The Vietnam War Era: A Personal Journey

Overview

There are many lessons to be learned from the Vietnam War, foremost among them being that war as an instrument of peace is not viable. Solheim provides a full picture of the war era at home and in Southeast Asia by combining historical narrative with biographical profiles and personal reflections. He allows the story to unfold in multiple layers, as seen through the eyes of those who were involved on all sides of the conflict: the North Vietnamese, the South Vietnamese, the American generals and politicians, and ...
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Vietnam War Era: A Personal Journey

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Overview

There are many lessons to be learned from the Vietnam War, foremost among them being that war as an instrument of peace is not viable. Solheim provides a full picture of the war era at home and in Southeast Asia by combining historical narrative with biographical profiles and personal reflections. He allows the story to unfold in multiple layers, as seen through the eyes of those who were involved on all sides of the conflict: the North Vietnamese, the South Vietnamese, the American generals and politicians, and the American war correspondents and antiwar protestors.
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Editorial Reviews

Robert Mason

“As a participant in the Vietnam War, I was fascinated to read Bruce Solheim's take on what was going on behind the scenes. His personal experiences combined with dead-on historical research add depth and authenticity to this account. The Vietnam War Era is an excellent read for those curious to know how our politicians led us down such an ill-advised and ill-fated path.”—Robert Mason, author of Chickenhawk
Walter Jones

"A scholarly treatise on a haunting subject that requires ongoing and thorough examination. America's military actions in Southeast Asia and the resulting turmoil at home created a large and complex set of events that defy simple or easy explanations. Solheim's book will help students of the American war in Vietnam define and understand the issues involved in this tragic Cold War conflict. The volume is timely, gripping and infused with intelligent insight."—Walter Jones, Assistant Head of Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library University of Utah-Salt Lake City
Gary Hess

"Bruce Solheim's 'people's history' reminds us of the human dimensions of warfare. It underscores what Americans too often ignore—the Vietnamese as well as the American side of America's longest war. Solheim provides biographical sketches of a wide range of men and women, whose ideas, experiences, and roles illuminate the war. This is an important contribution."—Gary R. Hess, Distinguished Research Professor Bowling Green State University Former President of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations
Susan O'Neill

"Bruce Solheim's book is ideal for the classroom, with its historical narrative interspersed with profiles of the major players in the U.S. and Vietnam during and surrounding the war. But what gives it special relevance is his personal account of the era, told through child's-eye memoir, letters from his brother in Vietnam, and later musings on how his early experiences shaped the man he has become. It is this that sets it well above histories that deal in dates, battles and statistics, and brings home the persistent influence of this war on the Americans who were touched by it."—Susan O'Neill, author of Don't Mean Nothing: Short Stories of Viet Nam
Vietnam Veterans of America

“A unique and insightful look at [the Vietnam War] period. The first three-fourths of the book is an excellent summary of the history of the Vietnam War with enlightening sidebars on many people who were involved in it from Gen. Earle Wheeler to Oliver Stone. Solheim completes the book with a riveting account of his personal story, including details of his older brother's Vietnam War experiences and his two Army tours of duty after the Vietnam War.”—Vietnam Veterans of America
Robert Mason

“As a participant in the Vietnam War, I was fascinated to read Bruce Solheim's take on what was going on behind the scenes. His personal experiences combined with dead-on historical research add depth and authenticity to this account. The Vietnam War Era is an excellent read for those curious to know how our politicians led us down such an ill-advised and ill-fated path.”

—Robert Mason, author of Chickenhawk

Walter Jones

"A scholarly treatise on a haunting subject that requires ongoing and thorough examination. America's military actions in Southeast Asia and the resulting turmoil at home created a large and complex set of events that defy simple or easy explanations. Solheim's book will help students of the American war in Vietnam define and understand the issues involved in this tragic Cold War conflict. The volume is timely, gripping and infused with intelligent insight."

—Walter Jones, Assistant Head of Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library University of Utah-Salt Lake City

Gary Hess

"Bruce Solheim's ''people's history'' reminds us of the human dimensions of warfare. It underscores what Americans too often ignore—the Vietnamese as well as the American side of America's longest war. Solheim provides biographical sketches of a wide range of men and women, whose ideas, experiences, and roles illuminate the war. This is an important contribution."

—Gary R. Hess, Distinguished Research Professor Bowling Green State University Former President of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations

Susan O'Neill

"Bruce Solheim's book is ideal for the classroom, with its historical narrative interspersed with profiles of the major players in the U.S. and Vietnam during and surrounding the war. But what gives it special relevance is his personal account of the era, told through child's-eye memoir, letters from his brother in Vietnam, and later musings on how his early experiences shaped the man he has become. It is this that sets it well above histories that deal in dates, battles and statistics, and brings home the persistent influence of this war on the Americans who were touched by it."

—Susan O''Neill, author of Don''t Mean Nothing: Short Stories of Viet Nam

Vietnam Veterans of America

“A unique and insightful look at [the Vietnam War] period. The first three-fourths of the book is an excellent summary of the history of the Vietnam War with enlightening sidebars on many people who were involved in it from Gen. Earle Wheeler to Oliver Stone. Solheim completes the book with a riveting account of his personal story, including details of his older brother's Vietnam War experiences and his two Army tours of duty after the Vietnam War.”

From the Publisher

"Solheim presents a narrative history of the US war in Vietnam that generally focuses on the political and military decisions of top leaders from Eisenhower and Kennedy's early involvement through the Johnson and Nixon years. Interspersed throughout are short profiles of important individuals from the era, including General Creighton Abrams, Jane Fonda, Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap, Abbie Hoffman, Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, reporter Seymour Hersh, and Bob Dylan. At the end of the book, he offers his own autobiographical account of growing up in the Vietnam War era."

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Reference & Research Book News

"Bruce O. Solheim has taught the history of the Vietnam War for a dozen years. In his latest book, The Vietnam War Era: A Personal Journey, Solheim, an Army veteran and a history professor at Citrus College in California, has come up with a unique and insightful look at that period. The first three-fourths of the book is an excellent summary of the history of the Vietnam War with enlightening sidebars on many people who were involved in itfrom Gen. Earle Wheeler to Oliver Stone. Solheim completes the book with a riveting account of his personal story, including details of his older brothers Vietnam War experiences and his two Army tours of duty after the Vietnam War."

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Vietnam Veterans of America

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803217751
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2008
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 551,173
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


Bruce O. Solheim, a former U.S. Army aviator, is a professor of history and the volunteer veterans coordinator at Citrus College in Glendora, California. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including Women in Power: World Leaders since 1960 and The Nordic Nexus: A Lesson in Peaceful Security.
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Table of Contents


List of People Profiled ix Acknowledgments xi Preface xiii Chronology xv Introduction: A People's History 1 I Ancient Adversaries, Adventurers, and Advisors, 1000 bc to 1963
1 Origins of Vietnamese Nationalism 9
2 French-Viet Minh War 13
3 Enter America 23 Nation Building with Eisenhower 23 Kennedy and Vietnam 31 II Packs and Rifles, 1964-1967
4 Escalation 47
5 American Strategies 57 Air War 57 Ground War: Search and Destroy 61
6 Leadership in North Vietnam 69 III Fighting for Peace, 1968-1972
7 The War at Home 79
8 Peace with Honor 91
9 Exit America 99 IV Back in the World, 1973-1975
10 Home Front 107 Anti-war Protesting 110 The Media, Public Opinion, and the War 116
11 A Decent Interval 123 Watergate 126 End of the War 128 The Debated Legacy of Vietnam 129
12 Personal History 133 Paris of the East 133 The Nuclear Family 134 Where Is Vietnam? 136 We Gotcha Now 137 I Shall Return 139 TDY 140 Vietnamization on the Half Shell 143 Fighting for Peace 149 The Machine 152 It Ain't Over till It's Over 155 My Brother's Keeper 157 Be All You Can Be 160 The Fool 164 Santayana's Warning 167 An Officer and a Gentleman 168 E Pluribus Unum 172 Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow 174 Unacceptable Loss 176 Teaching 179 Bruce's Return 183 The War Comes Home 183 Conclusion: That Faraway Place in All of Us 187 Afterword 201 Notes 213 Selected Bibliography 221 Index 225
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