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Everything We Had: An Oral History of the Vietnam War

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Here is an oral history of the Vietnam War by thirty-three American soldiers who fought it. A 1983 American Book Award nominee.


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Here is an oral history of the Vietnam War by thirty-three American soldiers who fought it. A 1983 American Book Award nominee.

30 review for Everything We Had: An Oral History of the Vietnam War

  1. 4 out of 5

    Guillermo Galvan

    A powerfully unapologetic book. It completely destroyed the Hollywood and Media fantasy notion of what war is. The stories by these Vietnam veterans are raw and make no attempt to come off as politically correct. They talk about their experiences in their own words, which come off a little rough in writing but is done so for authenticity. The stories follow a chronological order that start from the beginning of the war, all the way to leaving Vietnam. What I like about this book is that you got t A powerfully unapologetic book. It completely destroyed the Hollywood and Media fantasy notion of what war is. The stories by these Vietnam veterans are raw and make no attempt to come off as politically correct. They talk about their experiences in their own words, which come off a little rough in writing but is done so for authenticity. The stories follow a chronological order that start from the beginning of the war, all the way to leaving Vietnam. What I like about this book is that you got to hear from a wide range of soldiers, everything from Marines, SEALS, medics, Navy, and POW's. There's even some photographs of the men and women in the book. What I liked about this book was the brutal honesty. They speak about the short coming of incompetent leaders, crazy soldiers, fear, courage, death, and a lot of other things that is usually overshadowed by an overtly patriotic message. This is one of those books people of this generation need so badly read. These voices from a not so distant past are trying to warn of us of the true nature of war. Their stories will linger in my mind.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tom Olmsted

    Every American should read this book to realize how insane war is.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Emily Hewitt

    A very powerful read that makes you feel a lot of empathy for our Vietnam veterans and at times a lot of anger towards the US government. To be told that you’re doing something good for your country but to not truly understand what you’re fighting for is devastating. This book made me think of my grandfather as my family has always been so proud of his US intelligence career in Vietnam and Laos during the war. But all of the details from the men interviewed for this book made me wonder what atro A very powerful read that makes you feel a lot of empathy for our Vietnam veterans and at times a lot of anger towards the US government. To be told that you’re doing something good for your country but to not truly understand what you’re fighting for is devastating. This book made me think of my grandfather as my family has always been so proud of his US intelligence career in Vietnam and Laos during the war. But all of the details from the men interviewed for this book made me wonder what atrocities and tragedies my grandfather may have witnessed or participated in. This book also made me think of the war in Afghanistan and all the various conflicts in other countries that we (the USA) have inserted ourselves into and stayed involved in for far too long. War is so ugly and traumatic for all sides involved and this book really depicts how horrifying and senseless it truly is.

  4. 4 out of 5

    James

    This book is a literary fraud. See STOLEN VALOR pp 390-392 The author of Stolen Valor filed freedom of information requests for the military records of soldiers mentioned in this book. They prove the accounts given simply did not happen and often the person mentioned doesn't even exist. Consider this yet one more book of fiction about the Vietnam war. This book is a literary fraud. See STOLEN VALOR pp 390-392 The author of Stolen Valor filed freedom of information requests for the military records of soldiers mentioned in this book. They prove the accounts given simply did not happen and often the person mentioned doesn't even exist. Consider this yet one more book of fiction about the Vietnam war.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    Unfortuently a lot of the narratives in this book are complete fiction. Collected during the Reagan era, this book purported to be a series of first hand accounts of Vietnam. It was a best seller and helped popularize the (true, IMHO) view of the Vietnam vet as a lost and often ignored/reviled generation. Alas, at least a third and probably about half of the accounts are at best -exaggerated and at worst -complete fictions. A number of Vietnam vets and historians have published detailed investig Unfortuently a lot of the narratives in this book are complete fiction. Collected during the Reagan era, this book purported to be a series of first hand accounts of Vietnam. It was a best seller and helped popularize the (true, IMHO) view of the Vietnam vet as a lost and often ignored/reviled generation. Alas, at least a third and probably about half of the accounts are at best -exaggerated and at worst -complete fictions. A number of Vietnam vets and historians have published detailed investigative reports about the narrators and in many cases the veterans were not in combat, not in Vietnam and in a few instances- not even in the military! The one account detailing the NVA executing captured American infantry soldiers is a proven complete fiction and the Vietnamese government uses this example (among others) as an instance of sponsored American state propaganda about the war. One might look to " Lies America Tells about the Liberation War and Reparations", printed in the Hanoi Daily of December, 1995. Also see " Stolen Valor" and " Fake Warriors" about this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Joey

    This book was very informative and very moving. I will say all the stories here affected me in some way, but the one that sticks with me the most is called "My Men" by Robert Santos. 101st Airborne Division, Hue, November 1967-1968. This story has burrowed its way into my mind and I cannot seem to stop thinking about it. The lonelyness of this lieutanant and the way he describes his experience haunts my soul. To him and all other Veterans of war I would like to say Thank you so much from the bot This book was very informative and very moving. I will say all the stories here affected me in some way, but the one that sticks with me the most is called "My Men" by Robert Santos. 101st Airborne Division, Hue, November 1967-1968. This story has burrowed its way into my mind and I cannot seem to stop thinking about it. The lonelyness of this lieutanant and the way he describes his experience haunts my soul. To him and all other Veterans of war I would like to say Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart and I am so sorry that you have to deal with the hurt everyday that comes from being in wars. God Bless and keep safe all of you!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ben B

    An early example of a genre that soon took off. Santoli worked in a clinic where Vietnam vets received group therapy, and after hearing their stories, asked permission to interview them for a compilation of the combat experience. Many of these anecdotes are unforgettable. Some are symbolic or symptomatic of everything good and bad about the war. Others are simply brilliant pieces of first-person reporting.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Carrabis

    This book is a painful yet refreshing read. Oral histories are, to me, the best because the first person narratives, by their structure, share more than the jounalistic "who-what-when-where-why" of the past. Oral histories are the true differentiated "This is what happened, this is what I think happened, this is what happened to me." This book is a painful yet refreshing read. Oral histories are, to me, the best because the first person narratives, by their structure, share more than the jounalistic "who-what-when-where-why" of the past. Oral histories are the true differentiated "This is what happened, this is what I think happened, this is what happened to me."

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lisa M.

    I am not a member of the military so I will never be able to fully understand what it is like to serve our country. I was not alive during the Vietnam conflict, so it is particularly foreign to me. This book was probably one of the best - and maybe the only - way for me to understand the conflict. I am ashamed to admit that I knew very little about the history/facts of the war, let alone having a deeper understanding of emotions veterans experienced during it. I feel I now have a basic understan I am not a member of the military so I will never be able to fully understand what it is like to serve our country. I was not alive during the Vietnam conflict, so it is particularly foreign to me. This book was probably one of the best - and maybe the only - way for me to understand the conflict. I am ashamed to admit that I knew very little about the history/facts of the war, let alone having a deeper understanding of emotions veterans experienced during it. I feel I now have a basic understanding of the Vietnamese conflict (what it was, ideas about why it happened, major players, even some major conflicts). I certainly have a more in-depth understanding of how this war - and perhaps others before and after it- deeply shaped the young men in our country. There were a variety of histories from service men/women in all branches, at different levels of power, positions. There were conflicting opinions/experiences. I feel this book is a great way to have an overview of some common experiences of veterans in Vietnam. Although many people disagreed in their narratives, one thing was certain -- Vietnam deeply changed the veterans in this book, and thus the generations that came to follow. I am grateful to the authors in this book, all the people that served, and the fact that I stumbled upon this at my used bookstore for $2.50. It is worth far more than that.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    I found this a difficult read. It took me much longer than it should have to read 260 pages. A few evenings I went to bed thoroughly bummed out. It wasn't a response to shock value. The stories related by these soldiers were tastefully told as much as possible while still telling their truth and expressing their feelings about what they witnessed and experienced. I left this book feeling a whole new level of disgust toward our government, its corruption, its self serving use of the military, its I found this a difficult read. It took me much longer than it should have to read 260 pages. A few evenings I went to bed thoroughly bummed out. It wasn't a response to shock value. The stories related by these soldiers were tastefully told as much as possible while still telling their truth and expressing their feelings about what they witnessed and experienced. I left this book feeling a whole new level of disgust toward our government, its corruption, its self serving use of the military, its disregard for the welfare of its military personnel and the effects of war upon them. I can't imagine it has gotten any better since Vietnam.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michael F.S.W. Morrison

    Not at all a pleasant book, entirely because of its subject matter. But it tells some truths about the Vietnam war that have been ignored, often on purpose, by our "news" media, our politicians, and our schools. It's not for the faint of heart, but for anyone who wants a personal look at that terrible time, this is a good place to pay attention. ADDED, right after I read some of the other reviews: Several of them claim many of the stories in this book are fiction -- some, I guess, even downright li Not at all a pleasant book, entirely because of its subject matter. But it tells some truths about the Vietnam war that have been ignored, often on purpose, by our "news" media, our politicians, and our schools. It's not for the faint of heart, but for anyone who wants a personal look at that terrible time, this is a good place to pay attention. ADDED, right after I read some of the other reviews: Several of them claim many of the stories in this book are fiction -- some, I guess, even downright lies. Why such a book got published is beyond me, if it is not true. I guess, though, a reader should be warned.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Arnie

    I was in college studying psychology in the late 80's and early 90's. I was researching a paper on Post Traumatic Stress. Specifically... How much of PTSD was real and how much was Hollywood? I wanted to know. I got more than I bargained for. This was one of several books I read in the course of my research. My daughter is currently reading:The Things They Carried by Tim Obrien. In her Highschool class. I mistook it for Everything We Had. Both are excellent books on the subject of Vietnam and th I was in college studying psychology in the late 80's and early 90's. I was researching a paper on Post Traumatic Stress. Specifically... How much of PTSD was real and how much was Hollywood? I wanted to know. I got more than I bargained for. This was one of several books I read in the course of my research. My daughter is currently reading:The Things They Carried by Tim Obrien. In her Highschool class. I mistook it for Everything We Had. Both are excellent books on the subject of Vietnam and the men who were there. Both are honest and brutal portrayals of the dark realities of war.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    A gripping oral history from veteran's who served in the Vietnam War. It roughly follows the war chronologically but there is a lot of over lapping of time periods. Experiences range from Green Berets, grunts, officers in the field, medics, those working for CIA, pilots, POW's and so on. Some of its heartbreaking and other times savage. An excellent book if you'd like to hear from the boots on the ground point of view of the war. A gripping oral history from veteran's who served in the Vietnam War. It roughly follows the war chronologically but there is a lot of over lapping of time periods. Experiences range from Green Berets, grunts, officers in the field, medics, those working for CIA, pilots, POW's and so on. Some of its heartbreaking and other times savage. An excellent book if you'd like to hear from the boots on the ground point of view of the war.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    This book was great. It was written from several different perspectives of the people who were in Vietnam, which made it an even better read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    William Woods

    Green Frog men

  16. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    I thought this was really interesting as it covered several different personal accounts, from members of the military from many different positions (captains, nurses, infantry, etc). It also stretched from early involvement (1961) to the pull out (1973/74) and some accounts from the aftermath. As my dad was a USMC Captain in Viet Nam, this was a great read, that triggered many different questions for him, that he was able to recall, with stunning detail, from 47 years ago.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    An excellent collection of oral accounts from the advisor era of the early 60's to the fall of Saigon in 1975. If you're studying the war, this book should be on the top of your reading pile. An excellent collection of oral accounts from the advisor era of the early 60's to the fall of Saigon in 1975. If you're studying the war, this book should be on the top of your reading pile.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Antoinette

    The Vietnam war never should have happened, this from the mouths of soldiers that were there and experienced the essence of this terrible war. Those new to Vietnam reflect on times when they felt like they were on vacation. Beautiful Vietnamese women were everywhere, and the bars were full. Then, they were thrown into vicious battles with people they perceived to be innocent. I am not scholarly enough to even begin to understand the Vietnam war. This book was suggested to me by a professor as a The Vietnam war never should have happened, this from the mouths of soldiers that were there and experienced the essence of this terrible war. Those new to Vietnam reflect on times when they felt like they were on vacation. Beautiful Vietnamese women were everywhere, and the bars were full. Then, they were thrown into vicious battles with people they perceived to be innocent. I am not scholarly enough to even begin to understand the Vietnam war. This book was suggested to me by a professor as a good starting point. It is everything you would expect it to be and more. Most importantly, it makes me want to learn more. A wide range of soldiers are interviewed, and their words were not edited. Horrifying.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Steve Woods

    This is a collection of memories and recollections of a variety of Americans who served in Vietnam. it is presented without any structure or comment. I suppose that has some value as a primary source document for people who have the context already but it's not much use to anyone else except to get a "flavor". It could have been better if it were presented in a different way. Still there were some gems contained here. I did enjoy reading it as a simple compilation, it's not much else. This is a collection of memories and recollections of a variety of Americans who served in Vietnam. it is presented without any structure or comment. I suppose that has some value as a primary source document for people who have the context already but it's not much use to anyone else except to get a "flavor". It could have been better if it were presented in a different way. Still there were some gems contained here. I did enjoy reading it as a simple compilation, it's not much else.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    I wasn't sure about this one when I started, I think I live in a world that is so full of the media's interpretation of war and violence that I am very much desensitized to it. Of course this book didn't stop that from happening, but it was extremely well written and really stuck me in such a way (perhaps because it was written by the vets themselves) that war isn't about bombs and guns and dying, war is about the people who fight it, the people who die in it. War is the people. I wasn't sure about this one when I started, I think I live in a world that is so full of the media's interpretation of war and violence that I am very much desensitized to it. Of course this book didn't stop that from happening, but it was extremely well written and really stuck me in such a way (perhaps because it was written by the vets themselves) that war isn't about bombs and guns and dying, war is about the people who fight it, the people who die in it. War is the people.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brett

    "an oral history of the vietnam war by 33 american soldiers who fought it". I found the vignettes to be highly readable,each giving different 1st hand perspective and contributing to overall understanding of the experience of those who fought in vietnam. the analysis of our veterans, men & woman, address tactical, social, cultural, aspects and psyche of those involved on both sides of this confrontation. "an oral history of the vietnam war by 33 american soldiers who fought it". I found the vignettes to be highly readable,each giving different 1st hand perspective and contributing to overall understanding of the experience of those who fought in vietnam. the analysis of our veterans, men & woman, address tactical, social, cultural, aspects and psyche of those involved on both sides of this confrontation.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I absolutely loved this book when I read it in college for a Recent History class. It is amazing to read first hand accounts from people who served in our military. This book really opened my eyes to the Vietnam war and the struggles that our soldiers endured.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dave Allen

    Dates and places will only take you so far. True history is realized in the stories of individual people, their sole struggle and successes. Santoli does a fantastic job putting together the stories of 33 Vietnam vets, each experiencing the war through a different lens. A must-read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    Tells it as they really saw it!

  25. 5 out of 5

    J.W.

    I'll never look at this war the same way again... I'll never look at this war the same way again...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sheik

    If you want to know why Vietnam Vets are so angry...read this book. WE WERE USED! It was for nothing and we knew it then, and we know it now.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dmatthews

    As much as a book can this gives a feel to what happened in Nam

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Nothing stands out as I do this inventory.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Debby

    This book is not fraud Ditch was married to my mother. I was 15.And more details of his death at Vietnam Triple Deuce website.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Miller

    Riveting and insightful account of the conflict by the men who fought in it. Another book I read when it first came out. It's gritty and raw. I highly recommend this book. Riveting and insightful account of the conflict by the men who fought in it. Another book I read when it first came out. It's gritty and raw. I highly recommend this book.

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