Reading Together, A community-wide book club for Kalamazoo, Michigan.
The Book 'Things They Carried.'
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Additional Reading Suggestions

General Works on the American War in Vietnam

Patriots: Vietnam War Remembered From All Sides

Appy, Chris
This rich oral history of the war features 135 accounts from Vietnamese peasants, soldiers, and leaders as well as American veterans, members of the antiwar movement, and figures such as William Westmoreland, John McCain, Oliver Stone, and Tim O’Brien. Viking, 2003

Working Class War: American Combat Soldiers in Vietnam

Appy, Chris
One of the only books to explore in detail the lives of the American soldiers who fought in Vietnam-where they came from, why they went, and what life was like from basic training to coming home. University of North Carolina, 1993

Vietnam: The Land We Never Knew 

Clifford, Geoffrey, with text by John Balaban 
A pictoral travelogue of Vietnam at peace. Balaban’s text explores the history, culture, geography and people in a concise manner, accenting Clifford’s vivid photographs. Chronicle Books, 1989

See also:
Vietnam: A Traveler's Literary Companion 
by John Balaban (paperback)
Remembering heaven's face: a moral witness in Vietnam by John Balaban 

Fire in the Lake

Fitzgerald, Frances 
The first book to address some of the fundamental cultural differences between Vietnam and the United States. Little, Brown, and Company, 1972

M.I.A., or, Mythmaking in America

Franklin, H. Bruce  
The best treatment of the POW/MIA issue in American Society, exploring the roots of the issue in politics and its evolution through popular media. Rutgers University Press, 1993

When Heaven and Earth Changed Places

Hayslip, Le Ly  
A gripping memoir of Hayslip’s journey from a young girl caught in the midst of war in rural Vietnam, to America, and back. Made into an Oliver Stone picture in 1993. Plume Books, 1990

The Pentagon Papers. Abridged edition

Herring, George  
A condensed version of the infamous classified Pentagon Study of American involvement in Vietnam, leaked by Daniel Ellsberg to the New York Times in 1971. Compiled by one of the foremost American scholars of the war. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1993

America's Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975 

Herring, George 
A good, standard textbook account of the American war, used in many college courses. McGraw-Hill, 1996 

Ending the Vietnam War: A History of America's Involvement in and Extrication from the Vietnam War

Kissinger, Henry 
Now, for the first time, Kissinger gives a single in-depth inside view of the Vietnam War, personally collected, annotated, revised, and updated from his own bestselling memoirs. Simon & Schuster, 2003

Aztlan and Viet Nam: Chicano and Chicana Experiences of the War  

Mariscal, George 
This first anthology of Mexican American writings about the U.S. war in Southeast Asia features more than sixty short stories, poems, speeches and articles. The grandson of Mexican immigrants, Mariscal was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1968 and served the following year in Viet Nam.  University of California Press, 1999 (Available at Waldo Library, WMU, and Upjohn Library, Kalamazoo College*)

Home to War: A History of the Vietnam Veterans' Movement

Nicosia, Gerald 
A vivid portrait of a generation of American soldiers who faced rejection by the nation in whose name they fought and virtual abandonment by the government that sent them to fight in Southeast Asia. Crown Publishers, 2001

Year in Nam: A Native American Soldier's Story

TeCube, Leroy 
A detailed, almost passionless narrative of the author’s combat-heavy tour of duty in the Vietnam War. TeCube, a member of the Jicarilla Apache tribe of northern New Mexico, was drafted into the Army and served in Vietnam from January 1968 to January 1969, and his salvation was the discipline and strength of his native culture, which he drew upon in his darkest times. University of Nebraska Press, 2000 

The Golden Tortoise: Journeys in Viet Nam

Tick, Edward 
The Golden Tortoise takes readers on journeys through Viet Nam today, visiting its sights to replace images of suffering with images of healing. It records the fascinating, rapid, hopeful and troubling changes taking place in Viet Nam today as it heals its war legacy and struggles with the transition from a society that was closed, controlled and rural to one that is open, consumer and technology-driven. Tick writes of battlefields, Buddhist shrines, schools and villagers, expressing himself in the haibun form of Basho that combines travel narrative with poetry. As an Asian form of travel writing, it is ideally suited to his exquisite report on a pilgrimage where we may walk tedious miles for one moment that revivifies the soul. Red Hen Press, 2005

War and the Soul: Healing Our Nation's Veterans from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Tick, Edward 
Claiming that war produces far more casualties than we realize, Dr. Tick faces head-on the paralyzing effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, and suggests that only when veterans can nurture a positive identity based in compassion and forgiveness can they find peace and healing. Quest Books, 2005

Voices from Vietnam: Eye-witness Accounts of the War, 1954-1975

Verrone, Richard Burks and Laura M. Calkins 
This is a stunning collection of absorbing and evocative eyewitness accounts of the war in Southeast Asia, America's domestic protests against it, and the costs of the conflict to those who survived it. David & Charles Publishers, 2005.

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

Walker, Keith 
Some 15,000 women served in Vietnam during the war, mostly military nurses and WACs, but also Red Cross and USO volunteers; the lesson from their words is that even the most casual contact with war has a devastating effect.  Presidio Press, 1985

Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans   

Wallace, Terry 
"Simply the most powerful and moving book that has emerged on this topic." (UPI) The national bestseller that tells the truth of about Vietnam from the black soldiers' perspective. Ballantine Books, 1985

Vietnam Veteranos: Chicanos Recall the War

Ybarra, Lea 
One of the most decorated groups that served in the Vietnam War, Chicanos fought and died in numbers well out of proportion to their percentage of the U.S. population. This book presents substantial interviews with Chicano Vietnam veterans and their families that explore the men's experiences in combat, the war's effects on the Chicano community, and the veterans' postwar lives. University of Texas Press, 2004 (Available at Waldo Library, WMU*)

The Vietnam Wars, 1945-1990

Young, Marilyn 
Another excellent textbook account of the war, with more attention to the history of Vietnam and Southeast Asia than Herring's America's Longest War. New York University Press, 1991

Compiled by Dr. Ed Martini, WMU Department of History
and Kalamazoo Public Library staff. 

(*)All titles are available at KPL unless otherwise noted. Live outside the KPL district? Ask about interlibrary loan at your community public library.


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2005 Reading Together, "The Color of Water"2004 Reading Together, "Nickel & Dimed"2003 Reading Together, "Fahrenheit 451"