Sacramento Public Library

The Vietnam War: A Reading List

    A Rift in the Earth: Art, Memory, and the Fight for a Vietnam War Memorial

    A Rift in the Earth: Art, Memory, and the Fight for a Vietnam War Memorial - James Reston, Jr.

    Explores the decision over what kind of memorial should be built to honor the veterans of the Vietnam War, highlighting two key figures in the process--Maya Lin, whose design was chosen, and Frederick Hart, a sculptor.
    A Rumor of War

    A Rumor of War - Philip Caputo

    Republished on the occasion of its 40th anniversary, a renowned classic war memoir, which shattered America’s indifference to the fate of the men sent to fight in the jungles of Vietnam, follows the experiences of Marine Lieutenant Phillip J. Caputo both during the war and on the aftermath on the home front.
    Blue-Eyed Boy: A Memoir

    Blue-Eyed Boy: A Memoir - Robert Timberg

    Describes the life and long recovery of a Marine lieutenant who was severely burned by a Viet Cong land mine during the Vietnam War and returned home to face 35 painful operations and eventually tried out a new career as a journalist.
    Húê 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam

    Húê 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam - Mark Bowden

    The first battle book from Mark Bowden since his #1 New York Times bestseller Black Hawk Down, Hue 1968 is the story of the centerpiece of the Tet Offensive and a turning point in the American War in Vietnam. Interviews with participants from both sides of the conflict and materials from Vietnamese and American archives provide multiple points of view on each stage of the Battle of Hue.
    Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam

    Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam - Nick Turse

    Based on classified documents and first-person interviews, a controversial history of the Vietnam War argues that American acts of violence against millions of Vietnamese civilians were a pervasive and systematic part of the war and that soldiers were deliberately trained and ordered to conduct hate-based slaughter campaigns
    My Lai: Vietnam, 1968, and the Descent into Darkness

    My Lai: Vietnam, 1968, and the Descent into Darkness - Howard Jones

    Reexamines the My Lai massacre, in which unarmed villagers were killed by American soldiers, offering new perspectives on the events and their relevance.
    Night Sky With Exit Wounds

    Night Sky With Exit Wounds - Ocean Vuong

    A debut collection of poems draws from personal traumas to offer observations on such themes as violence, poverty, depression, and queer sexuality.
    Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissident

    Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissident - Bill Ayers

    A sequel to Fugitive Days charts the author's life after the Weather Underground, when he was labeled a "domestic terrorist" by extreme conservatives and sought to navigate demonizing campaigns in his public life.
    Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon, 1961-63

    Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon, 1961-63 - Marcelino Truong

    Visually powerful and emotionally potent, Such a Lovely Little War is both a large-scale and intimate study of the Vietnam war as seen through the eyes of the Vietnamese: a turbulent national history interwined with an equally traumatic familial one.
    The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir

    The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir - Thi Bui

    This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves.
    The Odyssey of Echo Company: The 1968 Tet Offensive and the Epic Battle to Survive the Vietnam War

    The Odyssey of Echo Company: The 1968 Tet Offensive and the Epic Battle to Survive the Vietnam War - Doug Stanton

    A portrait of the American recon platoon of the 101st Airborne Division describes their 60-day fight for survival during the early 1968 attack by North Vietnamese soldiers on dozens of South Vietnam cities, tracing their postwar difficulties with acclimating into a peacetime America that did not want to hear their story.
    The Sacred Willow: Four Generations in the Life of a Vietnamese Family

    The Sacred Willow: Four Generations in the Life of a Vietnamese Family - Mai Elliott

    Through the lives of four generations of her family and painstaking research, the author recounts the tumultuous history of Vietnam in the twentieth century, from her great-grandfather's activities as a mandarin to her sister's joining of the Viet Minh.
    The Sympathizer

    The Sympathizer - Viet Thanh Nguyen

    Follows a Viet Cong agent as he spies on a South Vietnamese army general and his compatriots as they start a new life in 1975 Los Angeles.
    The Things They Carried: A Work of Fiction

    The Things They Carried: A Work of Fiction - Tim O'Brien

    Heroic young men carry the emotional weight of their lives to war in Vietnam in a patchwork account of a modern journey into the heart of darkness.
    The Vietnam War: An Intimate History

    The Vietnam War: An Intimate History - Geoffrey C. Ward

    A vibrantly photographed companion to the multi-part PBS film examines the Vietnam War's role in debates that continue in today's world, drawing on extensive interviews with contributors at all levels in America and Vietnam to explain why and how the war happened as well as its complicated legacy.
    The Vietnam War: The Definitive Illustrated History

    The Vietnam War: The Definitive Illustrated History - DK Publishing

    Created in association with the Smithsonian Institution, this authoritative guide chronicles America's fight against Communism in southeast Asia during the 1960s and 1970s, and comprehensively explores the people, politics, events, and lasting effects of the Vietnam War.
    They Are All My Family: A Daring Rescue in the Chaos of Saigon's Fall

    They Are All My Family: A Daring Rescue in the Chaos of Saigon's Fall - John P. Riordan

    Published to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the fall of South Vietnam, a moving account set during the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War in April 1975, follows a young American banker as he rescues 105 of his endangered Vietnamese employees and their families by claiming them as relatives.
    Troublemaker: A Memoir From the Front Lines of the Sixties

    Troublemaker: A Memoir From the Front Lines of the Sixties - Bill Zimmerman

    The author discusses his life as a risk-taking social advocate who dodged FBI gunfire to airlift food to Sioux Indians, registered black voters, marched with Martin Luther King Jr. and worked to end the Vietnam War, in a book where he also documents his interactions with such historic figures as Abbie Hoffman, César Chávez, Jane Fonda and more.
    Walking Point: From the Ashes of the Vietnam War

    Walking Point: From the Ashes of the Vietnam War - Perry A. Ulander

    This intimate memoir by an American GI who served in Vietnam offers a powerful narrative for readers with an interest in the effects of war and violence, American involvement in Vietnam and how trauma can be a catalyst for transformation.
    Westmoreland: The General Who Lost Vietnam

    Westmoreland: The General Who Lost Vietnam - Lewis Sorley

    An analysis of the integral role of General William Westmoreland in the Vietnam War traces his prestigious background and rise to the head of the war effort, contending that his failures to understand regional complexities and his loyalty to a flawed strategy were directly responsible for the war's outcome.
    What It is Like to Go to War

    What It is Like to Go to War - Karl Marlantes

    The author of the best-selling Matterhorn offers insight into the combat experience, drawing on his background as a decorated Vietnam War veteran to raise awareness about how inadequately troops are prepared for battle-related psychological and spiritual trauma.
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