We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War available in Paperback
For a Kentucky rifleman who spent his tour trudging through Vietnam's Central Highlands, it was Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'." For a "tunnel rat" who blew smoke into the Viet Cong's underground tunnels, it was Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze." For a black marine distraught over the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., it was Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools." And for countless other Vietnam vets, it was "I Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die," "Who'll Stop the Rain," or the song that gives this book its title.
In We Gotta Get Out of This Place, Doug Bradley and Craig Werner place popular music at the heart of the American experience in Vietnam. They explore how and why U.S. troops turned to music as a way of connecting to each other and the World back home and of coping with the complexities of the war they had been sent to fight. They also demonstrate that music was important for every group of Vietnam veteransblack and white, Latino and Native American, men and women, officers and "grunts"whose personal reflections drive the book's narrative. Many of the voices are those of ordinary soldiers, airmen, seamen, and marines. But there are also "solo" pieces by veterans whose writings have shaped our understanding of the warKarl Marlantes, Alfredo Vea, Yusef Komunyakaa, Bill Ehrhart, Arthur Flowersas well as songwriters and performers whose music influenced soldiers' lives, including Eric Burdon, James Brown, Bruce Springsteen, Country Joe McDonald, and John Fogerty. Together their testimony taps into memoriesindividual and culturalthat capture a central if often overlooked component of the American war in Vietnam.
|Publisher:||University of Massachusetts Press|
|Series:||Culture and Politics in the Cold War and Beyond Series|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Doug Bradley, a Vietnam veteran, teaches a course on the war with Craig Werner, professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Wisconsin--Madison and author of Higher Ground: Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield, and the Rise and Fall of American Soul.
University of Massachusetts Press
What People are Saying About This
Doug and Craig's program based on their book We Gotta Get Out of Here: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War is outstanding. They grab your attention from the start and the music transports you. It's amazing to hear the music and the effect it had on the soldiers. You come away with a whole new perspective on the war and the music of the era.
When you realize the average age of a combat soldier in Vietnam was 19, you can better appreciate how music would be indelibly written into the experiences of that powerfully formative time. This amazing book does justice to conveying the power and emotional impact of music throughout that era.
We all love popular music and we all love soldiers. All we have left is memories. Maybe there is something to learn from this book, from their experiences, from the music. God, I hope so.
Through the testimonies Bradley and Werner collect we see, firsthand, how music provides a window into the war and tensions over generation, region, and race. Music becomes much more than an artifact of culture; it is the stuff of memory and part of the complex ways we all make meaning.
I spoke with Doug Bradley and Craig Werner before apacked house at Mystery to Me about their extraordinary new book,We Gotta Get Out of This Place,whichtakes an insightful and nuanced look atthe music of the Vietnam War. Doug and Craigplayed the music, and talked about the vets and musicians they had interviewed. I think it'ssafe to say no one who was there that night will soon forget it.
By letting the veterans and the music do the talking, Werner and Bradley take readers on a journey through the tension, sorrow, fear, and hope that defined American men and women's service in Vietnam. The diversity of voices and songs reminds us that the home front and the battlefront are always connected and that music and war are deeply intertwined.
Of the many ways to relate the story of the Vietnam war, few are more vibrant and accessible than the way Doug Bradley and Craig Werner tell it. I devoured this book.
If you want to understand what it felt like, outside of combat itself, to live through and be part of the Vietnam War, read this book. Then, go listen to the music. I did both and I urge you to do the same.
We Gotta Get Out of This Place is chock full of materials that present multi-voiced memories of how popular music related to the experiences of American GIs in and after the Vietnam War. The book will appeal to veterans, and in many ways is written by, for, and to them. But students and fans of popular music history, the history of the 1960s, and the history of war will also find it an engaging and worthwhile read.
Bradley and Werner understand more kinds of music, more songs, and more troops of more kinds than anyone else who's written about the American military experience in Vietnam. Whether you read it because you are interested in the war, the music, the politics, or because you're still trying to figure out what Hell was going on, We Gotta Get Out of This Place will be a revelation.