The Literary Hootch

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"

36 Years and a Wake-up: An American Returns to Vietnam
by Carey J. Spearman, James D. Criswell (Editor)
Carey Spearman teaches us about the modern Vietnam veteran by revealing his most intimate emotions about his first return to Vietnam in 36 years since the war.

365 Days
by Ronald J. Glasser
A medical officer in Japan treating wounded American soldiers, Glasser chooses his title from the wounded men's preoccupation with the number 365 -- the number of days in a Vietnam tour of duty. The stories deal with the sense of futility expressed by dying and wounded young men.

Aftershock: Poems and Prose of the Vietnam War
by Jim Nye
First Sentence: "So we'll walk this trail a little . . ."

Against the Vietnam War: Writings by Activists
by Mary Susannah Robbins (Editor)
The protest movement in opposition to the Vietnam War was a complex amalgam of political, social, economic, and cultural motivations, factors, and events. "Against the Vietnam War" brings together the different facets of that movement and its various shades of opinion. Here the participants themselves offer statements and reflections on their activism, the era, and the consequences of a war that spanned three decades and changed the United States of America. The keynote is on individual experience in a time when almost every event had national and international significance. This collection includes classic documents and new essays by Noam Chomsky, Arlene Ash, Howard Zinn, Staughton Lynd, Martin Luther King, Jr., James Fallows, Eugene McCarthy, Daniel Berrigan, H. Bruce Franklin, and Jane Sass. A foreword by Staughton Lynd considers the events of the Vietnam War in the context of the present war in Iraq.

All Cracked Up
by Sergeant Major (Ret) George S. Kulas

A slice of life in Vietnam during the war.

An American Requiem: God, My Father, and the War That Came Between Us
By James Carroll
This book is Carroll's story of what it was like to be an anti-war priest in the '60s while his father was an Air Force general deeply involved in Pentagon planning.

Another Vietnam War Story or Two
by David A. Willson

"I'd been in Vietnam more than a year, first at Tan Son Nhut for about nine months and then at Long Binh for four months. I'd already extended one month and thirteen days and was being heavily encouraged to re-up and extend for another one year tour of duty. The enticements were considerable: cash bonus, rank and of course, the chance to continue serving my country in a foreign war of liberation. To help liberate an oppressed people from the heavy heel of Chinese communism -- that argument was pure bullshit to me. A better argument would have been -- Do you want to stay in a situation where you have power totally out of proportion to your age, experience, training and rank? Or do you want to go home, take off your uniform and be a nobody in a job where you have no autonomy, no power, and are surrounded by people who have absolutely no interest in where you have been for the past two years or in what you have been doing?" --David A. Willson

"Apocalypse Now" Screenplay
An American military assassin journeys up river into Cambodia on an assignment to find and kill an American colonel who has gone beyond the limits of the military's code of warfare. Considered by many to be the quintessential anti-war movie. Based on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Writers: John Milius, Francis Ford Coppola, and Michael Herr. Stars: Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, and Marlon Brando.

April Fools
by George W. Schwarz
Relates the suffering of the Vietnamese during evacuations, 1972-1975 period. Schwarz worked for American companies in Vietnam during the war.

The Assault
by J.E. Colussi

Joe Colussi was with D Company, 725th Maintenance Bn, 25th Infantry Division in DauTieng from March 1968 to March 1969.

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.

A Band of Brothers: Stories from Vietnam
by Walter McDonald
First Sentence: "They warned me that VC in peasant pajamas shoot at planes coming in for landing."

Barbie and Ken Experience the War
A Vietnam War short story.

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,

by Wallace Terry
An oral history unlike any other, "Bloods" features twenty black men who tell the story of how members of their race were sent off in disproportionate numbers and the special test of patriotism they faced.

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.

Philip Caputo
His acclaimed memoir of Vietnam, A Rumor of War, is widely regarded as a classic in the literature of war.

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."

Carrying the Darkness: The Poetry of the Vietnam War
by W. D. Ehrhart (Editor)
"Some of the poems are quite touching, while others reveal harsh experiences soldiers faced, occasionally using crass expressions. As editor W.D. Ehrhart points out, authors range from war veterans to those who were draft resisters and activists, as well as 'living-room observers.' Some of the poets include Robert Bly, John Balaban, Yusef Komunyakaa, Walter McDonald, David Mura, Bruce Weigl, and Ehrhart himself." --Amazon Reader

The Cat from Hue: A Vietnam War Story
by John Laurence
This is the true story of a young American reporter who went to Vietnam with an open mind and an innocent heart and was plunged into a world of cruel beauty and savage violence. His experiences in the war forced him to question all his assumptions about his country, the nation's leaders and his own sanity.

Catfish and Mandala: A 2 Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam
by Andrew X. Pham
The son of Vietnamese parents who suffered terribly during the Vietnam War and brought their family to America when he was 10, Pham, on the cusp of his 30s, defied his parents' conservative hopes for him and his engineering career by becoming a poorly paid freelance writer. After the suicide of his sister, he set off on an even riskier path to travel some of the world on his bicycle. In the grueling, enlightening year that followed, he pedaled through Mexico, the American West Coast, Japan, and finally his far-off first land, Vietnam.

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.

A CIA Hired Wife Bares Her Soul
A Vietnam War Short Story.

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.

Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam
"All the confusion, pain, despair, and even hope of the men and women who served in Vietnam is captured in "Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam." Read by dozens of actors such as Harvey Keitel, Matt Dillon, and Kathleen Turner, these letters show a more human story of the war than we see in most media outlets and reveal real people in real situations trying to explain or understand. The footage, some newsreel, some shot by the servicemen and servicewomen, reveals a tension between the soldiers' actual experiences and the presentation their loved ones received from television. The soundtrack weaves the songs of the 1960s with the readings to create a compelling aural snapshot of the time, which complements the video exceptionally well. While it's not a 'feel-good' movie, the viewer does get a sense of the indestructibility of human dreams." --Rob Lightner,

Diana J. Dell
The author of A Saigon Party: And Other Vietnam War Short Stories and Memories Are Like Clouds worked for USO in Vietnam from 1970-72.

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.

Don's Nam
by Franklin D. Rast
"In my role as a Vietnam War literature bibliographer, I have read hundreds of books dealing with the war. Most of the memoirs and novels are junk or the same basic book over again. Rast's book is not junk. There is no other Vietnam War book even a little bit like it. His lively narrative (from an Army lieutenant's point of view) deals with 1969-70, when Nixon was taking his time withdrawing the U.S. from the war. The subject is the extremely hazardous job of convoy commander assigned to the 'Orient Express,' the 534th and 379th Transportation Companies, 7th Transportation Battalion. Rast has written a unique and fascinating book filled with comic absurdity, phantasmagoric scenes and believable characters of all ranks and races. And he includes the Vietnamese, unlike the authors of most Vietnam War memoirs and novels. The insanity of the war has never been better explored and exploded. I highly recommend 'Don's Nam.'" --David A. Willson

Don't Mean Nothing: Short Stories of Vietnam
by Susan O'Neill
Former army nurse O'Neill's debut story collection captures the physical and psychological tensions of her 13-month tour of duty in Vietnam with refreshing maturity and a profound sense of compassion. This collection of short stories is unique in its representation of a group from whom we rarely hear in the literature of the Vietnam War: the women who were sent there.

Gloria Emerson
Emerson was best known for her award-winning reporting of the Vietnam War for the New York Times.

Bernard Fall
Author Bernard Fall was an acknowledged authority on Vietnam and the wars fought there.

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

Fire in the Lake
by Frances Fitzgerald
This Pulitzer Prize-winning 1973 classic looks at U.S. intervention from the vantage point of Vietnamese culture and society.

Frances FitzGerald
Frances FitzGerald was not quite 32 years of age when her first book, Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam, was published to immediate and extraordinary praise.

Daniel Ford
He is best known for his Vietnam novel that became the Burt Lancaster film, Go Tell the Spartans.

Fortunate Son
by Lewis Puller, Jr.
The son of a military hero describes his own experiences in combat, recounting his tour of duty, where he won numerous medals of valor, but lost both legs and most of one hand in the process. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

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.

The Literary Hootch, Part 2

The Literary Hootch, Part 3

Vietnam War at Amazon

Vietnam War on DVD at Amazon

Vietnam War Kindle Books