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.
It was the tumultuous year 1968, and Robert Tonsetic was Rifle Company commander of the 4th Battalion, 12th Infantry in Vietnam. He took over a group of grunts demoralized by defeat but determined to get even. Through the legendary Tet and May Offensives, he led, trained, and risked his life with these brave men, and this is the thrilling, brutal, and honest story of his tour of duty. Tonsetic tells of leading a seriously undermanned ready-reaction force into a fierce, three-day battle with a ruthless enemy battalion; conducting surreal night airmobile assaults and treks through fetid, pitch-black jungles; and relieving combat stress by fishing with hand grenades and taking secret joyrides in Hueys.
During that fateful year, as unrest erupted at home and politicians groped for a way out of the war, Tonsetic and his men did their job as soldiers and earned the title “Warriors.”
From the Paperback 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
The Vietnam War remains deep in the nation’s consciousness. It is vital that we know exactly what happened there–and who made it happen. This book provides a complete account of American Army ground combat forces–who they were, how they got to the battlefield, and what they did there. Year by year, battlefield by battlefield, the narrative follows the war in extraordinary, gripping detail. Over the course of the decade, the changes in fighting and in the combat troops themselves are described and documented. The Rise and Fall of an American Army represents the first total battlefield history of Army ground forces in the Vietnam War, containing much previously unreleased archival material. It re-creates the feel of battle with dramatic precision.
“Stanton’s writing . . . gives the reader a terrifying graphic description of combat in the many mini-environments of Vietnam.”
–The New York Times
“[A] MOVING, IMPORTANT BOOK.”
–St. Louis Post-Dispatch
From the Paperback edition.
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.
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.
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.