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"Intense and absorbing... If you buy only one book on the Vietnam War, this is the one you want." -Chicago Tribune
Christian G. Appy's monumental oral history of the Vietnam War is the first work to probe the war's path through both the United States and Vietnam. These vivid testimonies 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. Sometimes detached and reflective, often raw and emotional, they allow us to see and feel what this war meant to people literally on all sides: Americans and Vietnamese, generals and grunts, policymakers and protesters, guerrillas and 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, Patriots is not a chronicle of facts and figures but a vivid human history of the war.
"A gem of a book, as informative and compulsively readable as it is timely." -The Washington Post Book World
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Product details

  • Hardback | 574 pages
  • 139.7 x 213.4 x 35.6mm | 521.64g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • New York, NY, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0142004499
  • 9780142004494
  • 392,553

Review quote

Intense and absorbing... If you buy only one book on the Vietnam War, this is the one you want. (Chicago Tribune)
A gem of a book, as informative and compulsively readable as it is timely. (The Washington Post Book World)
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About Christian G 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. His most recent book is American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity. He lives in Amherst.
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Table of contents

Part One: Introductions

Bernard Trainor: It turned out the major of Danang was a double agent
Dang Vu Hiep: With all those choppers they seemed terribly strong
War Heroes
Roger Donlon: We were babes in arms in every way
Tran Thi Gung: I was stuck in a tunnel for seven days
Paying the Price
Ta Quang Thinh: They carried me the whole way back to the North
George Watkins: That sand was probably the only thing that saved me
Phan Xuan Sinh: Ail my ancestors are buried here
Where is Vietnam?
Jo Collins: I just thought I was going to Europe
Deirdre English: How can my country be at war and I don't know about it?
Part Two: Beginnings (1945-64)
History Is Not Made with IFS

Henry Prunier: These were not ragtag farmers
Yo Nguyen Giap: The most atrocious conflict in human history
Deliver Us From Evil
Daniel Redmond: The doctor who won the war in Indochina
Rufus Phillips: Tell 'em I'm not French before they lynch me
Ngo Vinh Long: If they're making maps, they're preparing for war
Kick the Tires and Light the Fires

Richard Olsen: It was like 'Terry and the Pirates'
Malcolm Browne: You could smell the burning flech
Le Leiu Browne: There was one coup after another
Paul Hare: My cock lost the fight
The Emporor Has No Clothes
Paul Kattenburg: What's good for Peru is good for Vietnam
Evelyn Colbert: Dissent which contradicted the public optimism was ignored
Chester Cooper: Boy, you speak just like an American
Sergei Khruchchev: The Vietnamese had their own ideas
Paradise Island
John Singlaub: We sent them all back with a generous gift package
Luyen Nguyen: She divorces her second husband and waited for me
Part Three: Escalations
Trails to War

Vu Thi Vinh: The Truong Son jungle gave us life
Nguyen Thi Kim Chuy: We came home hairless with ghostly white eyes
Helen Tennant
Hegelhimer: I was their wife, their sister, their girlfriend
You Want Me to Start World War III?
James Thompson: This was crazy and deceitful policy making
Seth Tillman: We could stop this war tommorrow
Charles Cooper (I): He used the f-word more freely than a marine in boot camp
Walt Whitman Rostow: Take the North Vietnamese of Vinh hostage
Central Highlands
Dennis Deal: Man, if we're up against this, it's gonna be a long-ass year
Ward Just: It approached the vicinity of the spiritual
Le Cao Dai: Sometimes I operated all night while the staff took turns pedaling the bicycle
From Civil Rights to Antiwar
Julian Bond: They said I was guilty of treason and sedition
General Baker Jr.: When the call is made to free the Mississippi Delta...I'll be the first one in line
The Ultimate Protest
Anne Morrison Welsh: It was like an arrow was shot from Norman's heart
Free-Fire Zone
Jim Soular: A goddamn chopper was worth three times more than David
James Lafferty: No draft board ever failed to meet its quotas
David M. Smith: The knife man
Sylvia Lutz Holland: We saved their lives, but what life?
Chi Nguyen: Being wounded was not considered the worst thing that could happen
Morale Boosters
Bobbie Keith: I got a butterfly right on the butt. So that's my war story
James Brown: After they got the funk they went back and reloaded
Quach Van Phong: An artist ca be as important in war as a soldier
Nancy Smoyer: I can't believe the Donut Dollies got us to do that
Vu Hy Thieu: Nothing was more essential than our sandals
Joe McDonald: I was president of my high school marching band
Air War
Jopnathan Schell: I had my notebook right there in the plane
Harlan S.
Pinkerton Jr.: Good luck and good hunting
Luu Huy Chao: Before I trained as a pilot I had never been in an airplane
Nguyen Quang Sang: That was the first time I ever saw an American
Fred Branfman: What would it be like to hide in a cave all for five years?
Prisoners of War (I)
Porter Halyburton: I don't see how you've got a worse place than this
Troung My Hoa: They tried to make us say, 'Down with President Ho!'
Randy Kehler: Friction against the wheel
Cameras, Books, and Guns
Philip Jones Griffiths (I): Go see what they did to those people with your money
Larry Heinemann: We had this idea that we were king of the fucking hill
Doung Thanh Phong: We didn't need a darkroom
Joan Holden: The counterculture was visible everywhere
Oliver Stone: He lived to kill. He was like a real Arab
Nguyen Duy: Whoever won, the people always lost
Yusef Komunyakaa: Soul Brothers, what you dying for?
H.D.S. Greenway: We would write something ans the magazine would ignore it if it wasn't upbeat
Antiwar Escalations
Todd Gitlin: A rather grandoise sense that we were the stars and spear-carriers of history
Tom Englehardt: It was like Vietnam had somehow come all the way into our living rooms
Vivian Rothstein: What? Meet separately with women?
They Slept At Our House
Paul Warnke: We fought for a separate South Vietnam, but there wasn't any South
Part Four: The Turning Point (1968-70)

Tran Van Tan: He asked me for directions to the police sensations
Barry Zorthian: Then-boom!-Tet comes along
Philip Jones Griffiths (II): You're not safe in those cities
Nguyen Qui Duc: I was living a double life
Bob Gabriel: We buried our own men right there
Tuan Van Ban: Attack! Attack! Attack!
Memorial Day 1968
Clark Dougan: He Was Only 19-Did You Know Him?
From Johnson to Nixon
John Gilligan: Our only shot was to help Humphrey break away from Johnson
Peter Kuznick: Political conversion was the greatest ahprodisiac
J. Shaeffer: The Palace Guard
Samuel Huntington: You had to be pretty stupid to stay out in the countryside
Douglas Kinnard: While we had the power, it turned out they had the will
A Three-Square-Mile Piece of the United States
Tom O'Hara: It was like being in a minimum-security prison
Familes At War
John Douglas Marshal: You will not be welcome here again
Huynh Phuong Dong: Recieving a letter was a mixed blessing
Richard Houser: They told me I needed to choose between my country and my brother
Nathan Houser: A sign this country has grown up will be when there is a memorial erected to the war resisters
Suzie Scott: This nice young man from the FBI was here
Lam Van Lich: I was away from home for twenty-nine years
My Lai
Larry Colburn: They were butchering people
Michael Bernhardt: The portable fire-free zone
You Look Like a Gook
Vincent Okamoto: Damn, I'm a Gook
Wayne Smith: I was thinking God they didn't have air support
Charley Trujillo: It sure as hell wasn't 'English only' in Vietnam
An Acute Lack of Forgetfulness
Gloria Emerson: Before the war, I was Miss Mary Poppins
Nguyen Ngoc Luong: To get their ID cards, the girls had to go to bed with the police
From Cambodia to Kent State
Anthony Lake: Quitting wasn't heroic
A.J. Langguth: I think they pictured it as a kind of huge bamboo Pentagon
Tom Grace: As much as we hated the war on April 29, we hated it more on April 30
Part Five: Endings (1970-75)
The End of the Tunnel

Alexander M. Haig Jr.: Even the tough guys...caved in
Morton Halerin: Kissenger did not trust anybody fully
Judith Coburn: Vietnamization wasn't working any better than Americanization
We Really Believes...
Beverly Gologorsky: God forbid my boss finds out I'm here
Nguyen Ngoc Bich: Why should my son die for your country?
Chalmers Johnson: The campus was turning into a celebration of Maoism
Steve Sherlock: Steve Sherlock, bronze star with a V.
Daniel Ellsberg: We're eating our young
Egil "Bud" Krogh: Let's circle the wagons
The World Was Coming to An End
Frank Maguire: The whole attitude was, stand back little brother, I'll take care of it
Charles Cooper (II): All this area was Indian country
Everybody Thought We'd Won the War
Charles Hill: Reporters just kept writing as if it were Tet
Daniel Davidson: I wouldn't buy a used car from that man
Nguyen Thi Binh: The longest peace talks in history
Nguyen Khac Huynh: It wasn't a mistake, it was an inexplicable crime
Prisoners of War (II)
Jay Scarborough: I read Anthony Adverse about four times
Tran Ngoc Chau: The curriculum was designed to detoxicate us
John McCain: Americans like conspiracies
Patty and Earl Hopper Sr.: What mushroom do they think we were hatched under last week?
Gloria Coppin: The government wanted to control the POW/MIA movement
Frank Snepp: There was classified confetti all over the trees
Troung Tran: We could either lose or tie, but not win
The Merriment was Short-Lived
Le Minh Khue: The letters remain, but the senders are gone forever
Part Six: Legacies (1975- )
Missing In Action

Tran Van Ban: We saw so many parents crying for their lost children
Tom Corey: Why do you hate the Vietnamese?
War-Zone Childhoods
Tran Luong: I never got there in time to capture an American pilot
Bong Macdoran: It's not worth my energy to lay blame on anybody
Luong Ung: People just disappeared and you didn't say anything
Toshio Whelchel: i didn't her to worry, so I lied
R. Huynh: Your real self was only for you
Jayne Stancavage: I just want to know what happened
Hoang Van Thiet: They bought Zippos as a kind of birth certificate
Leroy V. Quintana: Old geezers...playing taps on a tape recorder
William Westmoreland: I was leading an unpopular war
Thai Dao: The first time I ever encountered the Vietnam War was in Hollywood movies
Tim O'Brien: You can't talk with people you demonize
Huu Ngoc: We no longer hate the Americans
Wayne Karlin: The roof that hasn't been built
Duong Tuong: Because love is stronger than enmity

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367 ratings
4.47 out of 5 stars
5 59% (218)
4 31% (114)
3 8% (29)
2 1% (5)
1 0% (1)
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