By Beth Reinker, MSLS, Manager, Collection Development Adult Materials
The Vietnam War was a polarizing and pivotal part of 20th century American history. The official 50th anniversary commemoration began in 2012 and will continue through 2025. The passage of time grants us new perspective as we hear the stories and try to understand and learn from these events and their legacy for our country.
The Vietnam War, a new 10-part documentary series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, will premiere on PBS on Sunday, September 17. This expansive documentary takes an in-depth look at the war and its impact, drawing on research, interviews with Americans and Vietnamese civilians and combatants, and never-before-seen photographs.
Publishers anticipate renewed interest in the Vietnam War, and our librarians have seen some great new titles on the subject publishing this Summer and Fall. We did the legwork to find the must-have titles that your patrons will want to read.
- 1.The Vietnam War: An Intimate History by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns – Ward and Burns again collaborate on the official companion to their documentary series. Fans know and anticipate their well-researched companion books that feature pictures and interviews from their extensive research for their documentaries. This balanced look at the war will be an excellent resource for public library collections.
- 2.Huế 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam by Mark Bowden – Bestselling author Bowden brings readers the story of the brutal urban battle that was the turning point in the war. Bowden’s research pulls together experiences from both sides of the battle and sheds light on a new perspective on the battle and the combatants’ motivations.
- 3.The Vietnam War: The Definitive Illustrated History. This guide to the Vietnam War was produced in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution. With timelines, diagrams, maps, and over 500 photographs, this title brings the story to life with the approachable, heavily illustrated style that readers have come to expect from DK.
- 4.The Odyssey of Echo Company: The 1968 TET Offensive and the Epic Battle to Survive the Vietnam War by Doug Stanton – Military history fans know Doug Stanton’s skill as a storyteller. In his new book, he tells the harrowing story of Echo Company using interviews, letters, and Pentagon reports.
- 5.Our Year of War: Two Brothers, Vietnam, and a Nation Divided by Daniel P. Bolger – Brothers Chuck and Tom Hagel, who served in the same rifle platoon, tell their story from leaving their Nebraska home in 1968 to saving each other’s lives during their tour. Like much of the country, their experiences during that tour left them divided. Chuck later served as a Senator and Secretary of Defense, and this unique and personal story will attract media attention.