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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

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  188 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 and ...more
ebook, 736 pages
Published March 23rd 2011 by Anchor (first published October 20th 1998)
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Jun 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war-vietnam
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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mike Harper
Dec 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ayne Ray
Dec 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Jul 16, 2008 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Edwin van Amstel
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.
Elizabeth Botticelli
Most honest pieces of writing from this time in history. Everyone should read this.
Aug 02, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Stephen King friend and recommended author.
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
More about Stewart O'Nan...