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Vietnam war?

(19 Posts)
graysor Sat 28-Oct-17 21:00:12

Does anyone have any recommendations for good books about the Viet Nam war? I'm watching a bbc 4 series about the war, which is fascinating and awful. And I'd like to find out more. I never studied it at school, and knew next to nothing before watching this series.
Any good suggestions? Thanks!

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Sat 28-Oct-17 21:07:20

Slaughterhouse Five?

I've just started this but not getting on very well with it so far tbh.

CMOTDibbler Sat 28-Oct-17 21:22:08

I am blatantly placemarking as I keep meaning to read about the Vietnam war. I'm currently reading a Max Hastings book about the Korean war which is very good

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Sat 28-Oct-17 21:29:12

You MUST read If I Die In a Combat Zone (non-fiction) and The Things They Carried (fiction but based on his own experiences), both by Tim O’Brien.

I have never read any Vietnam War stuff before and they are both bloody brilliant.

Lots of fascinating interviews with him on YouTube too.

sadeyedladyofthelowlands63 Sun 29-Oct-17 09:54:29

You MUST read If I Die In a Combat Zone

Dispatches by Michael Herr is another must.

fatowl Sun 29-Oct-17 14:02:43

I read this a few months ago:


It starts in the 1920s and follows several characters, culminating in the Vietnam War. It was well reviewed on Goodreads and Amazon. I found it dragged in places, but a decent read.

ExileinGuyville Sun 29-Oct-17 18:35:24

In addition to the Tim O'Briens mentioned earlier, I'd recommend Nam by Mark Baker and Long Time Passing by Myra McPherson, they're both really intense as they're heavily based on interviews with veterans, all the harder to read as they were pretty much just kids when they were in Vietnam.

outabout Sun 29-Oct-17 18:38:48

The tunnels of Chu Chi is an interesting book showing the ingenuity if the VC against overwhelming US 'power'.

tripfiction Mon 30-Oct-17 12:21:42

Good suggestions above.

In addition you could try (fiction can often help probe a little further) -
The Headmaster's Wager
Fields of Fire

Hope that helps!

graysor Mon 30-Oct-17 20:39:07

Ooh great, lots of suggestions here. Thanks everyone. I'll definitely investigate all of these.

Halsall Tue 31-Oct-17 23:00:06

Graham Greene's 'The Quiet American'. It's set in Vietnam well before the full-on American involvement but it's fascinating to read his very subtle take on how the awful picture was just starting to build. And how he pretty much saw the way it would go.

I'm gripped by the TV documentary too. Unmissable but so tragic and doomed from the outset.

MsAmerica Tue 31-Oct-17 23:23:09

Is the BBC showing the Ken Burns series, or is it something of its own? I watched the Burns series, and, same here, I knew almost nothing, and was rushing home every night to see the next program.

I haven't read the books, but from what I've heard, some of the best are:
The Best and the Brightest, by David Halberstam
A Bright Shining Lie, by Neil Sheehan
Dispatches, by Michael Herr
Fire in the Lake, by Frances Fitzgerald

Halsall Tue 31-Oct-17 23:32:57

Yep, it's the Ken Burns series, Ms

graysor Wed 01-Nov-17 21:47:26

I did read the quiet American a while ago. But it might be worth a re read, as I think I'd understand the context a lot better now. I suspect it went a bit over my head before.

Midgeurecheddar Thu 02-Nov-17 17:57:15

My favourite non fiction Vietnam book is Dear America: Letters Home From Vietnam by Bernard Edelman. Incredibly moving, many of the letters in the book were written by soldiers who never made it home.

lljkk Thu 02-Nov-17 18:10:47

Somebody mentioned Dispatches the other day. It's on my shelves somewhere. I don't reread many books, but think it would be a good one for me to dig out.

LineysRun Thu 02-Nov-17 18:19:57

Brilliantly researched and written, and a very important account of how one the worst pieces of brutality in Vietnam was exposed by good people (so bleak but punctuated by quiet heroes) -

Four hours in My Lai by Michael Sim and Michael Bilton.

Also a documentary film.

StepAwayFromCake Thu 02-Nov-17 18:26:28

A Rumor of War

CharlieandLolaCat Thu 02-Nov-17 19:41:13

Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes. Brilliant book.

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