27 Of The Top Vietnam War Books in Fiction and Non-FictionThe Vietnam War has left many legacies. Among the most positive is an abundance of top-notch books, many written by veterans of the conflict. A slew of war memoirs stand with the best writing of that genre. Nearly all of the big books about the Vietnam War remain in print in , and the 50th anniversary commemoration of the war is an opportune time to recognize the best of them. In the short history of Vietnam War literature, publishers would hardly touch a book on the war until the late s and early s—a part of the self-induced national amnesia about that conflict and its outcome.
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The Vietnam War stands as one of the pivotal moments in recent U.S. history, The books below are among the most illuminating and some of the best Vietnam War books. . Written nearly twenty years after the war in Vietnam came to a close, If you were to read only one book on the Vietnam War, The Vietnam Reader.
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With the war in Afghanistan now America's longest, and debate continuing to rage over whether America should continue military operations there, now is the perfect time to revisit America's second-longest war: Vietnam. Yet the story of our year involvement in Vietnam—from the arrival of the first American military advisors to the Gulf of Tonkin Incident to the Tet Offensive to the frantic retreat from the US embassy as communist tanks rolled through the streets of Saigon—has arguably had a bigger impact on the American psyche than any other war. Like every great tragedy, it is a tale of illusions shattered, of heroes toppled from great heights, of seemingly small decisions that led to catastrophic consequences. No wonder then, that the American experience in Vietnam has produced such a rich body of literature. These 9 Vietnam War books range from darkly comic war fiction to devastating battlefield memoir and astute historical analysis—each one casts a brilliant light on the inscrutable conflict. A staple of high school and college classrooms, and arguably the most influential work of fiction to emerge from the war, this novel-in-stories blends memory and imagination to reveal essential truths about the combat experience. But The Things They Carried , whose central protagonist shares a name and a similar biography with its author, is his masterpiece.
Ken Burns is one of the most acclaimed and well-known documentarians of his generation, best known for his meticulous and intimate examinations of subjects from jazz to baseball to the Civil War. This book, a collaboration with historian Geoffrey C. Buy now from your favorite retailer:. Originally published in , Dispatches remains one of the finest examples of war reportage. In it, war correspondent Michael Herr recounts the fervor and horror of war — as well as the day-to-day lives of soldiers in a combat zone — in unflinching detail through stark, eloquent prose. John Paul Vann who arrived in Vietnam in and witnessed firsthand the corruption, deception, arrogance, and incompetence that would ultimately define the Vietnam War.
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Make Your Own List. In Karl Marlantes was a year old Rhodes scholar and did not have to go to Vietnam. In this interview, he recommends the best Vietnam War books, exploring its moral ambiguities, the warrior mentality and the humanity of 'the enemy. He served as a Marine in Vietnam and was awarded two Purple Hearts, the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star, two navy commendation medals for valour and ten air medals. In he began writing his novel about his experience of combat in the jungle. The book, Matterhorn , ended up taking Marlantes 30 years to write. Tell me about the first book on your list, A Rumor of War
Instead, they look at them sideways and upside down, they take bits and pieces and view their lives in war as tiny snapshots jumbled in a box, completely out of order. It strikes me that this is the way our memories work. When I think back to reading either book for the first time, and other Vietnam war books, the memories that come to me are of the owl coffee mug I broke when reading The Things They Carried , or the stain in my thrift-shopped copy of Slaughterhouse-Five that surely represented blood, which seemed so appropriate. There are fictional and non-fictional Vietnam war books, some of which are written for adults and some of which are written for children. All of them are worthy of appearing on this list.
Today I want to look at the best novels, because fiction can provide fresh insights into great historical events. So the list below, which is based on reviews and recommendations, are the ten Vietnam War novels that I most want to read if I can find the time to read anything other than email. Josiah Bunting , The Lionheads Bunting joined the U. Army in after completing his Rhodes Scholarship. During his service in Vietnam, he saw things he disliked.