★ "Partridge proves once again that nonfiction can be every bit as dramatic as the best fiction."*
America's war in Vietnam. In over a decade of bitter fighting, it claimed the lives of more than 58,000 American soldiers and beleaguered four US presidents. More than forty years after America left Vietnam in defeat in 1975, the war remains controversial and divisive both in the United States and abroad.
The history of this era is complex; the cultural impact extraordinary. But it's the personal stories of eight people—six American soldiers, one American military nurse, and one Vietnamese refugee—that create the heartbeat of Boots on the Ground. From dense jungles and terrifying firefights to chaotic helicopter rescues and harrowing escapes, each individual experience reveals a different facet of the war and moves us forward in time. Alternating with these chapters are profiles of key American leaders and events, reminding us of all that was happening at home during the war, including peace protests, presidential scandals, and veterans' struggles to acclimate to life after Vietnam.
With more than one hundred photographs, award-winning author Elizabeth Partridge's unflinching book captures the intensity, frustration, and lasting impacts of one of the most tumultuous periods of American history.
*Kirkus Reviews, starred review of Marching for Freedom
Skillfully interweaving original interviews and black-and-white photos with narrative, Partridge (Marching for Freedom) evokes the political controversy and intense emotions triggered by the Vietnam War. Her spare descriptions of the physical tension between antiwar students and a discharged soldier exemplify the chasm between politicians and protestors, and between career military personnel and troops. Partridge trains a lens on five men who fought on the ground, plus a medic, a field nurse, and a Vietnamese refugee. The chronicle vividly brings to light their daily lives, the discrimination some encountered, and their loyalties and moral sensitivity to the war's unending brutality. Interspersed chapters focus on decision-making at the highest level as well as growing antiwar sentiment; a look at the protest songs of Woodstock and Martin Luther King Jr.'s agonized decision to oppose the war fits neatly. Despite her antiwar sympathies, Partridge presents the presidents' positions evenhandedly and elucidates the dilemmas they faced over the course of the war. A profoundly affecting description of the dedication of the Vietnam War Memorial in 1982 concludes these compelling stories. Ages 12 up.
I thought it would just be another “Vietnam documentary” but it turned out to be a perspective-changing book with not enough pages. The author got people that experienced either side(only no ex-Vietcong). So read it, it really changes your outlook on how well history is told.