American Reckoning

American Reckoning : The Vietnam War and Our National Identity

3.98 (220 ratings by Goodreads)
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The critically acclaimed author of Patriots offers profound insight into Vietnam's place in America's self-image How did the Vietnam War change the way we think of ourselves as a people and a nation? In American Reckoning, Christian G. Appy--author of Patriots, the widely praised oral history of the Vietnam War--examines the war's realities and myths and its lasting impact on our national self-perception. Drawing on a vast variety of sources that range from movies, songs, and novels to official documents, media coverage, and contemporary commentary, Appy offers an original interpretation of the war and its far-reaching consequences for both our popular culture and our foreign policy. Authoritative, insightful, and controversial, urgently speaking to our role in the world today, American Reckoning invites us to grapple honestly with the conflicting lessons and legacies of the Vietnam War.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 398 pages
  • 137 x 213 x 25.4mm | 328g
  • Penguin Putnam Inc
  • Penguin USA
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0143128345
  • 9780143128342
  • 697,378

Review quote

Praise for Chris Appy's American Reckoning
"Brilliant, beautiful, and painful, American Reckoning is an essential book, not just because it looks so incisively at the forces shaping our foreign policy in Vietnam and afterward, but because it so brightly illuminates the question we all need to ask ourselves: what is America's place in the
--Peter Davis, director of the Oscar-winning documentary Hearts and Minds "A triumph of originality. Appy weaves together a rich tapestry of sources into a completely innovative, eye-opening, and compulsively readable account of the Vietnam War and its far-reaching consequences. American Reckoning offers a fresh lens for understanding the United States in the context of its most controversial conflict as well as its twenty-first-century wars. It's an impressive, valuable book."
--Nick Turse, author of the New York Times bestseller Kill Anything That Moves "In the vast literature on the Vietnam War it's the question that has not received sustained and authoritative attention: How did the long and bitter struggle in Southeast Asia influence Americans' sense of themselves? Christian Appy's penetrating and lucid account helps us make sense as few books have of this difficult chapter in the nation's history."
--Fredrik Logevall, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Embers of War "Christian Appy has written a compelling reflection on the Vietnam War and its aftermath of endless war. He argues persuasively that we must remember the war and its consequences if we are to come to a full reckoning with the past and finally dispel the myth of American exceptionalism."
--Marilyn B. Young, author of The Vietnam Wars Praise for Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered from All Sides

"Christian Appy's Patriots should do for the Vietnam War what Studs Terkel's The Good War did for World War II: remove it from the realm of mythology and ground it in the vivid memories of people who lived and fought in it and against it, who ran it and suffered from it. This remarkable book is a genuine oral history of the Vietnam War, true to its title, from all sides of the conflict. Until now, no single book on the war has included so many different American perspectives and so varied a group of Vietnamese voices. That not only makes the book unique, it also means you can follow the war from its true beginnings . . . all the way to Patty and Earl Hopper Sr., still convinced that Vietnam holds American POWs. By bringing Vietnamese voices and experiences to the story of what is known in Vietnam as the American War, Appy challenges us in unexpected ways. No review can do justice to the riches in Patriots."
--Chicago Tribune "Inspired . . . Patriots is a gem of a book. Appy gives his participants ample room to tell their stories, but his own contribution to the sucess of the volumje is considerable. [The] chapter introductions, which are crucial in lending cohesion to the overall enterprise, are authoritative and elegantly written."
--The Washington Post "Appy allows each of his chosen voices to offer an unvarnished recollection--painful, conflicted, occasionally beautiful--of an extraordinary time."
--The New York Times Book Review "Of all the works on the Vietnam War--fiction and nonfiction--this is the big one . . . the book that was waiting to be written."
--Studs Terkel "As a Vietnam combat veteran who participated in most of the major historical battles of 1968, I'm understadably ambivalent about reading Vietnam books, fiction and nonfiction. Christian G. Appy's Patriots is a different and even-handed approach to a still controversial and divisive subject. The overall effect of listening to different voices on the same sore subject is eye-opening and revealing. Each voice sounds fresh, as if the storyteller had been waiting for decades--and most of them had--to tell their story, to relieve themselves of something that had been bothering them for a long time, or just to set the record straight in their own minds. At the end, I for one felt more than satisfied because I had reached a greater understanding of the event that changed my life and the life of the nation."
--Nelson DeMille, author of The General's Daughter, Word of Honor, and Plum Island
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About Christian B. Appy

Christian G. Appy is a professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the author of two previous books on the Vietnam War. His oral history of the war, Patriots, was a main selection of Book of the Month Club and won the Massachusetts Book Award for nonfiction. He lives in Amherst.
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Rating details

220 ratings
3.98 out of 5 stars
5 30% (66)
4 46% (101)
3 18% (39)
2 5% (12)
1 1% (2)
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