Since the end of the Vietnam War, histories, films, novels, and poetry have sought to come to grips with the conflict's devastating effect on Asians and Americans, both those who fought and those who did not. Although standard histories and cultural studies have been written, Walter Capps's anthology is the first book to examine the war in a strongly philosophical way, ranging beyond a narrowly political assessment of its propriety. "The Vietnam Reader" addresses the war's impact on our individual and collective lives. Approaching the war as an actual event, rather than as a subject of ongoing debate, Capps traces its meaning in terms that embody much more than political controversy. The works included cover not only the familiar debate about the appropriateness of the US presence in Vietnam, but also provide commentary from people directly involved in the war, such as combatants, army nurses, gold-star mothers and Vietnamese refugees living in the US. Such testimony is placed side by side with the "classic" philosophies and moral statements which first appeared in the early 60s. This book should be of interest to undergraduates and academics involved in history, politics, cultural studies and military studies.
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'The Vietnam Reader' addresses the war's impact on our individual and collective lives. Approaching the war as an actual event, rather than as a subject of ongoing debate, Capps traces its meaning in terms that embody much more than political controversy.From Publishers Weekly:
A professor of religious studies at the University of California-Santa Barbara, Capps has compiled 36 essays by veterans, diplomats, theologians and others, resulting in a prismatic, often contradictory but usually incisive view of the Vietnam experience. Former Newsweek editor-in-chief William Broyles Jr. plumbs the reasons men love war, asserting that "war . . . touches the mythic domains in our soul" where "sex and destruction, beauty and horror, love and death" are united. With a palpable anger, veteran Paul Sgroi depicts his bout with delayed stress syndrome. Thomas Holm, a political science professor at the University of Arizona, reports that Native Americans were told to walk "point"--the most vulnerable position on patrol--because white commanders believed Indians were accustomed to the woods and made good scouts. Le Ly Hayslip writes why the Viet Cong won her loyalty when she was an adolescent near Danang. The failures among the essays are those that try to reduce Vietnam to a manageable equation. Gen. William Westmoreland, for example, argues that the U.S. military was handicapped by the American civilian population.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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