Vietnam War Fiction Books

The 13th Valley
by John Del Vecchio
"There have been a number of excellent books about Vietnam . . . but none has managed to communicate in such detail the day-to-day pain, discomfort, frustration and exhilaration of the American military experience in Vietnam." --Joe Klein, "The New York Times Book Review"

A Bad Attitude: A Novel from the Vietnam War
by Dennis Mansker
Mansker was a company clerk (i.e. a "chairborne ranger") at the 543rd Transportation Company at Thu Duc and the 151st Transportation Company at TC Hill, Long Binh.

Bayou Samurai
by Franklin D. Rast
The year is 1971. American involvement in Vietnam is winding down and the United States prepares for reversion of Okinawa back to Japan. Enter Indiana Jones-like Captain Rast, fresh from his tour of duty in Vietnam, ready to begin his next adventure on “The Rock.” Assigned to the top-secret “Operation Red-Hat,” the removal of WMD’s from Okinawa, Captain Rast is catapulted into a world of military cover-ups, renegade officers, CIA operatives, sinister drug lords, murder, firefights, and (Oh, Yes!) steamy sex. Rast’s first-rate novel, filled with colorful and sometimes loony characters, snappy and witty dialogue, and biting political commentary, is an exciting and action-packed book from beginning to end.

Better Times Than These
by Winston Groom
"Winston Groom captures the essence of the Viet Nam war in this remarkable book. As you travel with these soldiers to Viet Nam and into battle, you feel all the emotions that made this war so controversial. Groom's writing is so vivid that it brings the war right to your doorstep where it can't be ignored or misunderstood. A powerful must-read. Once you start "Better Times than These," you won't be able to put it down. And after you've read it, you won't be able to get it out of your mind." --Roz Levine, Amazon.com

A Buffalo's Revenge
by Bob Lupo
Doc Lusane, James Jaggers, and Pee Wee Anson struggle to survive in the chaos of a war with no beginning no end and no purpose. The very land is an enemy. It is a war where the people dance to the rhythms woven in the tears of centuries. It is a war where the rice paddies, the jungle, the animals, the air, wind, sun, signifies permanence in a trial of blood and bones. It is a trial with no jury and no exit. The home front explodes in a swirl of anarchy and assassinations. Doc and Jags and Pee Wee discover limits, discover a horizon beyond themselves, beyond the gritty need to kill to live, beyond the first instinct of the first breath, beyond the craving desire to walk, talk, groove, and hate, back, back in the World. They discover love beyond the peculiar cadence of language or dialect. They discover life beyond race or color. They discover themselves.

Bob Lupo, formerly a Wall Street bond analyst, was a combat medic in Vietnam.

C.M.A.C.: Saga of a Saigon Warrior
by James J. Finnegan, Vietnam Vet, U.S. Army Signal Corps
"Things were pretty screwed up by the time Lt. James A. Callaghan reached Saigon. TET '68 had just ravaged the country and there were still daily terrorist activities in and around the city. The C.M.A.C. Command was waiting for him and this is his story."

The Cave
by Sam McGowan
"The Cave" is the story of 20-year old Tobin Carter, a young Tennesseean with a passion for caves and cave exploration, who is shot down over eastern Laos in 1966 while on the classified Blind Bat C-130 flare mission. Knowing that Laos is honeycombed with caves, Carter had made plans and a special survival kit containing items that he knew would be useful in a cave. Despairing of rescue, Toby realizes that he is going to die in Laos. When he makes a surprising discovery in the cave, he elects to go out in a blaze of glory in his own personal war against the North Vietnamese, particularly the gun crews who had shot him down. But another discovery causes him to change his plans and instills inside him the will to live. Although "The Cave" is a work of fiction, it is based on the author's experiences as a C-130 flareship crewmember combined with his later experiences exploring caves in the hills of Eastern Kentucky. It is an aviation book, a military/adventure story and an outdoor/adventure tale that will appeal to veterans, military aviation enthusiasts and outdoorsmen, especially cavers.

Conduct to the Prejudice of Good Order
by Dan Dane
"Conduct to the Prejudice of Good Order" offers a glimpse of conditions in the First Cavalry Division around Bien Hoa during the last years of the Vietnam war. In 1971, Bill Blake encounters fragging, racism, and heroin addiction while defending soldiers in court-martial trials as a young Army JAG lawyer. Much like the soldiers he defends, Blake finds himself in conflict with his superior officers. The story of a drafted, civilian attorney serving as an Army lawyer in Vietnam gives this book a unique perspective. Captain Blake's experiences accentuate many of the troublesome aspects of the war, including the draft, authority of commanding Generals, domestic demand for troop withdrawal, and in the end, the manufacture and delivery of heroin to the American troops. Although conditions varied widely during the ten years of the war, the historical fiction genre allows veterans to recognize historically correct settings in Vietnam during 1971 and 1972. The fictitious characters and circumstances provide an entertaining read for those who lived through the era as well as those for whom Vietnam is only a curiosity out of the distant past. This short novel is one of the most readable and provocative accounts of the Vietnam war.
Dan Dane earned a JD degree from the University of Arkansas and was licensed to practice law in 1969. He immediately entered the U.S. Army and received a direct commission as a JAG officer. After a short stay in Arizona he was re-assigned to the Third Brigade of the First Cavalry Division in Vietnam.

Diverting the Buddha
by Bob Swartzel
A political thriller set in early 1966 Vietnam. Swartzel was a witness to the main events outlined in his novel. He served with the U.S. Army Signal Corps in Hue, South Vietnam, through the rise and fall of the Buddhist democracy movement. He was an eyewitness to the cover-ups that followed the machinegun attack on Lieutenant Thuc and the pro-democracy students.

Fields of Fire
by James Webb
"Few writers since Stephen Crane have portrayed men at war with such a ring of steely truth." --Houston Post

Fragments
by Jack Fuller
Fragments is a story about how war can make everything explosive -- even love -- and how two friends try to put the pieces of their lives together again.

A Good Scent From a Strange Mountain
by Robert Olen Butler
The 15 stories collected here in this Pulitzer Prize book, all written in the first person, blend Vietnamese folklore, the terrible, lingering memories of war, American pop culture and family drama. Butler's literary ventriloquism, as he mines the experiences of a people with a great literary tradition of their own, is uncanny; but his talents as a writer of universal truths is what makes this a collection for the ages.

The Green Berets
by Robin Moore
This monumental, bestselling work -- the inspiration for the classic movie starring John Wayne and one of the first wake-up called given to the American public about Vietnam -- plunges us into the chaos that was our nation's first experience with unconventional warfare.

Hamfist Down!
by G. E. Nolly
It's August, 1969. Hamilton “Hamfist” Hancock has been shot down over Laos, and must use all his skill, and luck, to avoid capture and certain, violent death. To facilitate his rescue, he must become a ground FAC and direct airstrikes against North Vietnamese targets on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. And, to survive, he must engage in hand-to-hand combat. But Hamfist may face his greatest battle after his rescue. Back in Vietnam, while recuperating at the hospital at Cam Ranh Bay, he experiences a sapper attack. And, following his return to the air, Hamfist is tormented by a flying error, an error which may have cost a comrade his life. Only time will tell if Hamfist can regain his self-respect and passion. On his final flight, Hamfist faces a brutal enemy in a life-or-death duel that will determine if he will be shot down once again or return home to his soul-mate. The rescue, the airborne mistake and the final battle force Hamfist to reevaluate his priorities in his career, in his flying, and in his life.

George Nolly served as a pilot in the United States Air Force, flying 315 combat missions on two successive tours of duty in Vietnam, flying O-2A and F-4 aircraft. He was the last Air Force pilot to complete 100 missions over North Vietnam. While in the Air Force, George received the Tactical Air Command Instructor Pilot of the Year Award.

Hamfist Over Hanoi
by G. E. Nolly
Air Force pilot Hamilton “Hamfist” Hancock thinks he has left the Vietnam War behind him, after completing a hazardous tour of duty as a Forward Air Controller (FAC) flying over the Ho Chi Minh Trail. He is based at Yokota Air Base, in Japan, and becomes comfortable flying generals and other VIPs around Asia in his Sabreliner executive jet. He is adjusting to his new marriage, and aside from the stress of TDY assignments, life is placid. But the war returns with a vengeance when Hamfist suffers a personal loss at the hands of the North Vietnamese. Hamfist knows that the only way he can find inner peace is to go back for another combat tour, to try to bring the horrific war to a speedy end. And this time, he will fly a fighter, the top-of-the-line F-4 Phantom II. Hamfist checks out in the F-4 and arrives at his base in Thailand just in time for the start of Operation Linebacker, the bombing offensive over Hanoi. He soon finds himself flying over the most heavily defended area in the world, dodging Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs) and dueling with enemy aircraft, the vaunted MiG-series fighters. And along the way he has picked up two new goals: completing 100 missions over North Vietnam and defeating a MiG in aerial combat. Only time will tell if Hamfist will achieve his 100 missions, score a victory over a MiG and, most important, help end the war.

George Nolly served as a pilot in the United States Air Force, flying 315 combat missions on two successive tours of duty in Vietnam, flying O-2A and F-4 aircraft. He was the last Air Force pilot to complete 100 missions over North Vietnam. While in the Air Force, George received the Tactical Air Command Instructor Pilot of the Year Award.

Hamfist Over The Trail
by G. E. Nolly
It's 1968. Hamilton Hancock is on the fast track to become a fighter pilot. He is slated to fly an F-100, F-105 or F-4 in Vietnam. Then, the "needs of the service" intervenes, and he is assigned to fly one of the smallest, slowest aircraft in the Air Force inventory, the O-2A. Hamilton becomes a Forward Air Controller (FAC) in Vietnam, and picks up the nickname "Hamfist". While Hamfist flies in air combat over the Ho Chi Minh Trail and battles an enemy gunner with a deadly record, on the ground he must also battle his inner fears and personal demons. Inspired by actual events. Contains strong language.

George Nolly served as a pilot in the United States Air Force, flying 315 combat missions on two successive tours of duty in Vietnam, flying O-2A and F-4 aircraft. He was the last Air Force pilot to complete 100 missions over North Vietnam. While in the Air Force, George received the Tactical Air Command Instructor Pilot of the Year Award.

Highway One
by James E. Davidson, Vietnam 1968
"When the light at the end of the tunnel in Vietnam was getting pretty dim in 1968, the Pentagon decided to 'Vietnamize' the war. The United States' strategy was to turn the fighting over to the South Vietnamese, supplying them with weapons, material, and advisors. However, the problem with this new policy was not so much the persistence of the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong soldiers, but the American advisors and their advice. These Americans weren't necessarily incompetent, it was just that they were sent to Vietnam for only a one-year tour of duty and always felt like they had to do something. So when a young Army lieutenant, who only wants out of the Army, is sent to a small village to build a rifle range for the local self-defense force during his last fourteen days in-country, he becomes caught between the Army's gung-ho philosophy and the villagers' traditional Asian concept of the relationship between time and war. To further complicate things, he is drawn to a beautiful woman in the village who is mysteriously close to the local Viet Cong."

In Country
by Bobbie Ann Mason
"In Country is both a powerful and touching novel of America that analyzes the impact of the 1960s on the culture of the 1980s and a beautiful portrayal of an often forgotten area of the country." --Library Journal

Incident at Muc Wa
by Daniel Ford
Daniel Ford's wonderful novel served as the basis for the excellent Vietnam War film, "Go Tell the Spartans."

The Last Hookers
by Carle E. Dunn
Colonel Dunn brings to life worldwide events that led America to Viet Nam. From President Truman to President Nixon, he shines light into dark corners of the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the White House. Based on fact, he traces events from Germany, Japan, Great Britain, France, North and South Viet Nam and the United States that made America's involvement in Southeast Asia unavoidable.

The Lionheads
by Josiah Bunting
"This novel recounts a few days of riverine operations by an infantry brigade of the "Lionheads" division in Vietnam -- and the dilemmas confronting its leaders when they are ordered to execute an operation they apprehend will needlessly cost lives." --Amazon Reader

The Living Wills
by Rick Kaempfer and Brendan Sullivan
A decision made in two seconds can change, damage, save, or even end a life. Henry Stankiewicz made such a decision in Vietnam, and he is still dealing with the ripple effects over 30 years later. Can he and the people he affected now maneuver their way through a world of baristas and Army veterans, Canadian cowboys and bowling teams, office politics and young love, to find the strength to heal before it's too late.

NAM: Things That Weren't True and Other Stories
by Robert McGowan
Derived of the author's Vietnam War experience, the thirty-seven stories in this sometimes harrowing, sometimes hilarious collection look back at the Vietnam War from a distance of forty or more years, nearly a half-century, and via the perspectives of not only the soldiers themselves, but also their children, spouses, siblings, parents, friends. Nothing comparable to this collection exists within the literature growing out of the Vietnam War. NAM is hardly just another batch of macho war stories. These short fictions, most of them memoir-based, neither glorify nor even excuse war but come forward instead as eloquent testament to the tragic lunacy of it.

McGowan’s fiction and nonfiction have appeared as story collections, as book and catalog contributions, in anthologies, as weekly columns, in over five dozen prominent literary, art, and nature print journals in America and abroad, including American Forests, The Black Herald (France), Chautauqua, Connecticut Review, Etchings (Australia), The Louisiana Review, New Walk Magazine (UK), River Teeth, and South Dakota Review, and have been four times nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Novel Without a Name
by Duong Thu Huong
"Vietnamese novelist Huong, who has been imprisoned for her political beliefs, presents the story of a disillusioned soldier in a book that was banned in her native country." --Publishers Weekly

Paid-In-Full
by David Oser
A Father's powerhouse story as he confronts ironic twists of fate while searching for his Son, missing-in-action in Viet Nam.

The Perimeter of Light: Short Fiction and Other Writing About the Vietnam War
edited by Vivian Vie Balfour
This collection offers solid writing as well as a variety of perspectives on the Vietnam War -- civilian and military, past and present.

The Quiet American
by Graham Greene
The setting is Saigon in the violent years when the French were desperately trying to hold their footing in the Far East. The main characters are a skeptical British journalist, his beautiful Vietnamese mistress, and an eager young American sent out by Washington on a mysterious mission. The story is deeply enriched by psychological tensions and battles of conflicting personalities. This great novel is of personal love, of physical danger, and of international rivalries.

REMF Diary
by David A. Willson
"This plotless, characterless debut, which reads as memoir loosely disguised as fiction, is related by a nameless soldier, a 24-year-old self-described loser ("a piece of jetsam on the sea of life") with a menial desk job in Vietnam. The often self-deprecating narrator is also funny, intelligent and cynical." --Publishers Weekly

Rising Like the Tucson
by Jeff Danziger
"The setting: an army base in Vietnam, 1970 (where the author served as an intelligence officer). The characters: misdirected enlisted men, inept American officers, and victimized South Vietnamese." --Library Journal

A Saigon Party: And Other Vietnam War Short Stories
by Diana J. Dell, USO Vietnam 1970-72
In 1970, two years after her brother Kenny was killed in the Mekong Delta, Diana Dell went to Vietnam as a civilian with USO. For the first six months, she was a program director at the USO Aloha Club at 22nd Replacement Battalion in Cam Ranh Bay, then this humanitarian organization's in-country director of public relations, and also the host of a daily radio show, "USO Showtime," on American Forces Vietnam Network (AFVN), the military station in Saigon. As an eyewitness to the most significant event of the coming-of-age Baby Boom Generation, she claims that she will be telling war stories until her final moment on this earth. However, Diana’s tales -- some exaggerated, many true -- are not about battles, blood, gore, or angst. They are about participants of the war other than grunts: CIA agents, bar girls, war profiteers, missionaries, donut dollies, strippers, civilian contractors, pilots, cooks, telephone operators, disc jockeys, rock stars, landladies, pedicab drivers, generals, Buddhist monks, movie stars, pickpockets, politicians, prostitutes, prisoners, beggars, nightclub owners, drug counselors, Montagnard tribesmen, foreign correspondents, ambassadors, doctors, humanitarians, celebrity tourists, and other REMFs, civilian as well as military.

The Sorrow of War
by Bao Ninh
First Sentence: On the banks of the Ya Crong Poco river, on the northern flank of the B3 battlefield in the Central Highlands, the Missing In Action Remains-Gathering Team awaits the dry season of 1975.

Sympathy for the Devil
by Kent Anderson
"Reflecting the author's own experiences, the characters in this graphic, grippingly authentic first novel are the combat-tested soldiers of the Special Forces in Vietnam." --Publishers Weekly

The Things They Carried: A Work of Fiction
by Tim O'Brien
"They carried all the emotional baggage of men who might die. Grief, terror, love, longing--these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible weight. They carried shameful memories. They carried the common secret of cowardice.... Men killed, and died, because they were embarrassed not to."

The Ugly American
by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer
"Seldom has a deadly warning been more entertainingly or convincingly given." --Washington Star

Up Country: A Novel
by Nelson Demille
DeMille cannily revives the army career of Chief Warrant Officer Paul Brenner, the cynical, hardworking Criminal Investigation Division man who was forcibly retired after solving the high-profile killing in "The General's Daughter."

When Duty Calls
by Faith DeVeaux
What would it take for you to appreciate what you have in life? The near-death of the one you love? Anita Anderson, married for over thirty years, was becoming bored with her life. Then the unthinkable happened; her husband had a heart attack, then fell into a coma. Her estranged children come home, and she decides to reunite her family once and for all. Anita brings out her beloved letters that she saved from when her husband fought in Vietnam. After rediscovering her buried passion for life, she decides to share them with as many people as possible.

Faith DeVeaux was an Army brat, living in Germany as well as in several different states in the U.S. She graduated from Loyola Marymount University, and has worked a variety of jobs in public relations. She has produced two short films. When Duty Calls is her first novel.





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