The Vietnam War: A History in Documents

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"The Vietnam War tells the story of one of the most divisive episodes in modern American history through primary sources, ranging from government documents, news reports, speeches, popular songs to memoirs, writings by Vietnam veterans (including coauthor John Fitzgerald), and poetry by Vietnamese and Americans on matching themes. The book begins in the 19th century when Vietnam became a French colony, and traces the insidious route by which the United States became involved in a war on the other side of the world."
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Editorial Reviews

Broadly speaking, historians mainly write two kinds of books. "Popular" histories are directed at the layperson and casual reader, and are usually researched from secondary sources—other books, articles, and the like. The more serious books, aimed at a discerning readership, invariably are researched from primary sources such as letters, diaries, official papers, documents, and so forth. The authors of this volume have taken a different approach: they present readers with a wide collection of historical source material, and leave it up to them to interpret the evidence for themselves. One of the Oxford University Press' Pages From History books, this title is a typically meaty example of the series. The Vietnam War, with all of its complexity and vehement feelings, makes a perfect forum for this approach. To this end, the authors present an impressive array of press stories, posters, foreign press reports, speeches, political cartoons and, especially, numerous photos that inflamed the public throughout the war. Because historical documents often contradict each other, the reader soon learns a vital lesson in sorting facts from opinion. Using original source documents in this way can take one of two different paths. The historical evidence can lead the researcher to genuine objectivity, or it can be selectively used merely to confirm a preexisting bias. That's another good lesson for students. (Pages From History). KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2002, Oxford Univ. Press, 173p. illus. bibliog. index.,
From the Publisher

"Simply terrific. If I were teaching the Vietnam War, I would rush to use it. The photos are extraordinary and the documents powerful. There is no better single volume on the war that makes the events and ideas come alive as this book does."--Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States

"Comprised of first- and second-hand accounts of American policy in Vietnam during the 1960s. Its primary sources are held together chronologically with narrative. Political cartoons, U.S. government files, Vietnamese iconography, and song lyrics by Bruce Springsteen are among the book's most compelling and evocative elements."--Hampshire Gazette

"Provides historials and students of history with a wealth of first-hand information missing from past conflicts. Those "primary sources"...provide the basis for a different way to teach history - allowing students to decide the meaning."--Longmeadow News

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195166354
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/17/2003
  • Series: Pages from History Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 657,187
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.80 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Marilyn B. Young is a Professor of History at New York University who specializes in the study and teaching of US-East Asian Relations.

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Table of Contents

What is a Document?
How to Read a Document
A Little History, By Way of Introduction

Chapter One: The First Indochina War

Vietnam Approaches America
America Responds

Chapter Two: Waist Deep in the Big Muddy

A Temporary Peace
Eisenhower's Vietnam
Kennedy's War

Chapter Three: America's War

The War Expands
The Public Debate

Chapter Four: Picture Essay: Selling Patriotism

Chapter Five: Going to War

Soldiers at War
Other Voices
The Condition of the Army

Chapter Six: A People Divided

The African-American Community
Opposition within the Military

Chapter Seven: Nixon's War

My Lai
The Nixon Doctrine
Bombing Hanoi to the Bargaining table

Chapter Eight: After the War

Looking Back

Further Reading and Websites
Text Credits
Picture Credits

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