, Ulli Balistreri. The story is set in 1967 or so, when the anti-war protests were going on at the UW- Madison and other campuses around America. The draft was in full swing; student were burning their draft cards, and I was a Freshman at Dodgeville High School. The story juxtaposes between students at the ca ...more
Am I about to abandon YET ANOTHER book? It seems I am doing so much more than finishing books these days. What's my deal?? I'm only on page 40 thus far--so I'll definitely give it a few more evenings. Yet... I think I am perhaps not in the right life "mode" these days for David Maraniss' style. Let me explain. I think his work is fascinating. This book (and the one on Obama, also) is obviously meticulously researched. The amount of detail draws the reader into the book, and helps them truly unde ...more
Andrew Zapf
An excellent book that has been on my shelf for too many years. Excellently written, I was most impressed by the personal backgrounds that affected the actions of the soldiers, anti-war protestors, and faculty and administrators of the University of Wisconsin. It can be easily forgotten that the Vietnam generation lived immediately underneath the shadow of World War II and the "never again" mentality toward atrocities. As a soldier, I was drawn to this book for the leadership lessons of the 2-28 ...more
They Marched Into Sunlight chronicles the simultaneously-occurring events in Vietnam, Washington D.C., and Madison, WI during October 1967. As someone who grew up in Madison, I found the Madison portions of the book to be riveting. Maraniss has pulled details from letters and interviews that capture the emotional swells caused by the campus riots and their aftermath. He gives balanced coverage of the student rioters, administrative officials, and the police, showing the vulnerability of the indi ...more
John Grant
I gave the book only three
stars. Despite the author having a great way with words, it felt like he bit off more than he could chew with this story. It covers a short period during the Vietnam War and does so from three different perspectives; from the grunts (and brass) in the field, from one of the first major campus protests against the war, and from the administrations point of view. The first was excellent and moving. But I found all the minutiae of the other two angles became very tedious.
This book was a big disappointment. I read it after consuming several tour-de-force historical accounts of the wars in Vietnam, including the new Pulitzer Prize-winning 'Embers of War,' which was superb. So this book, which reads more like a novel about the lives of individuals transformed by the war, fell short. I learned very little of what I am interested in.

However, you may find Maraniss's 'They Marched Into Sunlight' enjoyable. He recounts the events of a couple days in 1967: the ambush of
This is a brilliant book and I am glad I finished it. I am frustrated by the extra details and personal accounts that added so much time and effort on the part of the reader. Goodreads calls it a "seamless narrative", but I was often lost in the stitches...why did we need to learn that Betty Menacher had a summer job in Door County? Just so we could hear her father's humorous quote that "Madison is a cesspool of queers."? On the Madison front, I thought that the stories of Chancellor Sewell, Pau ...more
John Kaufmann
Excellent portrayal of three different groups during the Vietnam War - the men who fought it, protesters back home, and the politicians waging the war. It tells the story from the perspective of several individuals who Maraniss follows.
In a uniquely balanced account of a controversial war, Maraniss juxtaposes the political turmoil of the Sixties with the horror of the military action in Vietnam, handling both with cool disinterest and sympathetic respect. This balance between viewpoints is the book's greatest strength, and saves it from being just another history of the period; it creates a tension and conflict that beautifully mirrors the subject . Maraniss doesn't quite manage to maintain the balance though, falling squarely ...more
David Bales
David Maraniss explores simultaneous events that occurred during October, 1967, one in Vietnam, where a horrendous ambush of an American battalion by the Viet Cong scars the survivors forever, and the other of demonstrations at the University of Wisconsin against the Dow Chemical Company. He interviewed over 100 people from Vietnam veterans to former students and went to Vietnam to cover the VC angle. An impressive work. One horrible weekend in the scope of America's longest war, (or is it? How ...more
Marion Zatz
I read this book years ago and have recommended it to many. It's a fascinating account of what happened during the Vietnam War both in Vietnam and at home.
This book is very dense and took me a long time to read, but it was worth it. It paints a broad picture of events that took place at the same time in different parts of the world: an Army operation in Vietnam and peace protest back home in America. I really liked the way he brought in many different people and profiled them and how the events of that time affected them both then and now. This book was fascinating in the way that it really brought together what seemed to be two widely different w ...more
Excellent. I really liked this book. This is the second book I read by Maraniss. The other book was When Pride Still Mattered which is about Vince Lombardi.

Since I have been working in Madison part time, I have been getting aquainted with some of the sites where the Dow demonstrations took place. I was in high school when this happened and was off to college shortly after this period October 1967 at UW Whitewater. The contract of what was happening and Madison and what was taking place in Vietna
I wish I had put this book as my priority read. It took me around 2.5 months to finish this book which took away from the apx 2 week 1967 narrative. The second 1/2 of the book really picked up pace and gave me more of an incentive to read. I do not feel like I learned a lot about the technical politics of 1967, rather I felt like I was granted an intimate and personal perspective of what my feelings and frustrations could have been like if I had lived in that era. Kudos to David Maraniss for his ...more
I love this book. I assign it to my undergrads :)
Spike Pedersen
Lots of Nam books out there but this one is unique. David Maraniss took a day in 1967 and told the story of two worlds going on at the same time. During a firefight in the jungle, at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, protests are budding, and buildings are being blown up killing a researcher. The very protests that exist to stop the killing. The author plays out how wanting to stop the killing, begats killing. And a world away, death and terror plays out for kids who played ball and climbe ...more
For me, this was a powerful story. It is non-fiction and is set in 1967. Maraniss writes about what is occurring in Vietnam in 1967 while writing also about the anti-war movement back in America at the same time. As we all know, the lives that were lost in Vietnam were mostly very young men, many of whom came from lower socio-economic circumstances and could not enter college for various reasons. Having visited Vietnam in 2011, I found the story fascinating. Somehow, we just don't learn from our ...more
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David Maraniss is an associate editor at The Washington Post and the author of four critically acclaimed and bestselling books, When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi, First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton, They Marched Into Sunlight War and Peace, Vietnam and America October 1967, and Clemente The Passion and Grace of Baseballs Last Hero. He is also the author of The Clinto ...more
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