Vietnam in Literature, History & Film. discussion

Books On Vietnam

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Books Ring Mah Bell A few of you posted some for me...

Nam, by Mark Baker
365 Days, by Ronald J.Glasser
Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans, by Terry Wallace
A War of Nerves, by Ben Shephard (not just about Vietnam)
Long Time Passing, by Myra macPherson and
Home Before Morning: The Story of an Army Nurse in Vietnam, by Lynda Van Devanter
Nam-A-Rama by Phillip Jennings
Everything we Had-Al Santoli-An Oral History of Vietnam
Names of The Dead-Stewart O’ Nan
The Things They Carried-Tim O’ Brien
If I Die in Combat Zone- Tim O’ Brien
Dispatches-Michael Herr
Going after Cacchiatto-Philip Caputo
A Rumour of War-Philip Caputo
Reporting Vietnam Vol I, Vol II- Library of America
Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans, by Terry Wallace
Vietnam: A History- Stanley Karnow

thought I'd start a little something here...

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

One to Count Cadence by James Crumley
The Quiet American by Graham Greene
Paco's Story by Larry Heineman
Close Quarters by Larry Heineman
The 13th Valley by John del Vecchio
Sympathy for the Devil by Kent Anderson
A Good Scent from A Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler
America's Longest War by George Herring
They Marched Into Sunlight by David Maraniss

Hey, Donald: Did you say you read Jim Webb's Vietnam novel? And did you like it?

Books Ring Mah Bell Maybe we should have a fiction and non-fiction books thing...

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Okay, I ordered the Webb book from Amazon. Gee I hope he's our next Vice President.

message 5: by Noran (last edited Jun 13, 2008 09:46AM) (new)

Noran Miss Pumkin Home Before Morning: The Story of an Army Nurse in Vietnam
A World of Hurt: Between Innocence & Arrogance in Vietnam
Valiant Women of the Vietnam War
Tears on My Pillow: Australian Nurses in Vietnam
Nurses in Vietnam: The Forgotten Veterans
Women at War: The Story of Fifty Military Nurses Who Served in Vietnam (Studies in Health, Illness, and Caregiving)
Station Hospital Saigon: A Navy Nurse in Vietnam, 1963-1964
American Daughter Gone to War: On the Front Lines With an Army Nurse in Vietnam
Fighting Strength: Memoirs of a Combat Nurse in Vietnam

this are the main nuring books from this war--when you go the alington national --there a center for nurses and the bookstore was amazing--i filled a notebook with titles i could only hope to read someday. i have a couple of these. it is hard for me--i personally know a family friend that seved and suffered there.

erif, did you see webb in jon stewert? i was not inpressed! i was wonderinf if the forum would cover TV as well--china beach?

message 6: by Noran (new)

Noran Miss Pumkin no i have not, i will have to find it. i read nursing books from all wars, so i cannot afford to buy them all the time. thanks for bringing it to my attention!

message 7: by Noran (new)

Noran Miss Pumkin

this a link i found when i searched for medical books --my uncle, a family doctor was drafted for the war. it is law you have to have enough medical staff to care for your people, before you for into war/declare war--i am not sure on the fine print. that is why our people are not getting the care they need, there is not the medical support required for what we are doing now.
well, but to history, my uncle served in MASH units, but also went on hueys into the fields for pick-ups. he was awarded by the us and vietnam for his efforts. he was 100 hours from his pilot's permit on the huey, when he was sent home.
this link list few books by doctors and medics, and some by nurses i did not list prior. i am just surprised there are not more books done by doctors out there.

message 8: by Amanda (new)

Amanda I'll try not to repeat anything that's already been posted.

-Dirty Work by Larry Brown (Fiction) = One of the best books I've ever read. Period. It explores how two Vietnam veterans, one black and one white (Braiden and Walter, respectively), end up in a VA hospital two decades after the war. Braiden is a paraplegic and Walter's face has been horribly disfigured. It really explores what a toll the war took on those who sacrificed so much.
-Dear America (Non-Fiction) = Very moving compilation of letters written home throughout the war by the soldiers who served. The book is set up so that each chapter explores the stages a soldier goes through during his tour of duty. It's especially moving as you don't find out until the end of the letter whether or not the soldier who wrote it survived the war. Also excellent is the DVD documentary that is a companion to the book.
-Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora by Andrew Lam (Non-Fiction) = Lam is the son of a high ranking South Vietnamese officer who fled to America with his family in the aftermath of the war. Lam struggles with issues of identity and with the legacy of the war.
-From Both Sides Now: The Poetry of the Vietnam War and its Aftermath = Excellent collection of poetry written by those who served, the families they left behind, and those who watched the war unfold on television and in the news.
-Lily's Ghost by Cheryl Drake Harris (Fiction) = Notable because it's one of the few books I've read that explores how PTSD affects a woman who served in Vietnam, and how her husband uses her diagnosis in a bitter custody battle for her young son.
-In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O'Brien (fiction) = Not my favorite O'Brien work, but nonetheless fascinating as he continues to play with issues of what is reality in the horrors of war. A hopeful U.S. Senator's bid for Congress is derailed after reports that he participated in the My Lai massacre. He and his wife retreat to a cabin to escape the media frenzy and, the next morning, his wife is gone. The issue at the heart of the novel is an exploration of whether she left him or whether he murdered her.
-1968 by Joe Haldeman = One of my favorites. Follows Spider, a soldier returning home and trying to fit into society, who is haunted by a particularly traumatic experience during the war during one of the most traumatic years in American history. As his life goes on, the lines between reality and imagination blur, and the novel takes on a slight sci-fi twist.

Other books:
-for Rouenna by Sigrid Nunez
-The Fearless Man by Donald Pfarrer
-Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
-Life Without Water by Nancy Peacock

message 9: by Jason (new)

Jason | 3 comments Most of my picks are here, and a good many I need to explore. One add:

Neil Sheehan's A Bright, Shining Lie

message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes, Amanda: DIRTY WORK. I'd forgotten all about that one, and I'm a huge Larry Brown fan. If you want, go read my review of JOE; it tells all about how I met Larry and got drunk with him one night in his hometown.

message 11: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Koeeoaddi, if you're interested in books about the nurses and medical personnel who served, you might also enjoy for Rouenna. It's indirectly about the war in that it is set up around the fictional account of a writer who is contacted by a former neighbor, Rouenna, who served as a nurse in Vietnam. Rouenna wants to write a memoir about her experiences in Vietnam and wants help in doing so. The writer (who, I believe, is unnamed) refuses Rouenna request and, it's not until after Rouenna's death (this is all book jacket stuff here, no spoilers) begins to examine Rouenna's life. The novel seems to be as much about the writer, who represents that portion of society whose lives weren't directly impacted by the war, but it is interwoven with chapters about Rouenna's war experience.

Erik, isn't Dirty Work an amazing novel? I remember reading it over the course of a day or two and just being overwhelmed by Larry Brown. It was the first book I had ever read by him. A few weeks later, he died and I knew this was the loss of a major talent. Joe is on my (never-ending!) list of books to read. I've also read his The Rabbit Factory, and I look forward to A Miracle of Catfish.

This list of books is wonderful--I've already added Koko, Buffalo Afternoon, and Sympathy for the Devil to my list!

message 12: by Madeleine (new)

Madeleine | 1 comments I just finished Tree of Smoke,by Denis Johnson. It was pretty long and a little hard to get through at points but offered an interesting perspective of the war that did not focus on the fighting. Similar to The Quiet American.

Jennifer (formerly Eccentric Muse) | 1 comments Hello everyone. I don't see that anyone has posted Meditations In Green by Stephen Wright.

No anti-war, Vietnam, or 60s social/political history buff's bookshelf is complete without it, imho.

message 14: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 22 comments "Vietnam; An Anal History" by the Left.

message 15: by GracieKat (new)

GracieKat | 1 comments Noran wrote: "Home Before Morning: The Story of an Army Nurse in Vietnam
A World of Hurt: Between Innocence & Arrogance in Vietnam
Valiant Women of the Vietnam War
Tears on My Pillow: Australian Nurses in Vi..."

Erik wrote: "Okay, I ordered the Webb book from Amazon. Gee I hope he's our next Vice President."

Noran, thank you for this list. I have been looking for books on the subject of women in the Vietnam War for research on a book I plan on attempting. In my area these books are hard to come by. The only two that I could find that were solely about women were:

A Piece of My Heart: The Stories of 26 American Women Who Served in the Vietnam War- edited by Keith Walker
Home Before Morning, which I see listed here.

Again, thank you very much.

message 16: by Ron (last edited Sep 11, 2010 10:54AM) (new)

Ron Troyer (rontroyer) | 1 comments Alone in Vietnam, Robert B Boyd Jr - a personal memoir of his combat experience in 1968 - 69. Boyd died in 2009 but left us these stories. Simply written and compelling narrative.

message 17: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 60 comments We need to mention one of the big books of this year: Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes. It is a work of fiction that seems so real. It is sure to be made into a movie.

message 18: by John (new)

John Podlaski (pdogg) | 4 comments Of course, I have to plug my own Vietnam book: Cherries - A Vietnam War Novel. The book is written from the perspective of newly arrived teenage infantry soldiers dubbed Cherries by their peers. They must learn the ropes quickly and become men virtually overnight. During this tour of duty, they will transition from scared, naive and awed Cherries into battle hardened veterans - providing they survive.

Other notable new books:

Missions of Fire and Mercy by William E. Peterson
The second Tour by Terry P. Rizzuti
Cleared to Land by Jeffrey K. Fozard
Vietnam No Regrets by J. Richard Watkins
The Shake 'n Bake Sergeant by Jerry S. Horton
Thunder in the Night by Raymond S. Kopp
Booby Trap Boys by David Beakey

All are excellent recently published novels.

message 19: by Bernie (new)

Bernie Weisz (bernie2260) | 5 comments Books Ring My Bell wrote: "A few of you posted some for me...

Nam, by Mark Baker
365 Days, by Ronald J.Glasser
Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans, by Terry Wallace
A War of Nerves, by Ben S..."

See all of my reviews at: Thanks! Bernie Weisz

message 20: by Bernie (new)

Bernie Weisz (bernie2260) | 5 comments See all of my reviews of books on the Vietnam War!
Thnaks! Bernie Weisz

message 21: by Kim (last edited Nov 20, 2010 04:14PM) (new)

Kim Fay (literateinla) | 1 comments This year my book "Communion: A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam" was published. Throughout it discusses the war's effects on culinary traditions. The legacy of the war contributed greatly to a time of food shortage (and even famine) as well as the near loss of food memory. In addition, one important aspect of writing this book was research. I have just created an Amazon list of the books I used for my research. Some are essential to any Vietnam War book list (most notably Shadows & Wind and Paradise of the Blind). The list can be found at this link:

message 22: by R.W. (last edited Apr 23, 2011 02:29PM) (new)

R.W. Holmen (obie) | 7 comments Forty years ago while showing my Super 8 movies from Vietnam to college buddies, someone said, "You ought to write a book." I'm finally taking that advice by writing and publishing a series of short stories in eBook format. The series is entitled "LRRP Rangers Vietnam", and the first three installments have been published.

I'm offering free downloads for any members of this group willing to read and review in appropriate locations such as Goodreads, Amazon, etc. Send me an email, and I'll reply with instructions for complimentary download in any eBook format.
Eleven Bravo
Here Comes Charlie
Cat Quiet

message 23: by Bernie (new)

Bernie Weisz (bernie2260) | 5 comments Do you have this in a hard copy? When I read a book, I carefully underline, write notes, etc. I know that it is more cost effective to put it in "E Book" format, but I still perfer the old fashioned hard copy way! It makes it easier to write my reviews using my method! Regards, Bernie Weisz

message 24: by R.W. (new)

R.W. Holmen (obie) | 7 comments Bernie wrote: "Do you have this in a hard copy? When I read a book, I carefully underline, write notes, etc. I know that it is more cost effective to put it in "E Book" format, but I still perfer the old fashion..."

Not at this time. Later, when all installments are complete, I hope to put them together in hard copy.

message 25: by Bernie (new)

Bernie Weisz (bernie2260) | 5 comments Contact me when you do....and I'll write a review for you that will make your book irresible to readers!!!!!

message 26: by Bernie (new)

Bernie Weisz (bernie2260) | 5 comments By the way, I deal with quite a few Vietnam Vets, and being age 55 and up, 95% do not use E-Books. I really believe that to be successful, a book must be distributed first in hard copy, and then on E-book format. Your clientele is going to be the "Vietnam Generation," of which I am part of. Good luck!!!!!

message 27: by Kevin (new)

Kevin | 1 comments RW wrote: "Forty years ago while showing my Super 8 movies from Vietnam to college buddies, someone said, "You ought to write a book." I'm finally taking that advice by writing and publishing a series of sho..."

Would love too. Please send the information. Have interviewed a number of vets and would love to have another source.

message 28: by R.W. (last edited May 23, 2011 06:47AM) (new)

R.W. Holmen (obie) | 7 comments Fourth & Fifth eBooks published--Chasing After Wind & Elijah Fire. Here's the current list:

Eleven Bravo
Here Comes Charlie
Cat Quiet
Chasing After Wind
Elijah Fire

message 29: by Harry (last edited Jul 15, 2011 07:55PM) (new)

Harry (harryfair3) | 2 comments Vietnam is a place - here is a good guidebook:

Lonely Planet Vietnam by Robert Storey, Daniel Robinson

Here are a few books I did not see listed above.

The Short Timers by Gustav Hasford

Vietnam Perkasie by W.D. Ehrhart

One Very Hot Day by David Halberstam

A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo

Achilles In Vietnam by Jonathan Shay

message 30: by Jenna (last edited Jan 06, 2012 08:40PM) (new)

Jenna (jennale) My recently published book of poems, Six Rivers, confronts issues faced by the Vietnamese diaspora: specifically, the issues of identity that weigh on Vietnam War refugees and their American-born children, among other subject matter.

Since I read mostly poetry, I'll list a few other books of poetry by Vietnamese or Vietnamese-American authors that I've either read or heard about:

* Ho Xuan Huong, Spring Essence (a collection of poems by a great 18th-19th century Vietnamese woman poet, translated by bilingual American poet John Balaban)

* Bao Phi, Song I Sing (just published this year)

* Linh Dinh, Blood and Soap (also just published this year)

* Mong-Lan, Why Is the Edge Always Windy?

message 31: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 60 comments Thanks for the info, Jenna.

message 32: by Robert (new)

Robert Thompson (goodreadscomBob_Thompson) | 4 comments Greetings!

"What were you doing when you were nineteen? Ride along on this breath stopping journey of the heart, mind and soul of a 19 year old Marine to 1969 Vietnam. It's a full ride."

(An excerpt) from my book (A true story):
"Everything Happened in Vietnam: The Year of the Rat" by Robert Peter Thompson

"Sleep had been hard to come by for the last couple of weeks and the numbing exhaustion weighed against the flood of tension unleashed by recent events.

Especially during the darkest hours. The black time. When the sudden pop of an illumination flare jolts your sinking consciousness back into a frenzied focus. Treading frantically on the surface of a malevolent sea of dancing light and shadows. Trying in vain to separate the real from the imagined amidst the macabre interplay of swinging parachute flare and the resulting movement of objects stationary and not so stationary, as the sputtering flare of light slowly settles and is swallowed by its dark master.

None of us who remained would ever be the same. Nor of course would those who had gone."

Everything Happened In Vietnam The Year Of The Rat by Robert Peter Thompson

Everything Happened In Vietnam: The Year Of The Rat

Here is a review form a female reader (this book is not just for the guys)

5.0 out of 5 stars A transformational read, December 7, 2011

By K. Autumn – This review is from: Everything Happened In Vietnam: The Year of the Rat (Paperback)

"This story will grab hold of you and not let go. A uniquely powerful departure from the genre of War literature. Funny, brutal, insightful, intimate...the narrative moves in the cadence of memories told as stories over a camp-fire. Thompson transports you into the mind-space of his 19 year-old self, poignantly reminding us that teenagers, boys even, fought this war, grew up there, grew old there, changed forever there."

Another review from a Veteran's Hospital Nurse:

By Janelle (Chicago, IL) - This review is from: Everything Happened In Vietnam: The Year of the Rat (Kindle Edition)

"Hello, I work at the Chicago Hines VA and I bought your book from our canteen. I thought it was beautifully written and almost made me feel like I was right there with you (at least while I was reading it). I am in the nursing field and I personally think it would be highly beneficial if more VA employees read your book. We take care of guys (and some girls) just like you every day in our hospital and yet rarely do we actually understand, or even try to understand what it really meant for you to be serving our country and the unique but similarly horrible experiences each of you dealt with. I am actually loaning the book to my co-workers so that they too can hopefully have a better understanding of the vets they take care of. Thank you for your book, and for your service!"

Available in both Kindle & Print thru many different online venues.

Just Google "everything happened in vietnam" or if you are an Amazon shopper search their site.

Forgive me if this is a clumsy post. I created an account on Goodreads some time ago but I really don't know how best to use it. Any tips would be appreciated.

Thanks to all,

Robert Peter Thompson (aka Bob T.)

message 33: by Flipreads (new)

Flipreads | 1 comments We also have this nonfiction eBook, The Forgotten Warriors: Missions of Mercy, in which a Vietnam Vet recounts his experience with the war and how he managed to cope with PTSD.

message 34: by John (last edited Nov 17, 2012 02:01PM) (new)

John Podlaski (pdogg) | 4 comments "When soldiers go to war, they return home "different". Ever wonder why? Cherries is a story about the rite of passage that all young soldiers undertake when experiencing war for the first time. Although the setting for Cherries is Vietnam, the author’s experiences, emotions, and tragedies are not only confined to that war – they are repeated in every conflict. Readers of my novel have commented that Cherries should be read by students, siblings of those who have served, and by the parents of those soldiers serving today. After finishing Cherries, they’ll have a better understanding of why those who go away to war come home “changed”. All veterans will relate to Cherries – either in part or in whole! Cherries - A Vietnam War Novel

Cherries - A Vietnam War Novel by John Podlaski

message 35: by David (last edited May 25, 2012 08:58AM) (new)

David Smith (DaveSmith) | 3 comments The Red of Flowing Blood I See by Mary Cote. A wonderful book about the era who's main character runs to Canada to evade the draft. Not a typical draft dodger this book tackles both the moral and spiritual conflict of the times.

A wonderfully written book-true to the era both in fact as well as capturing the social and political turmoil of folks in Canada as well of course the U.S.A.

Trust this reader who was completely surprised by where this book was going and how it got to its final destination.

That means it aint what this old warrior expected. Well worth the read for those not yet born or in fact for those like myself that lived through it.

message 36: by Lindig (new)

Lindig I don't see one of my favorite Vietnam books:

A Reckoning for Kings

message 37: by David (last edited Aug 13, 2012 04:24PM) (new)

David Smith (DaveSmith) | 3 comments BOOTS: An Unvarnished Memoir of Vietnam author Stephen L Park-if you were there or not-this is definately a book worth the read-

Share on google_plusone8 On July 19th, 1966, I received my invitation from Uncle Sam. In January, 1967, at the age of twenty, I left my home in Tennessee, and was on my way to Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia. I knew I was destined to join the party in Vietnam. I had been married for five days before I jumped on the bus and became US government property. I was about to embark on a walking tour through the jungles and muck of southern Asia. This book is about those jungles, that muck and the realities of what had been pitched as a brave and glamorous life of a soldier in combat. There is nothing glamorous in humping the brush, a backpack containing your whole life on your back, an M-16 to keep you warm at night. Red ants, trip wires, flooded rice paddies, leeches and being soaked for a year in either sweat or monsoons aren’t what they show on the movies, and the John Waynes were to be avoided; those guys were part of the ten-percent factor. Among the casualties of war are the truth and common sense. A glamorous life? No, not at all. It was a grunt's life... and this grunt had only one goal in mind – to do his tour and get home to his bride. There were times where it seemed even that was an unachievable goal.

message 38: by betsy (new)

betsy  bourbon (betsybourbon) I would be really interested in reading an account of the war from the North Vietnamese point of view. But I have never come across anything like this. Has anyone else?

message 41: by Jimmy (last edited Nov 14, 2012 06:40AM) (new)

Jimmy | 60 comments If you do any reading, I'd like to hear your comments, betsy. It would make an interesting thread.

message 42: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 60 comments Here's another:

I'd like to learn more about the Viet Cong. It has been said by many that the Tet Offensive was urged by the North Vietnamese to actually get rid of many Viet Cong so that they would not be a problem when South Vietnam finally fell. The North Vietnamese were not interested in a democracy like perhaps many of the Viet Cong were.

message 43: by betsy (new)

betsy  bourbon (betsybourbon) Thanks for the recommendations Jimmy.

Has anyone read A Vietcong Memoir: An Inside Account of the Vietnam War and Its Aftermath?

message 44: by Rob (new)

Rob | 4 comments I see all of these recommendations on this page on books to read, and I have read quite a few of them - but has anyone considered starting a book club that focuses on this war, both sides, the movement in the United States, and the outcome? I think that would be a great book club where we could pick a book every month - voted on by the participants and discuss them.

message 45: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 60 comments Sounds good to me. It would be nice to regenerate this thread.

message 46: by Rob (new)

Rob | 4 comments I just joined this website yesterday, so I have no real knowledge on how to start a book club - but if one was started about the Vietnam War - I would gladly join!

message 47: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 60 comments Just start a New Topic with a book. The problems are finding the book and getting others involved. Why not give it a try. Just click on the club name and then click on New Topic under Discussions.

message 48: by June (new)

June Collins (junecollins) | 22 comments I just joined this group. Don't know why it took me so long to find it. I've added my book to the shelves, Goodbye Junie Moon. Don't know why it has no cover picture. Will try to rectify that later. I was in 'Nam from April 66 til October 70. I also wrote The Khaki Mafia (Crown and Avon) with Robin Moore (The Green Beret and the French Connection).
Here is the Tribute from my book;
There were many commercial entertainers in Vietnam from the USA, Australia, Korea, the Philippines and Thailand. Most were young and either adventurous or naïve or both. Some were still teenagers who were exuberantly received by the troops of whom too many were teenagers themselves. I believe all entertainers experienced danger if they stayed for any length of time. A few were wounded and I know of four who were killed. They all displayed courage when they made that initial choice to face the unknown and travel to a war zone. Some left after a few weeks but most stayed. I pay tribute to each one of them.

Most important, I pay tribute to Vietnam Vets everywhere.

IF there are any vets among you, please say hullo.
My blog and FB page;

message 49: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 60 comments I spent a year in Saigon in 1970 and knew a few Filipino bands. I used to listen to them practice this song:

message 50: by June (new)

June Collins (junecollins) | 22 comments Oopps! My dates were wrong Jimmy. I left in October '69 after exactly three and a half years. Left at govt. expense to testify in Senate Hearings against corruption in the Army clubs and messes system...

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