Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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p. vii

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Preface

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pp. xi-xvi

One of the first Vietnam War stories I ever heard was about a Viet Cong prisoner. In fact, I heard the story several times as I talked to my father, a two-time Vietnam veteran, for school projects in middle school, high school, and college. My fascination with the Vietnam War stemmed from the emotion and mystery that...

Acronyms and Abbreviations

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pp. xvii-xvii

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IntroductIon: A War Refined: Reframing the Narrative of the Vietnam War

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pp. 3-22

When Phil Kiver got out of the military in 2005, he published a diary about his experiences as a U.S. Army journalist who deployed in the global war on terror. His story emphasizes the danger, privation, and sacrifice endured by American troops, elements that are typical fare in memoirs of conflict. Where Kiver’s book departs from...

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ONE: Same Side, Different Wars: Grunts and REMFs in Vietnam

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pp. 23-65

Somewhere outside Saigon, a large black-and-white sign stood by the side of the road: “warning: You Are About to Enter One of the Most Dangerous Combat Areas in Viet-Nam / A Public Highway / Please Drive Carefully.”1 This sign, and others like it, used the war as a metaphor to make a clever comment on local traffic, that a Vietnamese...

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TWO: This Place Just Isn’t John Wayne: U.S. Military Bases in Vietnam

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pp. 66-106

In 1998, the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation opened its Vietnam Era Educational Center in Holmdel, New Jersey, the first permanent museum dedicated to the Vietnam War in the United States. The ribbon-cutting ceremony followed months of controversy in which local veterans condemned the content of...

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THREE: Total War on Boredom: The U.S. Military’s Recreation Program in Vietnam

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pp. 107-144

The North Vietnamese and their southern allies, the National Liberation Front (Viet Cong), often had little to sustain them in their war with the United States and its ally, South Vietnam. As Ho Chi Minh put it when facing similar odds against the French in 1946, “I have no army. I have no finance. I have no diplomacy. I have no...

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FOUR: The Things They Bought: G.I. Consumerism in Vietnam

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pp. 145-181

Since its publication in 1990, Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried has emerged as one of the defining works of Vietnam War literature. An exemplar of nonlinear storytelling that blurs the lines between novel and nonfiction, the book is a fixture in high school English classrooms, where students grind through the humor...

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FIVE: War Zone Wonderland: The Strange World of “the Nam”

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pp. 182-221

In 1969, the Phuoc Vinh Special Services club sponsored a “Cavalry Carnival” to lift the spirits of the 1,000 Skytroopers of the 1st Air Cavalry Division. To encourage participation in the event’s planning, service club workers created a contest in which the unit that came up with the best amusement booth would win a new television...

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EPILOGUE: From Vietnam to Iraq: Reimagining the American Way of War

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pp. 222-248

During his 2004–5 deployment to Iraq, Alex Barnes struggled with the same kinds of questions that plagued rearward soldiers in Vietnam decades earlier: What is my role here? What does my contribution mean? How does my war experience compare with those of my fellow soldiers and those of soldiers in wars past? As a member...

Notes

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pp. 249-276

Bibliography

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pp. 277-288

Index

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pp. 289-295