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Facing My Lai: Moving beyond the Massacre

Overview

The My Lai massacre of March 16, 1968, and the court martial of Lt. William Calley a year and a half later are among the bleakest episodes in American history and continue to provide a volatile focus for debates about the Vietnam War. This book presents a gathering of writers, including journalists Seymour Hersh and David Halberstam, novelist Tim O'Brien, historian Stephen E. Ambrose, psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton, military prosecutor William Eckhardt, and veterans Hugh Thompson and Ron Ridenhour - the two true ...
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Overview

The My Lai massacre of March 16, 1968, and the court martial of Lt. William Calley a year and a half later are among the bleakest episodes in American history and continue to provide a volatile focus for debates about the Vietnam War. This book presents a gathering of writers, including journalists Seymour Hersh and David Halberstam, novelist Tim O'Brien, historian Stephen E. Ambrose, psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton, military prosecutor William Eckhardt, and veterans Hugh Thompson and Ron Ridenhour - the two true heroes in the My Lai story. Together they demonstrate why this tragedy remains one of the key emblems of the American experience in Vietnam. These authors address many of the troubling questions that still persist about My Lai. But these questions are asked again in the hope that they might lead to a better understanding of what My Lai means for us now.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
For this somewhat emotional book commemorating the 30th anniversary of the My Lai massacre on March 16, 1968, Anderson edited the transcripts of a 1994 conference concerning the events at My Lai. The first few chapters deal with the facts and testimony of witnesses. The remaining chapters are round-table discussions from the conference dealing with the massacre for which Lt. William Calley was ultimately court-martialed. The participants included veterans Ron Ridenhour and Hugh Thompson and experienced reporters such as David Halberstam and Seymour Hersh, who both won Pulitzer prizes for their Vietnam reporting. This well-written book brings out all those emotions that are part of the Vietnam experience, and, as the subtitle suggests, reading it does provide a catharsis. With appeal for both general and informed lay readers; recommended for all history collections.
Library Journal
For this somewhat emotional book commemorating the 30th anniversary of the My Lai massacre on March 16, 1968, Anderson edited the transcripts of a 1994 conference concerning the events at My Lai. The first few chapters deal with the facts and testimony of witnesses. The remaining chapters are round-table discussions from the conference dealing with the massacre for which Lt. William Calley was ultimately court-martialed. The participants included veterans Ron Ridenhour and Hugh Thompson and experienced reporters such as David Halberstam and Seymour Hersh, who both won Pulitzer prizes for their Vietnam reporting. This well-written book brings out all those emotions that are part of the Vietnam experience, and, as the subtitle suggests, reading it does provide a catharsis. With appeal for both general and informed lay readers; recommended for all history collections.
Booknews
A stellar group of writers -- including journalists Seymour Hersh and David Halberstam, novelist Tim O'Brien, historian Stephen E. Ambrose, psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton, military prosecutor William Eckhardt, and veterans Hugh Thompson and Ron Ridenhour -- address many of the troubling questions that still persist about My Lai. Their unflinching truth-will-set-you-free approach reexamines these questions with the hope that they might lead to a better understanding of what My Lai means for us now.
Vietnam
Impressive . . . All sides of the arguments are presented. Readers will find it hard to put down.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
An important and timely book.
Indianapolis Star
A crucial book filled with much passion and insight.
Journal of Military History
Makes it less possible for Americans to forget and thus to repeat the mistakes that led to the tragedy in Vietnam.
Marine Corps Gazette
If I were to suggest only one book to give officers interested in the My Lai massacre, this would be it.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780700608645
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Series: Modern War Studies Series
  • Pages: 258
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 9.59 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction: What Really Happened? 1
1 Looking into the Abyss: Bearing Witness to My Lai and Vietnam 19
2 Experiencing the Darkness: An Oral History 27
3 Reporting the Darkness: The Role of the Press in the Vietnam War 53
4 Carrying the Darkness: Literary Approaches to Atrocity 77
5 What Kind of War Was the Vietnam War? 95
6 Atrocities in Historical Perspective 107
7 The Law of War: The Case of My Lai 121
8 Individuals and the Trauma of War 139
9 Military Lessons Learned 153
10 The Mystery of My Lai 171
11 Healing the Wounds 179
Afterword: Twenty-five Years After 193
Appendices 201
Ron Ridenhour's Letter of March 29, 1969 201
Excerpt from Peers Report of March 14, 1970 207
Why Study Vietnam? 213
Bibliographic Essay 223
List of Participants 229
Index 233
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