Vietnam: A View from the Front Lines

Andrew Wiest. Osprey (Random, dist.), $25.95 (312p) ISBN 978-1-84908-972-2
Wiest has a good feel for the human side of the Vietnam War—his previous book, The Boys of ‘67 (2012), chronicled the lives of the men of the 4th Battalion, 47th Infantry of the Army’s 9th Infantry Division, the only U.S. unit that was raised, drafted, and trained for service in Vietnam. In his newest, the University of Southern Mississippi professor compiles a creditable oral history of soldiers and marines who saw combat in Vietnam. Many are members of one company of the unit he wrote about in his previous book, while other stories come from the Oral History Project at Texas Tech University’s Vietnam Center and Archive, or from widows, sisters, and mothers of soldiers killed in action. Wiest arranges the oral testimonies in chronological chapters, beginning with a concise contextualization before seguing into the men’s individual experiences. Wiest asserts that there “was no single, generic military experience for infantrymen and Marines in Vietnam,” but he still provides a good sampling of what the war was like for American men fighting at the ground level—even if many of these stories mirror those found in countless other Vietnam War oral histories and memoirs. Photos. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/18/2013
Release date: 04/23/2013
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