Voices from the Vietnam War: Stories from American, Asian, and Russian Veterans

Voices from the Vietnam War: Stories from American, Asian, and Russian Veterans

by Xiaobing Li


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The Vietnam War's influence on politics, foreign policy, and subsequent military campaigns is the center of much debate and analysis. But the impact on veterans across the globe, as well as the war's effects on individual lives and communities, is a largely neglected issue. As a consequence of cultural and legal barriers, the oral histories of the Vietnam War currently available in English are predictably one-sided, providing limited insight into the inner workings of the Communist nations that participated in the war. Furthermore, many of these accounts focus on combat experiences rather than the backgrounds, belief systems, and social experiences of interviewees, resulting in an incomplete historiography of the war.

Chinese native Xiaobing Li corrects this oversight in Voices from the Vietnam War: Stories from American, Asian, and Russian Veterans. Li spent seven years gathering hundreds of personal accounts from survivors of the war, accounts that span continents, nationalities, and political affiliations. The twenty-two intimate stories in the book feature the experiences of American, Chinese, Russian, Korean, and North and South Vietnamese veterans, representing the views of both anti-Communist and Communist participants, including Chinese officers of the PLA, a Russian missile-training instructor, and a KGB spy. These narratives humanize and contextualize the war's events while shedding light on aspects of the war previously unknown to Western scholars. Providing fresh perspectives on a long-discussed topic, Voices from the Vietnam War offers a thorough and unique understanding of America's longest war.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813136578
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 03/07/2012
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 296
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Xiaobing Li, professor and chair of the Department of History and Geography and director of the Western Pacific Institute at the University of Central Oklahoma, is the author of China at War (2011), Civil Liberties in China (2010), A History of the Modern Chinese Army (2007), and coauthor of Voices from the Korean War (2004) and Mao's General Remember Korea (2002). He served in the People's Liberation Army in China.

Table of Contents

List of Maps ix

List of Photographs x

Abbreviations xi

Note on Transliteration xiii

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction: The Long War 1

Part 1 A Country Divided

1 A Buddhist Soldier Defends a Catholic Government 15

2 Surviving the Bloody Jungle 23

3 Electronic Reconnaissance vs. Guerrillas 31

4 Communist Regulars from the North 39

5 People's War against Americans 47

6 No Final Victory, No Family Life 55

Part 2 Hanoi's Comrades

7 Russian Missile Officers in Vietnam 65

8 The Dragons Tale: Chinese Troops in the Jungle 73

9 Chinese Response to the U.S. Roiling Thunder Campaign 85

10 Russian Spies in Hanoi 93

Part 3 Saigon's Allies

11 Long Days and Endless Nights: An Artillery Story 101

12 And Then They're Gone… Just Like That 111

13 No John Wayne Movie: Real Bullets, Real Blood 123

14 More Than Meets the Eye: Supporting the Intelligence Effort 131

Part 4 Doctors and Nurses

15 Medevac and Medcap Missions and More 143

16 Drowning Tears with Laughter 153

17 Life and Death of an ARVN Doctor 165

18 A Korean Captain and His Hospital 177

Part 5 Logistics Support

19 "Loggie's" War: Napalm, Fuel, Bombs, and Sweat 191

20 Support and Survival in Thailand 199

21 Three Great Escapes 205

22 Chinese Railroad Engineering Operations 215

Conclusion: Perspectives on the War 223

Notes 229

Selected Bibliography 251

Index 269

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