Based on rich collections housed at the National Archive, the Center of Military History, and at the Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech, Voices from America's Failed Crusade will trace the American experience of Vietnam from the war's popular inception to its morale-crushing and bitter conclusion. Being careful to demonstrate that the Vietnam War was actually several different wars both in time and in space, Voices from America's Failed Crusade will allow the reader a grunt's-eye view of the conflict – from the steaming rice paddies and swamps of the Mekong Delta, to the triple-canopy rainforest of the Central Highlands, to the forlorn Marine bases that dotted the DMZ. The stories contained within Voices from America's Failed Crusade will detail everything from heroism to fragging, from helicopters hitting the LZs to rampant drug use. It will be a true and grippingly accurate portrait of the American war in Vietnam through the eyes of the men and women who fought in that far away land.
Wiest has a good feel for the human side of the Vietnam War his previous book, The Boys of 67 (2012), chronicled the lives of the men of the 4th Battalion, 47th Infantry of the Army's 9th Infantry Division, the only U.S. unit that was raised, drafted, and trained for service in Vietnam. In his newest, the University of Southern Mississippi professor compiles a creditable oral history of soldiers and marines who saw combat in Vietnam. Many are members of one company of the unit he wrote about in his previous book, while other stories come from the Oral History Project at Texas Tech University's Vietnam Center and Archive, or from widows, sisters, and mothers of soldiers killed in action. Wiest arranges the oral testimonies in chronological chapters, beginning with a concise contextualization before seguing into the men's individual experiences. Wiest asserts that there "was no single, generic military experience for infantrymen and Marines in Vietnam," but he still provides a good sampling of what the war was like for American men fighting at the ground level even if many of these stories mirror those found in countless other Vietnam War oral histories and memoirs. Photos.