Review – Voices from Vietnam
Between 1965 and 1975, the Vietnam War claimed over 58,000 American lives, many thousands more Allied troops from Australia, New Zealand and South Korea, as well as hundreds of thousands of troops and civilians from North and South Vietnam. The conflict changed the political and social landscape of the United States and Vietnam and greatly affected US foreign policy, reshaping the source of the Cold War. Thirty years after its end, the war remains a focal point in the lives of those who served in it and those who protested it. Its long shadow reaches into the twenty-first century as a reminder, a lesson, and a warning.
Collected here are the moving and fascinating experiences of the men and women who witnessed and participated in the Vietnam War. From officers, soldiers, pilots, and medics to civilians in America who witnessed the domestic upheaval, these voices give a vivid and poignant insight into the saga that was the Vietnam War. Voices from Vietnam features previously unpublished eye-witness accounts and rare archival photographs gathered from the Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech University. The stories offer a unique opportunity to understand the conflict from its beginnings to its conclusion from the perspectives of those involved.
I know this section is entitled Praise but I feel the need to begin with a few concerns: the font in this book, in my fifty-year-old opinion, was too small to read comfortably. The index was even worse – at approximately size 8.
Reading Voices from Vietnam, you get the impression that, like Charlie Company, here is a non-censured collection of real-life accounts from the Vietnam War. It was at times brash, at times shy, sometimes vulgar but always rang with honesty. The editorial comments which intersperse the soldiers’ words help correct the grammar and mechanics of the story-tellers, explain and expand on the situation, but never judge. I felt the photos (few and far between) were much more far-removed emotionally; they didn’t seem to belong to the soldiers whose voices filled the pages.
Voices from Vietnam, Eye-witness Accounts of the War 1954 – 1975 by Richard Burks Verrone and Laura M Calkins with a foreword by Joseph L Galloway was collected from the Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech University but published by David & Charles Books of the UK. The back of the book lists it as $24.99. I bought my copy at an over-stock store for $5.00. My favorite bookstore did not have it listed, but one of the most popular online stores has new and used copies for ninety-one cents.
Also available from the publisher directly at
David & Charles Direct
The authors are well-versed in the subject of Vietnam. Both have doctorates dealing with the history of Vietnam. Dr. Verrone taught in Vietnam. I believe Voices from Vietnam would be an excellent addition to an academic’s bookshelf. But have a magnifying glass at hand.
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