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The Story of Agent Orange
The war in Vietnam, spanning more than twenty years, was one of the most divisive conflicts ever to envelop the United States, and its complexity and consequences did not end with the fall of Saigon in 1975. As Peter Sills demonstrates in Toxic War, veterans faced a new enemy beyond post-traumatic stress disorder or debilitating battle injuries. Many of them faced a new, more pernicious, slow-killing enemy: the cancerous effects of Agent Orange.
Originally introduced by Dow and other chemical companies as a herbicide in the United States and adopted by the military as a method of deforesting the war zone of Vietnam, in order to deny the enemy cover, Agent Orange also found its way into the systems of numerous active-duty soldiers. Sills argues that manufacturers understood the dangers of this compound and did nothing to protect American soldiers.
Toxic War takes the reader behind the scenes into the halls of political power and industry, where the debates about the use of Agent Orange and its potential side effects raged. In the end, the only way these veterans could seek justice was in the court of law and public opinion. Unprecedented in its access to legal, medical, and government documentation, as well as to the personal testimonies of veterans, Toxic War endeavors to explore all sides of this epic battle.
A Medal of Honor, Vietnam, and the War at Home
Born in rural Illinois, Ken Kays was a country boy who flunked out of college and wound up serving as a medic in the Vietnam War. On May 7, 1970, after only 17 days in Vietnam and one day after joining a new platoon, the young medic found himself in a ferocious battle. As a conscientious objector, Kays did not carry any weapons, but his actions during that engagement would earn him the Congressional Medal of Honor. Yet Kays' valor came during just another unheralded fire fight near the end of a long and seemingly fruitless war. He returned home and, with other vets, struggled to reconcile his anti-war beliefs with what he and others had done in Vietnam. This dramatic and tragic story is a timely reminder of the price of war and the fragile comforts of peace.
An American Paratrooper and the 1972 Battle for An Loc
A History of Vietnam Veterans Against the War
The anti-Vietnam War movement in the United States is perhaps best remembered for its young, counterculture student protesters. However, the Vietnam War was the first conflict in American history in which a substantial number of military personnel actively protested the war while it was in progress.
In The Turning, Andrew Hunt reclaims the history of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), an organization that transformed the antiwar movement by placing Vietnam veterans in the forefront of the nationwide struggle to end the war. Misunderstood by both authorities and radicals alike, VVAW members were mostly young men who had served in Vietnam and returned profoundly disillusioned with the rationale for the war and with American conduct in Southeast Asia. Angry, impassioned, and uncompromisingly militant, the VVAW that Hunt chronicles in this first history of the organization posed a formidable threat to America's Vietnam policy and further contributed to the sense that the nation was under siege from within.
Based on extensive interviews and in-depth primary research, including recently declassified government files, The Turning is a vivid history of the men who risked censures, stigma, even imprisonment for a cause they believed to be "an extended tour of duty."
A South Vietnamese General Remembers the Indochina War to the Fall of Saigon
For Victor Hugo, the nineteenth century could be remembered by only its first two years, which established peace in Europe and France's supremacy on the continent. For General Lam Quang Thi, the twentieth century had only twenty-five years: from 1950 to 1975, during which the Republic of Vietnam and its Army grew up and collapsed with the fall of Saigon. This is the story of those twenty-five years. General Thi fought in the Indochina War as a battery commander on the side of the French. When Viet Minh aggression began after the Geneva Accords, he served in the nascent Vietnamese National Army, and his career covers this army's entire lifespan. He was deputy commander of the 7th Infantry Division, and in 1965 he assumed command of the 9th Infantry Division. In 1966, at the age of thirty-three, he became one of the youngest generals in the Vietnamese Army. He participated in the Tet Offensive before being removed from the front lines for political reasons. When North Vietnam launched the 1972 Great Offensive, he was brought back to the field and eventually promoted to commander of an Army Corps Task Force along the Demilitarized Zone. With the fall of Saigon, he left Vietnam and emigrated to the United States. Like his tactics during battle, General Thi pulls no punches in his denunciation of the various regimes of the Republic, and complacency and arrogance toward Vietnam in the policies of both France and the United States. Without lapsing into bitterness, this is finally a tribute to the soldiers who fell on behalf of a good cause.
The CIA and Counterinsurgency
Vietnam Declassified is a detailed account of the CIA’s effort to help South Vietnamese authorities win the loyalty of the Vietnamese peasantry and suppress the Viet Cong. Covering the CIA engagement from 1954 to mid-1972, it provides a thorough analysis of the agency and its partners. Retired CIA operative and intelligence consultant Thomas L. Ahern Jr. is the first to comprehensively document the CIA’s role in the rural pacification of South Vietnam, drawing from secret archives to which he had unrestricted access. In addition to a chronology of operations, the book explores the assumptions, political values, and cultural outlooks of not only the CIA and other U.S. government agencies, but also of the peasants, Viet Cong, and Saigon government forces competing for their loyalty. The depth of Ahern’s research combined with the timely relevance of his analysis to current events in the Middle East makes this title an important addition to military literature.
Veterans, Memorials, and the Politics of Healing
A study of American attempts to come to terms with the legacy of the Vietnam War, this book highlights the central role played by Vietnam veterans in shaping public memory of the war. Tracing the evolution of the image of the Vietnam veteran from alienated dissenter to traumatized victim to noble warrior, Patrick Hagopian describes how efforts to commemorate the war increasingly downplayed the political divisions it spawned in favor of a more unifying emphasis on honoring veterans and promoting national “healing.”