Raised in rural northeastern Maryland, Jim Stewart spends his childhood playing baseball, catching frogs in the woods, and learning to play guitar. A personal tragedy strikes the day he graduates from high school. Jim finds the need to leave home and joins the army in February of 1966. After a grueling stint in basic training, Jim is shipped off to Vietnam as a military policeman. He endures mortar shelling, takes part in Operation Cedar Falls, and makes lifelong friends along the way. While stationed at Saigon, he even meets a girl, falls in love, and has a child. After his tour of duty ends, Jim returns to Vietnam determined to be with Mai. When he starts working at the Army Post Exchange in Saigon, Mai gives birth to their daughter. Jim insists they move to America, but Mai refuses. Jim then makes a decision that will haunt him the rest of his life. Rich with detail and brimming with emotion, Jim shares his extraordinary journey through a tumultuous time, revealing his internal struggles as he copes with "The Ghosts of Vietnam."
the ghosts of vietnam
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This book is a fascinating study of the Vietnamese experience and memory of the Vietnam War through the lens of popular imaginings about the wandering souls of the war dead. These ghosts of war play an important part in postwar Vietnamese historical narrative and imagination, and Heonik Kwon explores the intimate ritual ties with these unsettled identities which still survive in Vietnam today as well as the actions of those who hope to liberate these hidden but vital historical presences from their uprooted social existence. Taking a unique approach to the cultural history of war, he introduces gripping stories about spirits claiming social justice and about his own efforts to wrestle with the physical and spiritual presence of ghosts. Although these actions are fantastical, this book shows how examining their stories can illuminate critical issues of war and collective memory in Vietnam and the modern world more generally.
Drafted in October 1968, John A. Nesser left behind his wife and young son to fight in the controversial Vietnam War. Like many in his generation, he was deeply at odds with himself over the U.S. involvement in Vietnam, instilled with a strong sense of duty to his country but uncertain about its mission and his role in it. Nesser was deployed to the Ashau Valley, site of some of the war’s heaviest fighting, and served eight months as an infantry rifleman before transferring to become a door gunner for a Chinook helicopter. In this stirring memoir, he recalls in detail the exhausting missions in the mountainous jungle, the terror of walking into an ambush, the dull-edged anxiety that filled quiet days, and the steady fear of being shot out of the sky. The accounts are richly illustrated with Nesser’s own photographs of the military firebases and aircraft, the landscapes, and the people he encountered.
The author arrived at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego ill-prepared for the training and abuse that awaited him in boot camp. At the time, he would have done anything to escape; only upon reflection years later did he realize that the self-confidence instilled in him by his drill instructors had probably saved his life in Vietnam. A few months after boot camp, Private Ball was shipped out to Vietnam, joining F Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, near Khe Sanh. As a grunt, in the vernacular of the Corps, Ball, like the other youths of F Company, did a difficult and deadly job in such places as the A Shau Valley, Leatherneck Square, the DMZ and other obscure but critical I Corps locales. His—their—fear of death mingled with homesickness. Little did they realize that the horrors of the Vietnam War—horrors that while in-country they often claimed did not even exist—would haunt them for the rest of their lives.
A former war reporter examines the persistent myths about the Vietnam War, including the MIA question, the divisions among veteran and non-veteran it created, and the ongoing cultural and political relationship between America and Vietnam. UP.
Lt. Paul Gallagher was a member of a new breed, the men that wore the Green Berets. When the call of duty came, he was ready to fight a war with no end, in a far away place called Viet Nam. In a world turned upside down by war and bloodshed, the chief characters fight to stay alive, fighting a war where life was cheap and honor was a thing of the past. When they become prisoners of the Viet Cong, their skills are tested to the limits in an incredible game of survival where only the chosen few would make it.
More than most post-1970 conflicts involving US forces, the conflict in Iraq has been fought out against a background of frequently invoked memories from the era of the Vietnam War. The essays in this book offer a series of perspectives on connections and parallels between the Vietnam War and the 2003 invasion of, and conflict in, Iraq. The contributors particularly examine the impact of the Vietnam analogy on the War in Iraq, assessing the military tactical lessons learned from the Vietnam War and exploring the influence and persistence of its legacy in US politics, culture and diplomacy. The volume holds up to original interrogation some commonly held assumptions about historical analogy, and several distinguished authorities on the Vietnam War era, in particular, offer their thoughts on the value and applicability of Vietnam-Iraq parallels. If most contributions point out some obvious dissimilarities between the two eras, notably the transformed post-Cold War international environment, the similarities, particularly those relating to the problems of cultural misunderstanding, are also apparent. Vietnam in Iraq will be of great interest for all students and researchers of the Iraq War, strategic studies, international relations and American politics.
'thoroughly researched and compelling . . . a chilling account' - The Sun Herald An eye-opening account of Australian combat history, untold . . . until now. In 1969 a ragtag unit of 39 men were thrown together at Nui Dat, Vietnam. It was so slapdash a group it didn't even have an officer or sergeant in charge. A rugged ex-Royal Marine stepped forward to take the lead. Jim Riddle was only an acting corporal but he knew enough of war to keep these young diggers alive. When the platoon was involved in a high-risk ambush Riddle proved his leadership skills, bringing his men through unscathed and leaving the battlefield littered with enemy bodies. Despite their success, immediately afterwards the platoon was disbanded. According to the army they'd never existed – theirs was a ghost platoon. Frank Walker details what happened at that ambush and why the army buried their existence, and the secrets that went with it. His findings are a shocking indictment of the long-term effects of war. The men of the platoon – who'd fought so hard for their country – had to fight again to reveal the truth. But the price they all paid was far too high. Ghost Platoon is a gripping story of the soldiers who should never be forgotten . . . or denied.
From the launch of the “Shock and Awe” invasion in March 2003 through President George W. Bush’s declaration of “Mission Accomplished” two months later, the war in Iraq was meant to demonstrate definitively that the United States had learned the lessons of Vietnam. This new book makes clear that something closer to the opposite is true—that U.S. foreign policy makers have learned little from the past, even as they have been obsessed with the “Vietnam Syndrome.” Iraq and the Lessons of Vietnam brings together the country’s leading historians of the Vietnam experience. Examining the profound changes that have occurred in the country and the military since the Vietnam War, celebrated historians Marilyn B. Young and Lloyd Gardner have assembled a distinguished group to consider how America has again found itself in the midst of a war in which there is no chance of a speedy victory or a sweeping regime change. Iraq and the Lessons of Vietnam explores how the “Vietnam Syndrome” fits into the contemporary debate about the purpose and exercise of American power in the world. With contributions from some of the most renowned analysts of American history and foreign policy, this is an essential recovery of the forgotten and misbegotten lessons of Vietnam.