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The Vietnam Reader: The Definitive Collection of Fiction and Nonfiction on the War

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An extraordinary selection of the finest and best-known art from the American war in Vietnam, from Tim O'Brien to Marvin Gaye, from mainstream bestsellers to radical poetry. This authoritative and accessible volume includes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, film, photography, and popular song lyrics from the Vietnam War era, covering a breadth of experiences and perspecti An extraordinary selection of the finest and best-known art from the American war in Vietnam, from Tim O'Brien to Marvin Gaye, from mainstream bestsellers to radical poetry. This authoritative and accessible volume includes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, film, photography, and popular song lyrics from the Vietnam War era, covering a breadth of experiences and perspectives. Also included are incisive reader's questions--useful for educators and book clubs--in a volume that makes an essential contribution to a wider understanding of the Vietnam War. An indispensable and provocative read for anyone who wants to know more about the war that changed the face of late-twentieth-century America.


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An extraordinary selection of the finest and best-known art from the American war in Vietnam, from Tim O'Brien to Marvin Gaye, from mainstream bestsellers to radical poetry. This authoritative and accessible volume includes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, film, photography, and popular song lyrics from the Vietnam War era, covering a breadth of experiences and perspecti An extraordinary selection of the finest and best-known art from the American war in Vietnam, from Tim O'Brien to Marvin Gaye, from mainstream bestsellers to radical poetry. This authoritative and accessible volume includes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, film, photography, and popular song lyrics from the Vietnam War era, covering a breadth of experiences and perspectives. Also included are incisive reader's questions--useful for educators and book clubs--in a volume that makes an essential contribution to a wider understanding of the Vietnam War. An indispensable and provocative read for anyone who wants to know more about the war that changed the face of late-twentieth-century America.

30 review for The Vietnam Reader: The Definitive Collection of Fiction and Nonfiction on the War

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jimmy

    About as good a collection and summary as there could be of the literature up until that point in time of the Vietnam War. I'd be a little careful of using this book in a high school class on the literature of the Vietnam War. The language and the violence could be an issue. There is also the question brought up in the book whether or not there is such a thing as truthfully telling what happens in war. I like how the editor even acknowledged that people lie about their war experiences, sort of l About as good a collection and summary as there could be of the literature up until that point in time of the Vietnam War. I'd be a little careful of using this book in a high school class on the literature of the Vietnam War. The language and the violence could be an issue. There is also the question brought up in the book whether or not there is such a thing as truthfully telling what happens in war. I like how the editor even acknowledged that people lie about their war experiences, sort of like fishing. Another problem is that I don't like reading just a section of a book. However, I knew the book was like that. I have a new list of books I want to read now.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Riley

    Though these stories span generations and viewpoints, I was struck by how similar their themes were. These selections are dominated by coming-of-age stories -- what editor Stewart O'Nan described using the fancier term of bildungsroman, or German learning-novel. I found these selections to be powerful and overwhelming dark, which isn't surprising considering the heartbreak and savagery of the Vietnam War. It also jumped out to me how little the Vietnamese play a role in American accounts of the w Though these stories span generations and viewpoints, I was struck by how similar their themes were. These selections are dominated by coming-of-age stories -- what editor Stewart O'Nan described using the fancier term of bildungsroman, or German learning-novel. I found these selections to be powerful and overwhelming dark, which isn't surprising considering the heartbreak and savagery of the Vietnam War. It also jumped out to me how little the Vietnamese play a role in American accounts of the war. One criticism I have: While the book proclaims itself "the definitive collection of American fiction and nonfiction" about Vietnam, there really isn't a whole lot of nonfiction included. Largely, the oeuvre is made up of literary accounts of the war, which is a little less than promised. For comedy, there was Robin Moore's The Green Berets, which was made into a much panned 1968 John Wayne movie. It's no surprise it didn't play well, considering cliched I-don't-play-by-the-rules dialogue like this: "'Kornie has killed more VC than any other A team in the three weeks since we've taken over here,' Fenz pointed out. "'Kornie is too damned independent and unorthodox,' Train said. "'That's what they taught us at Bragg, Colonel,' I put in. 'Or did I spend three months misunderstanding the message?' "'There are limits. I don't agree with all the School teaches.'"

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    I read this when it came out, and it pointed me toward buying and reading several works I probably wouldn't have otherwise. Of course, this work contains fiction and nonfiction, plus movie reviews, and song lyrics. It is a noble effort indeed to try and waken the consciousness of some readers who would otherwise be ignorant of the important works herein, and/or the Vietnam war era. If O'Nan's book helps the reading public to pick up other books on Vietnam, then he has succeeded admirably. The mo I read this when it came out, and it pointed me toward buying and reading several works I probably wouldn't have otherwise. Of course, this work contains fiction and nonfiction, plus movie reviews, and song lyrics. It is a noble effort indeed to try and waken the consciousness of some readers who would otherwise be ignorant of the important works herein, and/or the Vietnam war era. If O'Nan's book helps the reading public to pick up other books on Vietnam, then he has succeeded admirably. The movie reviews are his own with supplementary comments by others. If readers have a problem with the content, direct that ire toward the individual authors, and not the compiler. Buy the book, it's great!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    Excellent anthology of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and even songs from the Vietnam War. Editor Stewart O'Nan made a great selection from the vast material that is out there. Though I wouldn't agree with some of his selections (did he really need to include the book that was the basis for U.S. government-touted movie The Green Berets?), the breadth and diversity of his choices give a good sense of the war from the American soldiers' point of view. Especially valuable are the poetry of Yusef Kuma Excellent anthology of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and even songs from the Vietnam War. Editor Stewart O'Nan made a great selection from the vast material that is out there. Though I wouldn't agree with some of his selections (did he really need to include the book that was the basis for U.S. government-touted movie The Green Berets?), the breadth and diversity of his choices give a good sense of the war from the American soldiers' point of view. Especially valuable are the poetry of Yusef Kumanyakaa and Tim O'Brien's chilling rendition of the My Lai massacre and subsequent trial, "In the Lake of the Woods."

  5. 4 out of 5

    Griggette

    A compilation of clips from works treating the Vietnam War, including letters, poetry, oral histories, works of fiction, short stories, etc. This gives a well-rounded look at writing that treats a very controversial period in US history. From government-hired journalists to soldiers on the frontline, to disabled vets living out the rest of their lives in government hospitals, this anthology provides a range of perspectives. Very gruesome. Very essential to understanding the Vietnam experience.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mike Harper

    If you want to know about Vietnam, and don't have the patience for Karnow's "Vietnam: a History," this is the place to start. The selections include excerpts from novels, short stories, newspaper reports, lyrics and poems. I read this for the first time when preparing to teach a seminar about the Vietnam conflict, and I'm rereading it now to prepare for another class. My only quibble is that the book doesn't contain much of anything about the French war. I don't think the American war makes much If you want to know about Vietnam, and don't have the patience for Karnow's "Vietnam: a History," this is the place to start. The selections include excerpts from novels, short stories, newspaper reports, lyrics and poems. I read this for the first time when preparing to teach a seminar about the Vietnam conflict, and I'm rereading it now to prepare for another class. My only quibble is that the book doesn't contain much of anything about the French war. I don't think the American war makes much sense unless placed in the context of the continuing struggle.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ayne Ray

    Impressive in both depth and breadth of scope, this collection includes works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, film, still photos, and popular song lyrics in its balanced examination of the war from a variety of viewpoints. Essential reading for those interested in the history and impact of the Vietnam war.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    This is a fantastic anthology of fiction, poems, and stories of the Vietnam War. There are many authors in this book; one of them is Tim O'Brien who is a renowned Vietnam War author. This is simply a fantastic look at the Vietnam War through a vet's eyes. This is a fantastic anthology of fiction, poems, and stories of the Vietnam War. There are many authors in this book; one of them is Tim O'Brien who is a renowned Vietnam War author. This is simply a fantastic look at the Vietnam War through a vet's eyes.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    How can one call this a great book, which it is, without feeling the pain of a very difficult era in American history? In a nutshell, war is the ultimate human failure and a failed war without rationale is beyond failure.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    If I were a teacher putting together a unit on the Vietnam War, I would snatch up a copy of this immediately. Poems, films, essays, bits of novels and memoirs, photographs, song lyrics--all thematically organized and ready for classroom use.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    Not for the faint at heart. Cruelly honest, with wrenching accounts, both fictional and otherwise. I had to stop reading at several points because it was overwhelming. And I've read a lot of Vietnam literature. Not for the faint at heart. Cruelly honest, with wrenching accounts, both fictional and otherwise. I had to stop reading at several points because it was overwhelming. And I've read a lot of Vietnam literature.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Summer

    I have always loved books about the Vietnam War... this was the book used in one of my classes in college and I have picked it up again trying to finish all of the stories I did not get a chance to read in the class.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Edwin van Amstel

    Biedt een duiding van alles wat verschenen is over de Vietnamoorlog op het gebied van proza, poëzie, songteksten, films. Daarom moeilijk te overschatten. Als je jezelf een beeld wilt vormen van de (verandering van de) receptie van de Vietnamoorlog in de VS, is dit het boek dat je wilt lezen.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Botticelli

    Most honest pieces of writing from this time in history. Everyone should read this.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    Stephen King friend and recommended author.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Todd LaMontagne

    Synopsis: The Vietnam Reader is a collection of literature that focuses on America's involvement in Vietnam. Edited by Stewart O'Nan, the collection includes selections that span approximately thirty years. O'nan includes short stories; poetry; song lyrics; film synopsis; and excerpts from memoirs, novels, and dramas. I used this book as the principal reader for a second year college composition course I taught. The school encouraged the instructors of the course to develop a course that was the Synopsis: The Vietnam Reader is a collection of literature that focuses on America's involvement in Vietnam. Edited by Stewart O'Nan, the collection includes selections that span approximately thirty years. O'nan includes short stories; poetry; song lyrics; film synopsis; and excerpts from memoirs, novels, and dramas. I used this book as the principal reader for a second year college composition course I taught. The school encouraged the instructors of the course to develop a course that was thematic in nature and I chose the Vietnam War. Students were reluctant at first, but once they had the background knowledge they needed and started reading many of the selections collected here, they saw the value of learning and reading about this controversial and fascinating period of American history. Themes/Curriculum connections: American History, War, Vietnam, Soldiers, PTSD Age/Grade Recommendation: High School and up.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chad Malkamaki

    The Vietnam Reader is a compilation of the historical and first person accounts of the service members that served in the American army. Also included is significant works of fiction, poetry, music, and reviews of the movies that were made. Anyone interested in the literature that came from the war combined with other histories, helps to give a scholar a more well rounded view of the conflict and the people that sacrificed their lives while in service to the country at this time. Included are th The Vietnam Reader is a compilation of the historical and first person accounts of the service members that served in the American army. Also included is significant works of fiction, poetry, music, and reviews of the movies that were made. Anyone interested in the literature that came from the war combined with other histories, helps to give a scholar a more well rounded view of the conflict and the people that sacrificed their lives while in service to the country at this time. Included are the voices of protest, but not so much from the politicians that chose to send are country in this decades old quagmire.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mirjam

    Well this sure is an American perspective on the Vietnam War. If I were teaching a high school-level unit on the subject, in the US, I'd definitely include this book in the syllabus. Well this sure is an American perspective on the Vietnam War. If I were teaching a high school-level unit on the subject, in the US, I'd definitely include this book in the syllabus.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Doug

  20. 4 out of 5

    C. Clover

  21. 5 out of 5

    John

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kim

  23. 5 out of 5

    Phillip

  24. 4 out of 5

    Connie

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kelley

  26. 4 out of 5

    Arnona Tzayad

  27. 5 out of 5

    Adriana

  28. 5 out of 5

    John

  29. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

  30. 5 out of 5

    Terry Ducarme

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