Resources for Learning about the American War in Viet Nam

Below is a small selection from the thousands of works that have been produced on the American war in Vietnam. Resources are presented in the following categories, and are alphabetized by author, except for the films, which are alphabetized by title:

  • Works of Nonfiction, including subcategories: Vietnamese Authors | Gulf of Tonkin | The Pentagon Papers | Antiwar Movement/GI Resistance | Legacies of the War (Agent Orange and unexploded ordnance)
  • First Person Accounts
  • Photo Collections
  • Poetry
  • Works of Fiction
  • Teaching Resources
  • Films and Audiovisual Resources

Works of Nonfiction

Christian G. Appy, Working-Class War: American Combat Soldiers and Vietnam (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993).

An accurate depiction of the impact of the war on the working class.

Andrew J. Bacevich, The Pentomic Era: The U.S. Army between Korea and Vietnam (Washington, D.C.: National Defense University Press: 1986).

This is not a lyrical book. However, Bacevich’s brief text lays bare the disarray within the U.S. Army following the war in Korea: its inability to define a strategic mission, its development of inefficient and occasionally ludicrous weapons (e.g. the Davy Crockett), its paranoid response to inter-service rivalries, and, despite its emphasis on business management strategies, its brief commitment to the wholly unmanageable “Pentomic” organizational structure.

Andrew J. Bacevich, ed., The Long War: A New History of U.S. National Security Policy Since World War II (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007).

Contains a number of interesting articles by specialists in military history. See especially, “Shield and Sword” by Bracevich which succinctly discusses the mistakes and duplicities that lead to a protracted war in Southeast Asia.

Larry Berman, Perfect Spy: The Incredible Double Life of Pham Xuan An, Time Magazine Reporter and Vietnamese Communist Agent (New York: Harper Collins, 2007).

The incredible story of an effective spy beloved by western journalists.

Michael Burleigh, Small Wars, Faraway Places: Global Insurrection and the Making of the Modern World (London: McMillan, 2013).

Documents the turmoil and anti-colonialism that followed in the wake of the collapse of the Japanese Empire in 1945. The majority of insurrections and wars in the succeeding twenty years are covered. In particular the French Indochina war and the American war in Vietnam, including the tunnel vision of American foreign policy, are incisively discussed.

Bernard Fall, Hell in a Very Small Place: The Siege of Dien Bien Phu (New York: Lippincott. 1966).

An early western account of one of the most significant battles of the 20th century which led to France’s withdrawal from Vietnam.

Bernard Fall, Street Without Joy (Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole, 1961).

Often read and too often forgotten. Fall’s beautifully written books and articles on the War in Indochina constitute an insightful and scholarly (his work began as his doctoral thesis) examination of this conflict. As a member of the French Maquis and then a Lieutenant in the French Army, Fall brings an unblinking eye to the overwhelming, and ultimately insoluble obstacles to establishing French control over its former colony. Before his death, Fall made it abundantly clear that these self-same problems would apply to the American effort.

John J. Fitzgerald, Marilyn B. Young and A. Tom Grundfeld, The Vietnam War: A History in Documents (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002).

An up-to-date collection of important documents.

H. Bruce Franklin, “Plausibility of Denial” (Chapter 2) and “Missing in Action in the Twenty-first Century” (Chapter 9), in Vietnam and Other American Fantasies (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2000).

A brilliant critique of the uses of POWs and MIAs in justifying the war and sabotaging the peace.

Marvin E. Gettleman, Jane Franklin, Marilyn B. Young, H. Bruce Franklin, Vietnam and America: A Documented History (New York: Grove Press, 1995).

The following are a selection of articles contained therein:

• Ngo Vinh Long, “Vietnam’s Revolutionary Tradition,” 4-18.

• Ho Chi Minh, “First Appeal to the United States” (June 18, 1919),  18-20.

• “Vietnam Declaration of Independence” (September 2, 1945), 26-28.

•  Ngo Vinh Long, “The Franco-Vietnamese War, 1945-1954: Origins of US Involvement” (with editors’ introduction), 31-40.

• John Foster Dulles and Richard M. Nixon, “Taking up the White Man’s Burden: Two American Views” (1954), 50-52.

• Rationale for Escalation: The U.S. Government “White Paper” of 1965, 255-274.

• The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., “Declaration of Independence from the War in Vietnam” (April 1967), 310-318. (See video reenactment under Videos and DVDs.)

• Colonel Robert D. Heinl, Jr., “The Collapse of the Armed Forces” (1971), 326-335 (a seminal piece on GI resistance by an officer who is unhappy about it).

• David Hunt, “Remembering the Tet Offensive,” 359-377.

• U.S. Promise of Postwar Reconstruction: Letter to DRV Prime Minister Pham Van Dong (February 1, 1973), 487-88.

• H. Bruce Franklin, “The Last Chapter?” 500-515.

• Marilyn Young, ”Epilogue: The Vietnam War in American Memory,” 515-522.

James William Gibson, The Perfect War: Technowar in Vietnam (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1986).

A searching exploration of the contradictions in and shortcomings of the American strategy

William L. Griffen and John Marciano, Lessons of the Vietnam War: A Critical Examination of School Texts and an Interpretive History Utilizing the Pentagon Papers and Other Documents (Roman and Allanheld, Publishers, 1979). Updated in Joe L. Kincheloe, Shirley R. Steinberg, John Marciano, Civic Illiteracy and American Education: Battle for the Hearts and Minds of American Youth (New York: 1997), Chapter 5.

An early critique of how U.S. textbooks treat the war.

George C. Herring, “Tet and the Crisis of Hegemony,” in Carole Fink, Philipp Gassert, and Detlef Junker, eds., 1968: The World Transformed (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 31-54.

A contemporaneous attempt to assess the significance of the 1968 Tet offensive.

Michael Hunt, A Vietnam War Reader (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010).

A recent collection of documents from both the U.S. and Vietnamese sides.

Stanley Karnow, Vietnam: A History (Originial – New York: Viking, 1983); Paper – New York: Penguin, 1997).

A noted historian and a reporter with extensive firsthand experience in Viet Nam, Karnow provides biographical information on all the leading actors – many of whom “declined to learn” –  and the influences upon them: cultural, political, and military. The impact of “statistical razzle-dazzle” (read “body count” among other manipulations) and bureaucratic infighting is covered in detail. Karnow’s book is the basis for a public television documentary of the same name.

George Katsiaficas, ed., Vietnam Documents: American and Vietnamese Views of the War (New York: Sharpe, 1992).

Key primary sources on the war.

Gabriel Kolko, Anatomy of A War: Vietnam, the United States, and the Modern Historical Experience (1984; New York: New Press, 1995).

Distinguished historian analyzes the war from the Vietnamese revolutionary perspective.

Stanley I. Kutler (ed.), Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1996).

A comprehensive and up-to-date reference on the Vietnam War. Among the articles are ten major interpretive essays.

Derek Leebaert, The Fifty-Year Wound: The True Price of America’s Cold War Legacy (New York: Little Brown, 2002).

A magisterial account of the cold war, its cost, clumsiness, and deceptions. Both the State Department and the CIA are exposed as inept and immoral, especially during the period before and during the War in Viet Nam.

Fredrik Logevall, Embers of war: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam (New York: Random House, 2012).

Pulitzer Prize-winning description of the French war (1946-54) and early American involvement. A detailed, objective and critical assessment of the effort by the French to retain their colonies in French Indochina. Also included is a discussion of America’s efforts to sustain the region in the name of anticommunism.

Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade (New York: Lawrence Hill Books, 1991).

A classic study of the role of the CIA in the drug netherworld – with a focus on Southeast Asia.

John D. Marciano, The American War in Vietnam: Crime or Commemoration? (New York: Monthly Review, 2016).

A short, but excellent polemical history of the war.

Mariscal, George, Aztlan and Viet Nam: Chicano and Chicana Experiences of the War (American Crossroads) (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999).

Edwin A. Martini, Invisible Hands: The American War on Vietnam, 1975-2000 (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2007).

Thomas E. Ricks, The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today (New York: Penguin, 2012).

Documents the rise of the go-along-to-get-along officer corps that rewarded micro-management best epitomized by the career of William Westmoreland. Perhaps uniquely, Westmoreland’s post graduate education consisted of a semester at the Harvard business school and a brief stint in the Army’s Cooks and Baker’s School suggesting that in a better world he would be known for his excellent cream chipped beef on toast and not his generalship. Ricks’ book lends support to the maxim that no officer with a business degree should be allowed to advance above the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Lewis Sorley, Westmoreland: The General Who Lost Vietnam (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011).

Argues that General Westmorland should not have been put in command of the military effort in Vietnam. Westmoreland had many self-deluded accomplices in this brutal folly, men who had neither the courage to pull out nor the wisdom to alter a failed strategy. A master of the telling anecdote, Sorely describes the time Westmoreland, who was then Chief of Staff, saw a picture of a company commander – “unkempt and unshaven” – just back from a long patrol. Westmoreland was outraged at the man’s unsoldierly appearance and went so far as to upbraid the battalion commander responsible. He had no knowledge of conditions in the field. “He just didn’t get it.” (page 217).]

Jerrold M. Starr, ed., The Lessons of the Vietnam War (Pittsburgh: The Center for Social Studies Education, 1996) and The Lessons of the Vietnam War: A Modular Textbook (Pittsburgh: Center for Social Studies Education, 1988).

This book may be out of print.

James W. Trullinger, Village at War: An Account of Revolution in a Vietnamese Village (New York, Longman, 1980).

An anthropological description of a village in the war.

Nick Turse, Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2013).

An updated description of the ‘real war’ against the civilian population of Vietnam.

Marilyn B. Young, The Vietnam Wars: 1945-1990 (New York: Harper Collins, 1993).

A comprehensive study by the distinguished historian.


Vietnamese Authors

Ho Chi Minh, Selected Writings (Hanoi: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1977).

• On lynching and the Ku Klux Klan (1924).

• At the Congress for unification of Viet Minh and Lien Viet (March 3, 1951).

• Instructions given at a Conference on Guerrilla warfare (July 1952).

• Closing address at the Congress of the National United Front (Sept. 10, 1955).

• On revolutionary morality (1958).

• “The path which led me to Leninism,” first published in the Soviet review, Problems of the East, on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of V.I. Lenin’s birthday (April 1960).

• The Chinese revolution and the Vietnamese revolution (July 1, 1961).

• Report to the special political conference (March 27, 1964).

Hoang Dinh Cau, Environment and Human Health in Vietnam: Thirty Years after the Ranch Hand Operation (Hanoi: Nghe An Public House, Institute for Research and Universalization for Encyclopaedic Knowledge, 2003).

Le Cao Dai, Agent Orange in the Viet Nam War: History and Consequences (Hanoi: Vietnam Red Cross Society, 2000).

Le Cao Dai, The Central Highlands: A North Vietnamese Journal of Life on the Ho Chi Minh Trail 1965-1973 (Hanoi: The Gioi, 2004).

Ngo Vinh Long, “The Tet Offensive and its aftermath” (an updated and detached version of the realities of the Tet offensive), in Jayne Werner and David Hunt, eds., The American War in Vietnam (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 1993), 23-45.

Nguyen Khac Vien, Vietnam: A Long History (Hanoi: The Gioi, 1993).

Phan Huy Le, et al., The Traditional Village of Vietnam (Hanoi: The Gioi, 1993).

Tu Lap Vu, Vietnam: Geographical Data (Hanoi: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1979).

Tu Mai Thi and Le Thi Nham Tuyet, Women in Vietnam (Hanoi: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1978).

Võ Nguyên Giáp, National Liberation War in Viet Nam, Part II of Selected Writings, Dec 1969 (Hanoi: Thế Giới Publishers, 1994).

• Chapter 2: “The entire people fight the enemy,” 224-236.

• Chapter 3: “Political forces and military forces in mass uprising and people’s war,” 237-252.


Gulf of Tonkin

Excerpt from Daniel Ellsberg, Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers (New York: Penguin, 2002), 7–20, at NewsMine.org.

Ellsberg was there as the cables from the Gulf of Tonkin arrived at the Pentagon and provides an authoritative debunking of the official story.

Susan Graseck, ed., The Limits of Power: The United States in Vietnam (The Choices Program) (Providence, RI: Brown University, 2004).

A U.S.-centric view but a solid examination of the context of the Gulf of Tonkin incident and resolution.

Robert J. Hanyok, “Skunks, Bogies, Silent Hounds, and the Flying Fish: The Gulf of Tonkin Mystery, 2-4 August 1964,” Cryptologic Quarterly [PDF], Winter 2000/Spring 2001 Edition, Vol. 19, No. 4 / Vol. 20, No. 1.

An official debunking of the official story

Edwin E. Moise, Tonkin Gulf and the Escalation of the Vietnam War (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996).

The definitive treatment of the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin “incident” and the subsequent escalation of the American war in Vietnam.


The Pentagon Papers

Officially titled United States–Vietnam Relations, 1945–1967: A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense, this was a top secret history of involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967. The study was leaked by Daniel Ellsberg and published in excerpt form in the New York Times beginning in February 1971. The Sheehan version was in the New York Times; the Gravel version was read into the Congressional Record by Alaska senator Mike Gravel.

Complete Pentagon Papers (three versions) at the National Security Archive

Pentagon Papers (the version declassified and released by the Pentagon in 2011) at National Archives

Neil Sheehan, Hedrick Smith, E.W. Kenworthy,and Fox Butterfield, The Pentagon Papers (New York: Bantam, 1971).

The Pentagon Papers: The Defense Department History of United States Decisionmaking on Vietnam – The Senator Gravel Edition (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971).

The Pentagon Papers, Vol. 5 (Boston: Beacon Press, 1972).

Critical essays edited by Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn with an index to Volumes 1-4.

George C. Herring, ed., The Secret Diplomacy of the Vietnam War: The Negotiating Volumes of the Pentagon Papers (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983).

Daniel Ellsberg, Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers (New York: Penguin, 2002).

The memoir of the antiwar activist whose only regret is that he didn’t leak war secrets earlier.


Antiwar Movement / GI Resistance

David Cortright, Soldiers in Revolt: GI Resistance During the Vietnam War (1975; Haymarket Books, 2005).

An early seminal work on GI resistance.

Charles DeBenedetti and Charles Chatfield, An American Ordeal: The Anti-War Movement of the Vietnam Era (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1990).

John Grant, “The Vietnam War and the Struggle For Truth,” Counterpunch, June 22, 2012.

Ruminations by  a thoughtful American Vietnam veteran and antiwar activist.

Colonel Robert D. Heinl, Jr., “The Collapse of the Armed Forces” (1971), in Marvin E. Gettleman, et al., Vietnam and America: A Documented History (New York: Grove Press, 1995), 326-335.

A seminal piece on GI resistance by an officer who is unhappy about it.

Jerry Lembcke, The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam (New York: New York University Press, 1998).

A deconstruction of the narrative of the antiwar protestor spitting at returning soldiers.

Jerry Lembcke, Hanoi Jane: War, Sex, and Fantasies of Betrayal (Dexter, Michigan: Thomas-Shore, Inc., 2010).

The use of Jane Fonda to delegitimize the antiwar movement along with an interesting discussion of the reality for POWs.

James Lewes, Protest and Survive: Underground GI Newspapers During the Vietnam War (Praeger Press, 2007).

Recovering the rich history of GI protest.

Gerald Nicosia, Home to War: A history of the Vietnam Veterans’ Movement (Amherst, MA.: University of Massachusetts Press, 1995).

The most comprehensive chronicle of the Viet Vet resistance movement.

Thomas Powers, Vietnam, the War at Home: The Anti-war Movement, 1964-1968 (New York: Grossman, 1973; 1984).

Tom Wells, The War Within: America’s Battle over Vietnam (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994; Lincoln, Nebraska: iUniverse Press, 2005).

The uprising of young American citizens succeeded in changing our Vietnam policy beyond their own recognition.

Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, Radicals on the Road: Internationalism, Orientalism and Feminism During the Vietnam Era (Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 2013).

An important perspective – feminist and internationalist – on new relationships developed around opposition to the war.

Wisconsin Historical Society, The GI Press Collection, 1964-1977.

Over 88,000 page images with searchable text taken from more than 2,400 periodicals and other items such as pamphlets and posters created by or for U.S. military personnel during the Vietnam War era.

Nancy Zaroulis and Gerald Sullivan, Who Spoke Up? American Protest Against the War in Vietnam, 1963-1975 (New York: Doubleday, 1984).

Links to Resources from Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and related groups and activities.


Legacies of the War

Christian G. Appy, American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity (New York: Penguin Books, 2015).

Deeply probes the meaning of the war for Americans and our limited reckoning with it.

Robert Dreyfuss. “Apocalypse Still, Agent Orange: The Next Generation,” Mother Jones (2/2000): 42-91.

“The Catastrophe of Agent Orange for Vietnam,” Indochina Newsletter 52 (July-August 1988).

Edwin A. Martini, Agent Orange: History, Science, and the Politics of Uncertainty (University of Massachusetts Press, 2012).

Viet Thanh Nguyen, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2016).

How people in power remember and mis-remember the war; and what a more honest memory might include.

Fred Wilcox, Waiting For an Army To Die: The Tragedy of Agent Orange (New York: Random House, 1983; Seven Stories Press, 2011).

Fred Wilcox, Scorched Earth: Legacies of Chemical Warfare in Vietnam (New York: Seven Stories Press, 201).

Michael Uhl and Tod Ensign, GI Guinea Pigs: How the Pentagon Exposed Our Troops to Dangers More Deadly than War: Agent Orange and Atomic Radiation (New York: Playboy Press, 1980).

Barry Weisberg, Ecocide in Indochina: The Ecology of War (New York: Harper & Row, 1970).

Projects or documentation of attempts to remedy the continuing impact of the war, especially pertaining to the legacies of Agent Orange/dioxin and unexploded ordnance (UXO).


First Person Accounts

Christian G. Appy, Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered from All Sides (New York: Penguin Books, 2003).

Fascinating selections by participants in the war from all sides, including the South Vietnamese.

Christian G. Appy, Vietnam: The Definitive Oral History Told from All Sides (New York: Penguin Books, 2005).

More from the great historian of the war.

Lady Borton, After Sorrow: An American among the Vietnamese (New York: Viking Penguin, 1995).

This may be out of print; a slightly abridged version is at http://www.nnn.se/vietnam/sorrow.htm. Lady Borton has lived and worked in Vietnam during and since the war.

Bernard Edelman, Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam (video and book) (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2002).

Le Ly Hayslip with Jay Wurts, When Heaven and Earth Changed Places (New York: Penguin Books,1989).

A moving memoir of war and return.

Wallace Terry, Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans (New York: Ballantine Books, 1984).

Revealing portraits of Black soldiers.

Charley Trujillo, ed., Soldados: Chicanos in Viet Nam (San Jose, CA : Chusma House Publications, 1990).

Brian Willson, Blood on the Track: The Life and Times of S. Brian Willson (Oakland: PM Press, 2011).

Memoir of Vietnam war veteran and long-time nonviolent antiwar protestor.

Brian Willson, Don’t Thank Me For My Service: My Vietnam awakening to the Long History of U.S. Lies (Clarity Press, 2018).

A combination of the experience of a U.S. soldier and an overall history of American imperialism.

Michael Uhl, Vietnam Awakening: My Journey From Combat to the Citizens Commission of Inquiry on U.S. War Crimes in Vietnam (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2007).

An American veteran’s radicalization.

Linda Van Devanter, Home before Morning: The Story of an Army Nurse in Vietnam (New York: Beaufort Books, 1983).

The memoir of a nurse: her service in Viet Nam during the war, and her struggles with PTSD upon returning home.


Photo Collections

Tim Page, Another Side: Pictures of the War from the Other Side (Washington D.C.: National Geographic, 2002).

  • How the Vietnamese resistance pictured the war.

Poetry

W.D. Ehrhart, Beautiful Wreckage: New & Selected Poems (East Hampton, Mass.: Adastra Press, 1999).

W.D. is known as the Dean of American Vietnam war poets.

Maxine Hong Kingston, ed., Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace (Kihei, Hawaii: Koa Books, 2006).

Writings and poetry by veterans and others.

Yusef Komunyakaa, Dien Cai Dau (Wesleyan Poetry Series) (Middlteon, Ct.: Wesleyan University Press, 1988).

A major contribution to the body of literature grappling with Vietnam –  a poetry that pierces the artificial border between moral and aesthetic engagement.

Larry Rottmann, Jan Barry, Basil T. Paquet, eds., Winning Hearts & Minds: War Poems by Vietnam Veterans (1st Casualty Press; ​New York: McGraw-Hill, 1972).

Early poems by veterans.

Bruce Weigl, Song of Napalm: Poems (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1988).

Powerful poems by an American veteran of the war.


Works of Fiction

Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1990).

Short pieces capture the war experience and its aftermath from an American Vietnam veteran’s perspective; a literary classic.

Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Sympathizer (New York: Grove Atlantic, 2015).

In dialogue with but diametrically opposed to the narratives of the Vietnam War that have preceded it, this novel offers an important and unfamiliar new perspective on the war: that of a conflicted communist sympathizer.

Juvenile Fiction

Walter Dean Myers, Patrol: An American Soldier in Vietnam (New York: HarperCollins, 2005).

Award-winning young adult author Walter Dean Myers introduces the questions raised by many soldiers as they see the humanity of the “enemy” through this illustrated picture book for elementary students.


Teaching Resources

The Zinn Education Project promotes and supports the use of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States and other materials for teaching a people’s history in middle and high school classrooms. The website offers more than 100 free, downloadable lessons and articles organized by theme, time period, and reading level. The Zinn Education Project is coordinated by two non-profit organizations, Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change.

Its goal is to introduce students to a more accurate, complex, and engaging understanding of United States history than is found in traditional textbooks and curricula:

The Zinn Education Project website contains these Free Teaching Activities from The Zinn Education Project:

Other useful resources for teaching and learning about the Vietnam War include:

Visual Resources (online):

  • Richard Pyle, Vietnam War Photos That Made a Difference, published on Lens Blogs, The New York Times, Sept. 12, 2013.
  • Google image search for “Vietnam war photos”
  • Viet Nam Era Posters, a visual resource on the Wellesley College site listed above.
  • A virtual catalog of The Sixties Project’s “Decade of Protest: Political Posters from the United States, Cuba and Viet Nam, 1965-1975,” an exhibition held at Track 16 Gallery, January 19-March 9, 1996. Exhibition and catalogue organized with the Center for the Study of Political Graphics. Included are examples of Vietnam-era anti-war buttons and posters.

Films and Audiovisual Resources

Another Brother, directed by Tami Gold | 1998 | 50mins.

Through found photographs, audiotaped interviews and archival footage, this film tells the story of Vietnam veteran Clarence Fitch, situating his life within the context of a remarkable range of issues – racism, the Black civil rights movement, the Vietnam War and its aftermath, the scourge of drugs, and finally the AIDS crisis.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “Beyond Vietnam” film clip, Zinn Education Project, Voices of a People’s History | 8min.

Dramatic reading of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Beyond Vietnam” (1967) speech by Michael Ealy.

FTA, directed by Francine Parker | 1972 | 97mins.

The wonderfully campy, yet biting theater of Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland, and other performers’ Free The Army (or, more popularly, F*** The Army”) Tour, the anti-war show that rallied and roused dissident GIs stationed along the Pacific Rim during the war. The film mysteriously disappeared in 1972 after only one week in theaters. An updated DVD version released by docuramafilms features an interview with Jane Fonda.

 He Who Hits First, Hits Twice: The Urgent Cinema Of Santiago Alvarez, curated by Travis Wilkerson | 2003.

This collection of short films made by the Cuban director in the 1960s and early 70s includes 79 Primaveras, a film celebrating the life of Ho Chi Minh, and Hanoi Martes 13, a documentary of the American bombing of Hanoi.

Hearts and Minds, directed by Peter Davis | 1974 | R | .

Academy Award-winning documentary.

Ho Chi Minh: Vietnam’s Enigma, Biography TV episode aired 29 April 2000 | 1h.

Excellent footage in a mixed analysis of Ho Chi Minh’s life, mostly but not entirely from Western sources.

Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision, directed by Freida Lee Mock | 1994 | 1h 45mins.

This Academy Award winner for Best Documentary Feature tells the story of the designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (“The Wall”), and the “David vs. Goliath” battle to defend her design against opposition from indignant veterans and a hostile Congress, in order to build the amazing monument that would launch her career.

The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, directed by Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith | 2009 | 1h 32min.

A biography of the man who revealed the secrets of the Vietnam war, with Peter Arnett, Ben Bagdikian, Ann Beeson, and John Dean.

The Other Side of War, produced by Fred Milano, professor emeritus of sociology, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina | 1990 | 1h.

This documentary examines a controversial topic that has been largely ignored – the role of American women in the Vietnam War, 1964-1973. The film consists entirely of interviews with female nurses and Red Cross volunteers who were sent to Vietnam. It provides a first-hand account of their contribution, the critical role they performed, their insights and reflections about their wartime experience, the traumatic events and memories that haunt them, and the readjustment problems they faced after returning home.

Regret to Inform, directed by Barbara Sonneborn. Sun Fountain Productions, 1998 | 1h 12min.

This beautifully filmed Oscar-nominated documentary follows director Barbara Sonneborn as she travels to Vietnam to the site of her husband’s wartime death. Woven into her personal odyssey are interviews with American and Vietnamese widows who speak openly and profoundly about the men they loved and how war changed their lives forever. Teaching Guide by Bill Bigelow available online.

Remember My Lai, directed by Kevin Sim, Frontline TV series, Season 7, Episode 14, aired 23 May 1989 | 1h. 

In 1968, American soldiers massacred over 500 adults and children in a Vietnamese hamlet called My Lai. Frontline explores the legacy of that savage day on the men who were there and the Vietnamese who survived.

Sir! No Sir! directed by David Zeigler | 2005 |

The suppressed story of the GI movement to end the war in Vietnam.

The Sound of the Violin in My Lai, Trần Văn Thủy | 1999 | 32min.

A short film that examines the history and legacy of the My Lai massacre, including gestures of goodwill by American veterans including the creation of a memorial park at the site where 500+ civilians were murdered by American soldiers in 1968. Produced by Mike Boehm.

The Ten Thousand Day War, 26-part Canadian television documentary produced by Michael Maclear, Season 1, Episode 1, America in Vietnam, and Episode 2, France in Vietnam | 1980 | 52min (episode length).

The Untold History of the United States, Episode 7: “Johnson, Nixon & Vietnam: Reversal of Fortune,” directed by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick | 2012. Also available as an audio book read by Peter Berkrot.

From Oliver Stone’s re-examination of under-reported events in American history.

Viet Nam In the Year of the Pig, directed by Emile de Antonio | 1968 | 1h 43min.

Produced at the height of the Vietnam War, this Oscar-nominated documentary chronicles the war’s historical roots. A precursor, similar in style, to Hearts and Minds.

Vietnam: A Television History, a 13-episode TV mini-series produced by Central Independent Television, Episode 1: Roots of War, broadcast on WGBH on 4 October 1983 | 51min.

Vietnam: American Holocaust, directed by Clay Claiborne | 2008 | 1h 27min.

This documentary of the American war in Viet Nam, narrated by Martin Sheen, pieces together the historical record and draws parallels with the American war in Iraq.

Vietnam Experience, directed by Daniel Keller and Joe McDonald | 1987 | 30min.

This music video is a heartfelt journey of the sights and sounds of the Vietnam war combining the emotional lyrics and music of Country Joe McDonald and compelling archival footage of the war.

Vietnam: The Secret Agent, directed by Jacki Ochs | 1983 | 56min.

The authoritative account of the history and troubling impact of Agent Orange on American veterans and their families.

The Vietnam War, directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick | 10-episode TV series | 2017 | total runtime 16h 30min.

This heavily hyped PBS series offers a comprehensive history of the United States’ involvement in the bitterly divisive armed conflict in Southeast Asia got mixed reviews. Weaknesses include overly intense demonization of the “enemy” and poor coverage of the devastating legacy of Agent Orange.

The War at Home, directed by Glenn Silber and Barry Alexander Brown | 1979 | 1h 40 min.

This Academy Award-nominated film vividly chronicles the antiwar protest movement of the 1960s and 70s by documenting the turmoil at the University of Wisconsin during that turbulent decade.

Winter Soldier by Winterfilm* in association with Vietnam Veterans Against the War | 1972 | 1h 36min. [*The Winterfilm Collective: Rusty Sachs, Barbara Kopple, Fred Aranow, Nancy Baker, Joe Bangert, Rhetta Barron, Robert Fiore, David Gillis, David Grubin, Jeff Holstein, Barbara Jarvis, Al Kaupas, Mark Lenix, Michael Lesser, Nancy Miller, Lee Osborne, Lucy Massie Phenix, Roger Phenix, Benay Rubenstein, and Michael Weil.]

Chronicles the Winter Soldier Investigation which took place in Detroit, Michigan, from January 31 to February 2, 1971. The film documents the accounts of United States soldiers who returned from Vietnam, and participated in this war crimes hearing.