They are the words of soldier Mark W. Harms in 1968, summing up his combat experience during the Vietnam War. His stunning letter home is just one of hundreds featured in this unforgettable collection, Letters from Vietnam. In these affecting pages are the unadorned voices of men and women who fought–and, in some cases, fell–in America’s most controversial war. They bring new insights and imagery to a conflict that still haunts our hearts, consciences, and the conduct of our foreign policy.
Here are the early days of the fight, when adopting a kitten, finding gold in a stream, or helping a local woman give birth were moments of beauty amid the brutality . . . shattering first-person accounts of firefights, ambushes, and bombings (“I know I will never be the same Joe.”–Marine Joe Pais) . . . and thoughtful, pained reflections on the purpose and progress of the entire Southeastern Asian cause (“All these lies about how we’re winning and what a great job we’re doing . . . It’s just not the same as WWII or the Korean War.” –Lt. John S. Taylor.)
Here, too, are letters as vivid as scenes from a film–Brenda Rodgers’s description of her wedding to a soldier on the steps of Saigon City Hall . . . Airman First Class Frank Pilson’s recollection of President Johnson’s ceremonial dinner with the troops (“He looks tired and worn out–his is not an easy job”) . . . and, perhaps most poignant, Emil Spadafora’s beseeching of his mother to help him adopt an orphan who is a village’s only survivor (“This boy has nothing, and his future holds nothing for him over here.”)
From fervent patriotism to awakening opposition, Letters from Vietnam captures the unmistakable echoes of this earlier era, as well as timeless expressions of hope, horror, fear, and faith.
From the Hardcover edition.
These are the stories Vietnam vets tell each other at reunions and over beers.
• Episodes of valor, hardship, humor, and everything in between from more than forty veterans of the Vietnam War
• Covers all branches of service and all areas of operation in Southeast Asia
Serving as both pointman and sniper, he experienced six weeks of frontline duty, averaging a firefight each week with heavy casualties. With his advanced degree and a $2.50 case of beer for a bribe, he then transferred to the 19th Military History Detachment and spent the remainder of his tour of duty traveling the Mekong Delta, Plain of Reeds, and areas near Saigon. His memoir is the result of a tour of intense fighting, careful documentation, and an illicit diary.
In 1967, the editor of the New York Review of Books sent Mary McCarthy to Vietnam. In this daring and incisive account, McCarthy brings her critical thinking and novelist’s eye to one of the most unpopular wars in our nation’s history.
Outraged over America’s role in the Vietnam War, McCarthy arrived in Saigon with her own preconceived notions. Her time there did little to alter those beliefs. Focusing on the moral consequences—“the worst thing that could happen to our country would be to win this war”—McCarthy provides firsthand reports from the front line. She describes visits to villages built for Vietnamese refugees torn between the terror that Americans would stay and the fear that they would go.
From its coverage of the daily horrors of war to notes on the logistical challenge of bringing 494,000 soldiers home, this is a timely and timeless work from one of America’s most outspoken and respected critics.
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Mary McCarthy including rare images from the author’s estate.
For ""They Wouldn't Let Us Win"," Ronald H Dykes did in-depth interviews with fifteen Vietnam veterans from Jackson County, Alabama. In these interviews, the veterans graphically describe the extraordinarily difficult experiences they endured during their tour of duty. Most of them were teenagers who had little idea of where Vietnam was or what the war was about. Yet, they did serve, follow orders, and try to stay alive. When they returned to the United States, though, some of them were greeted with curses and spittle. Perhaps even worse, their peers at home seemed uninterested in their experiences in Vietnam. Despite the horrors of the war and their reception back in their country, most of them do not regret serving in Vietnam. They do regret, however, that the politicians "would not let us win." Dykes' thesis in this book is that readers like himself who were opposed to the war will be convinced that these veterans got a raw deal when they returned home.
Then as the days and weeks went by, a voice of doubt began to speak louder and louder as the shadow of disillusionment crept in. Later, as the months went by, he would descend into a nightmare of despair and pain as men died needlessly and in vain, and others were shattered in mind and body. Squandered valor and wasted sacrifices would eat at his soul, right up to the breaking point and beyond.
Follow me then into Dante’s Inferno, a special kind of hell where you are alone, you are isolated, and you do not know why you are there. But you are there, and death, maiming, and a panoply of hideous events await your every move, your every breath. It may not happen today, but it probably will tomorrow. You have yourself and those few around you. You have been forsaken by your country and condemned to the valley of the shadow of death by those politicians who knew not what they were doing. There is nothing and no one to light or guide your way. You are not on a crusade. There are no grand parades, and no one can see you. No one will buy bonds to win the war; no one really cares. For some, even their families betrayed them. You are now, as General Sherman said, in hell.
Walk with me then in the footsteps of the infantry.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bob Powers is a native Chicagoan, raised on the Southside in the Brainerd Neighborhood. He is a journeyman electrician and a longtime member of I.B.E.W. Local 134. Inducted into the Army in March of 1966, he received his training at Tigerland, Ft. Polk, Louisiana and was assigned to the 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry, 1st Air Cavalry Division in Vietnam. After nine months in combat, he was severely wounded near Duc Pho in Quang Ngai Province. Discharged in 1968, he returned to his trade. He is married and has four grown children. He and his wife, Lynne, reside in Mokena, Illinois.
History books and novels are filled with stories of young men and women going off to war. In each, the experiences and challenges are as varied as the people themselves. The stories tell of leaders and followers, cowards and heroes. In "Where 's Charlie?" author Tim Soyars narrates his own story of how he came of age while serving in the US Army during the Vietnam War.
In this memoir, Soyars tells how his personality, background, and attitude contributed to his will to succeed and his desire to be involved in the Vietnam War. As a boy, he always knew he d serve his country. With both humor and sincerity, Soyars narrates his story his birth in Virginia in 1945, his induction into the army in 1965, his marriage in 1966, and his one-year service in Vietnam with the First Calvary from March of 1967 to 1968.
Including photos of the period, "Where 's Charlie?" conveys not only the sadness and heroics often associated with war, but also shares stories of warmth, compassion, and romance. It provides a glimpse into the horror of battle and offers insight into one soldier 's actions and thoughts during this unique time in history.
The book begins with training on the plains of Fort Riley, Kansas, then follows the battalion across the Pacific on the USS John Pope. It follows them to an open field, where they would have to build their own base camp. All too soon, they were thrown into the intense combat of Operations Cedar Falls, Junction City, and Manhattan. Theirs is the story of living, eating, sleeping, and trying to keep clean during perhaps the most decisive year of the most divisive war in our nations history. The story ends with a brutal battle on a nondescript hilltop and the house-to-house fighting during the Tet Offensive of 1968. It is the story of some of the bravest, most dedicated soldiers to ever wear the uniform of the United States Army.