Archives for September 2017

Books to Read While You Watch “The Vietnam War”

My husband and I are watching the latest Ken Burns and Lynn Novick movie: The Vietnam War. As with all Ken Burns documentaries, it’s well done, poignant, and fascinating.

vietnam war memorialWe haven’t seen all the episodes yet, but I’m reminded of these two books you might want to read as you watch The Vietnam War:

1. The Life We Were Given by Dana Sachs. Deals with the controversial history of “Operation Babylift” and three thousand displaced Vietnamese children who were adopted in the U.S. (and other Western countries).

2. Dust of Life by Robert McKelvey deals with children of U.S. servicemen left behind during the chaos of the end of the war.

I don’t know yet if Burns & Novick cover all the complications when the U.S. pulled out. Not least of these would be the children left behind.

I read both of these last fall. I can’t exactly remember what inspired me to pick them up, but part of my motivation was just how little I understood about this relatively recent history. (I seem to remember a longform article published right around that time as well.)

Watching the series has produced many emotions for us. The strongest overall: compassion for everyone involved especially the people of Vietnam themselves, caught in decades of conflict and constantly shifting circumstances.

Are you watching the series? Do you have a recommended book about the Vietnam conflict or history of the country?

Want to watch the series for yourself? You can find it on Amazon right now.

vietnam war books

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