Publisher synopsis: In "Vietnam", American author and professor, Christian G. Appy has created a staggering and monumental oral history of the type that is created only once in a generation. The vivid accounts of 135 men and women span the entire history of the Vietnam conflict from its murky origins in the 1940s to the chaotic fall of Saigon in 1975. The testimony in this book, sometimes detached and reflective, often raw and emotional, allows us to see and feel what this war meant to people on all sides - Americans and Vietnamese, generals and guerillas, policy makers and protesters, CIA operatives, pilots and doctors, artists and journalists, and a variety of ordinary citizens whose lives were swept up in a cataclysm that killed three million people. By turns harrowing, inspiring and revelatory, Vietnam is not a chronicle of facts and figures but a human history of the war. It makes clear what made the Vietnam War one of the most significant conflicts of the twentieth century and why it continues to generate such bitterly divisive moral and political debate.
The voices in it show us how hard the war was fought, how much it destroyed, how passionately it was protested, and how far it reached into every crevice of daily life in both countries. Those involved speak eloquently, answering many of the toughest questions about the war that, until now, have too often been met with silence.