Sunday, January 10, 2010

War Through the Generations Challenge--Vietnam War

When I was in college, I took a history class on the Vietnam War. It was a completely fascinating class and we looked at the war very differently than any other historical event I'd been exposed to up to that point. Our readings were both fiction and non-fiction but our major text was a book of declassified documents called Vietnam: A History in Documents by Greth Porter. I think this is long out of print. But we were to read up to a certain point in the documents available to those in government at the time and then write essays arguing our suggestions for what to do next in the war without using our knowledge of the outcomes. Sadly, many of the documents caused the majority of us to choose to do quite a few of the same mistaken things that the government did at the time. It was really an instructive class. And since I've been fascinated by the Vietnam War for years, it was a perfect class for me.

Now I see that the war that is the focus of the War Through the Generations Challenge this year is the Vietnam War. I almost didn't sign up, thinking that I had read almost all of the Vietnam related books on my shelves (many during the aforementioned class) but after an online search, I found some more books I already own that will hopefully conform to the guidelines of this one in that the primary or secondary theme must be the Vietnam War. Since I have read through so many already, I plan to only try to hit the "A Dip" level of five books.

Here's a potential list:

1. The Time In Between by David Bergen
2. For Rouenna by Sigrid Nunez
3. Lizzie’s War by Tim Farrington
4. In the River Sweet by Patricia Henley
5. Shrapnel in the Heart by Laura Palmer
extras: Snake’s Daughter by Gail Hosking Gilberg, Falling Through the Earth by Danielle Trussoni, Paradise of the Blind by Duong Thu Huong, Rules for Old Men Waiting by Peter Pouncey

The latter two of the extras may not fit the guidelines but they did come up on some of the lists of Vietnam War fiction I found so they will remain as extras until I find out otherwise.


  1. Kristen: Thanks for signing up for the challenge...We have you on the official participants list..and I will be sure to cross-reference your current list with our recommended reading list for the challenge. Happy reading, and always feel free to send us your review links as you go along.

  2. I'm so glad you're joining us for the challenge. I haven't read any of the books on your list, so I'm looking forward to those reviews!

    Diary of an Eccentric

  3. Have you read The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien? Definitely Vietnam War and - wow!

  4. I have In the River Sweet sitting on my bookshelf. I totally forgot it was about the Vietnam War. I keep thinking I can't do this challenge and read this many books about one war, but I will see how my reading goes and if they fit in, I will join up.

  5. Debbie, yes I have read The Things They Carried. Tim O'Brien was the writer in residence at my college shortly after this was published and he came to speak to my creative writing class. Amazing book.

    Rebecca, I sign-up first and worry about consequences (finding books or actually fulfilling the challenge) later. ;-)


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