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A Piece of My Heart: The Stories of 26 American Women Who Served in Vietnam
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A Piece of My Heart: The Stories of 26 American Women Who Served in Vietnam

4.2  ·  Rating details ·  242 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
A decade after America pulled out of Vietnam, the seeds of the often heart- wrenching oral history, A Piece of My Heart, were sown when writer and filmmaker Keith Walker met a woman who had been an emergency room nurse in Cu Chi and Da Nang. She and 25 others recount the time they spent "in country" as part of 15,000 American women who volunteered or served as nurses and i ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published February 5th 1997 by Presidio Press (first published 1986)
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Nov 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club-read
Eye opening, horrifying, humbling. Unbelievable what these brave women went through both in Vietnam and when they returned to the U.S. I have so much respect and admiration for them.
Elizabeth Snow-Ketchum
These women are true heroes. Their stories touched me deeply.
Peter Swanson
This is a superb, excruciating book. One of the most significant things I've learned is that the women interviewed—no matter what their job was in Viet Nam—reported experiencing the same sensations as men upon returning to the world: despite the overwhelmingly terrible circumstances in which they had worked and lived, when back in the U.S. they missed the camaraderie, the constant adrenalin flow, and the complete commitment to an important job. Most had symptoms of what is now known as PTSD, and ...more
Feb 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a near contemporary of the women who shared their stories of Vietnam, I found this fascinating reading. In retrospect it is astonishing that the story was never told from this perspective! We were immersed in coverage of the protests and the outrages of the war, yet we were rarely, if ever, reminded that many of the participants were to be admired and were owed some gratitude for their service. These individuals bravely made the most of a situation that they found themselves in, some by clear ...more
Dec 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is powerful. The stories of the women in Vietnam are often overlooked. This book shows you that everyone who went to Vietnam was impacted in some way. I found this book very moving. I will not forget the response of a nurse to the death of another nurse who had been "in country" for a very short time. Reflecting on the death the nurse comments it is unfair for the nurse to die when she hasn't been in Vietnam long enough to see the reality of the experience. The nurse reflecting sees de ...more
Paige Johnson
May 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent collection of interviews of women who served in one form or another in the Vietnam War. It was published only 10yrs after to war had ended officially so you could still see the rawness of the effects of what they went through. It is a tough read and very different from the books of nurses who served in WWII who rarely expressed doubts in what they were doing, including those who had been POWs. It shows the evolution of war, the new acceptance of PTSD, in women, not soldiers, and a t ...more
Nov 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
The bible of women Viet Nam vets is Lynda Van Devanter's "Home Before Morning", the autobiography of an Army nurse who tells her life story before, during and after Viet Nam. It is a book I have read and re-read. But one thing escaped me while reading her book: nurses weren't the only American women in Viet Nam. As "A Piece of My Heart" makes clear, there were intelligence agents, Red Cross staffers, Catholic Relief Services workers, and many others in addition to nurses. It is amazing to read t ...more
Feb 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: done-reading
Amazing stories from 26 women who served in Vietnam, definitely worth a read if you like personal stories from history. It amazes me what these women went through while in Vietnam, most were nurses dealing with ongoing casualties, it amazes me that they were able to still function after getting back to the states. Some of the women wrote about Agent Orange and the effects that it has had on them and their children. Or PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and the fact that these brave women also ...more
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: war-novels, 2011
Walker's collection of interviews from women offers imperative insights into the Vietnam War and its participants, many of whom are forgotten or unrecognized. These stories provide viewpoints that differ from many war novels but that are tremendously important. In addition, the stories these women share allowed me to understand more fully the dynamics of the Vietnam war environment, which improved my understanding of the atmosphere of the times, times that continue for many--if not all--of us. T ...more
Nov 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Maggie by: Ann
This book is composed of interviews of women who spent time in Vietnam during the U. S. occupation in the 1960s and 1970s. Some were nurses, but there were also Red Cross volunteers, WACs, WAVs, Quakers, intelligence personnel, and entertainers. Although there are similarities between the stories, each is also thoroughly unique, and each gives us a little more knowledge about the people, the place, and the time. Most carry a sadness, but the sorrow comes not only from the lives which were lost, ...more
Jan 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Tells the stories of women who served as nurses in Vietnam. Talks unflinchingly about the things they saw and were asked to help with. Yeah, but who was helping THEM? It makes you realize why so many people go into the helping professions -- because it makes everything they do so incredibly important.
Shirley Lauro
Dec 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
An extra ordinary drama, sharing with readers and audiences the real experiences of women who fought and gave their lives in Vietnam. Based on interviews of women who served.

I learned so much about Vietnam War and realize -- all wars are the same, aren't they? Death, destruction, innocent people slaughtered.
Jun 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
So hard to read, but very worth it. Stories of nurses and other women who served in Vietnam. It's powerful to hear the stories of Vietnam but also to hear the changing roles and views of women as they happen.
Sep 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I haven't finished this all the way through, but the subject matter is so heavy, and each section is divided up by individual story so it's easy to get through. The stories of these women are so very different from women's stories from any other armed conflict in US history.
Nicola Olsen
Mar 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
THis is such an intence book. Very graphic too about the war sometimes. I cried many times reading this, and sometimes had to put it down to take a break. However, this was a beautiful, well put together collection of memories. Wonderful and heartbreaking and hopeful all at the same time.
Dec 06, 2009 added it
Anne Auger
Richard Taylor
Enlightening vignettes of American Women who served in Vietnam. Used for research for a novel under development. Good if you want to empathize with overlooked heroines.
May 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: haveread
Just beautiful and touching. I learned so much.
Jun 04, 2010 rated it liked it
Gave me a new respect for the women who served in various capacities during Vietnam.
May 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
One of the few books about the female experience in the Vietnam will cry your eyes out! There was a documentary made from the book!
Aug 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Heartbreaking stories. While I understand our desire to serve our country, we need to find other outlets than war.
Nov 18, 2009 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Putting this book back on the shelf for awhile as I have not been able to get into it.
rated it really liked it
Jan 02, 2015
Edina Csongor
rated it it was ok
Jul 06, 2018
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Jun 23, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Sep 28, 2009
Gil Burket
rated it it was amazing
Nov 27, 2014
Robert Enzenauer
rated it it was amazing
Aug 07, 2017
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Aug 30, 2008
rated it it was amazing
Mar 27, 2016
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