Strange Ground: Americans in Vietnam, 1945-1975

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The 65 Americans who shared their vivid memories with Maurer ( Not Working ) include secretaries, PR men, agricultural advisers, missionaries, surgical assistants, relief workers, psychiatrists, CIA agents and anti-war activists who visited Hanoi. Combat vets are in the minority here. Very bluntly they relate their experiences in Vietnam, starting with an OSS man who offered official aid to Ho Chi Minh in 1945 (the sign at Ho's camp said ``Welcome to Our American Friends'') and ending with a guilt-ridden account by a State Department official involved in the 1975 evacuation. In between: a black Army sergeant who thoroughly enjoyed his combat tour; a clerk who found Vietnam a homosexual paradise; a psychiatrist assigned to treat men for whom Vietnam itself had become a phobia; a GI who regarded the country as a drug supermarket; a secretary who says of her sojourn in Vietnam, ``I had fun there. I loved it . . . . '' But the book is not an upbeat view of the war. On the contrary, it may be the most gut-wrenching, heartrending account to date. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Over 60 witnesses to the warfare in Vietnam present their recollections. Since there is an abundance of published memoirs by Vietnam veterans, most notably Al Santoli's Everything We Had ( LJ 4/15/81), the stories of greatest interest here are those covering the early years before heavy American involvement, e.g., an Army major describes his mission at the end of World War II to infiltrate Indochina and conduct guerrilla operations against the Japanese. There are fascinating descriptions of Ho Chi Minh, who worked with the Americans against the Japanese and tried to persuade the United States to support him in his war of independence. A valuable perspective. Richard W. Grefrath, Univ. of Nevada Lib., Reno
School Library Journal
YA-- A strangely compelling book that records a whole spectrum of viewpoints held by Americans who served in Vietnam. The 62 interviewees (diplomats, physicians, officers, CIA operatives, USAID people) represent all types of involvement in the Vietnam War, and the book clearly shows how these individuals were improperly prepared for what they would find there. In addition, it shows how vacillating objectives of the U. S. government led to a series of failures in all programs performed in Vietnam, causing the interviewees to suffer a sense of hopelessness and futility for having given so much for so few accomplishments. Through this book, students will learn about the common experiences of the Americans and the Vietnamese who waged the recent war in Southeast Asia. Another source to be considered is Neil Scheehan's The Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vanna and America in Vietnam (Random, 1988). --Hien Duc Nguyen, Port Arthur I.S.D., TX
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380709311
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/28/1990
  • Pages: 656

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