The Other Side of Grief: The Home Front and the Aftermath in American Narratives of the Vietnam Warby Maureen Ryan
Pub. Date: 12/03/2008
Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press
The lingering aftereffects of the Vietnam War resonate to this day throughout American society: in foreign policy, in attitudes about the military and war generally, and in the contemporary lives of members of the so-called baby boom generation who came of age during the 1960s and early 1970s. While the best-known personal accounts of the war tend to center on
The lingering aftereffects of the Vietnam War resonate to this day throughout American society: in foreign policy, in attitudes about the military and war generally, and in the contemporary lives of members of the so-called baby boom generation who came of age during the 1960s and early 1970s. While the best-known personal accounts of the war tend to center on the experience of combat, Maureen Ryan's The Other Side of Grief examines the often overlooked narratives -- novels, short stories, memoirs, and films -- that document the war's impact on the home front.
In analyzing the accounts of Vietnam veterans, women as well as men, Ryan focuses on the process of readjustment, on how the war continued to insinuate itself into their lives, their families, and their communities long after they returned home. She looks at the writings of women whose husbands, lovers, brothers, and sons served in Vietnam and whose own lives were transformed as a result. She also appraises the experiences of the POWs who came to be embraced as the war's only heroes; the ordeal of Vietnamese refugees who fled their "American War" to new lives in the United States; and the influential movement created by those who committed themselves to protesting the war.
The end result of Ryan's investigations is a cogent synthesis of the vast narrative literature generated by the Vietnam War and its aftermath. Together those stories powerfully demonstrate how deeply the legacies of the war penetrated American culture and continue to reverberate still.
University of Massachusetts Press
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Vietnam War and Modern Memory 1
Chapter 1 MIA in America: Vietnam Aftermath Narratives 13
Chapter 2 The Other Side of Grief: American Women Writers and the Vietnam War 60
Chapter 3 Years of Darkness: Narratives by and about American Prisoners of the Vietnam War 98
Chapter 4 The Fugitive's Hour: The Counterculture and the Vietnam Antiwar Movement in American Fiction 152
Chapter 5 Something Strange and Extravagant: Personal Histories by Vietnam Antiwar Movement Activists 206
Chapter 6 People Singing a Sad Song: Vietnamese Exiles in American Literature 252
Conclusion: We Were All There 294
Works Cited 313
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