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The Vietnam War in American Stories, Songs & Poems

H. Bruce Franklin

Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin's Press, 1996. ISBN 0-312-11552-0

"Professor Franklin has chosen the stories, songs, and poems well. His text is very much a history text that goes a long way toward recovering that era, a task desperately needed by students living amid the free-floating images and slogans of our postmodern television age. A fine contribution to the public memory."

--Professor John Hellmann, author of American Myth and the Legacy of Vietnam


"The selections are sterling examples of enduring art. The editorial apparatus is marvelous, lucid, balanced."

--Professor Vince Gotera, author of Radical Visions: Poetry by Vietnam Veterans


"This is an important project that H. Bruce Franklin is ideally suited to produce."

--Professor Susan Jeffords, author of The Remasculinization of America: Gender and the Vietnam War


"H. Bruce Franklin's The Vietnam War in American Stories, Songs, and Poems is an excellent collection. It fills a long-ignored gap in anthologies of American literature. Franklin's instincts concerning the legacy of the war in American literature and culture are right on target, and his critical approach is sorely needed in the present-day culture. His collection offers both a wide variety of imaginative approaches to the Vietnam War and a critical intervention in the current popular discourses seeking to recuperate the war."

--Professor Michael Bibby, author of Hearts and Minds: Bodies, Poetry and Resistance in the Vietnam Era


"Franklin makes available both a wealth and diversity of work. Even as a specialist, I certainly found a lot of interesting new material. The overview encapsulations provided on a host of topics are often as illuminating and informative as any I have read. In the general introduction alone, for instance, we learn a very great deal in a very short compass about the Vietnam experience and American cultural memory, American literature, American pedagogy, and American film. I found the summary of the growth of the anti-war movement to be the best brief history of the subject I have ever read."

--Professor Philip Beidler, author of Re-writing America: Vietnam Authors in Their Generation


Table of Contents

  • PREFACE

  • INTRODUCTION

  • FICTION

    • Inside the War

      Michael Paul McCusker
      "The Old Man"

      Larry Rottmann
      "Thi Bong Dzu"

      David Huddle
      "The Interrogation of the Prisoner Bung by Mister Hawkins and Sergeant Tree"

      George Davis
      "Ben"

      Tom Mayer
      "Kafka for President"

      Tim O'Brien
      The Man I Killed"

    • Against the War

      Ward Just
      "The Congressman Who Loved Flaubert"

      Mary Hazzard
      from Idle and Disorderly Persons

      Wayne Karlin
      "Moratorium"

    • The Vietnam War and American Science Fiction

      Kate Wilhelm
      "The Village"

      Karen Joy Fowler
      "The Lake Was Full of Artificial Things"

    • Aftermaths

      Ronald Anthony Cross
      "The Heavenly Blue Answer"

      Stephanie Vaughn
      "Kid MacArthur"

      Lewis Shiner
      "The War at Home"

      Robert Olen Butler
      "A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain"

      Wayne Karlin
      "The Last VC"

  • SONGS AND POEMS

    • The Vietnam War and American Popular Music

      Joe McDonald
      "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die-Rag"

      Barry Sadler and Robin Moore
      The Ballad of the Green Berets"

      Neil Young
      "Ohio"

      John Fogerty
      "Fortunate Son"

      Bruce Springsteen
      "Born in the U.S.A."

    • The Poetry of the Vietnam War

      Philip Appleman
      "Peace With Honor"

      John Balaban
      "After Our War"
      "Along the Mekong"
      "In Celebration of Spring"
      "News Update"
      "For Mrs. Cam"
      "Mau Than"

      Jan Barry
      "In the Footsteps of Ghengis Khan"
      "Thap Ba"

      Lady Borton
      "A Boom, A Billow"

      Ron Carter
      "Vietnam Dream"

      Horace Coleman
      "OK Corral East/Brothers in the Nam"
      "The Adrenaline Junkie and `The Daily Emergency'"

      Frank A. Cross, Jr.
      "Gliding Baskets"
      "Rice Will Grow Again"

      W. D. Ehrhart
      "Guerrilla War"
      "Making the Children Behave"
      "To Those Who Have Gone Home Tired"
      "The Invasion of Grenada"
      "For Mrs. Na"
      "Guns"

      Joan A. Furey
      "Camouflage"

      Sharon Grant
      "The Best Act in Pleiku, No One Under 18 Admitted"

      Steve Hassett
      "And what would you do, ma"
      "Christmas"

      June Jordan
      "To My Sister, Ethel Ennis, Who Sang `The Star-Spangled Banner' at the Second Inauguration of Richard Milhaus Nixon"

      Penny Kettlewell
      "The Coffee Room Soldier"

      Yusef Komunyakaa
      "Prisoners"
      "The Dead at Quang Tri"

      Denise Levertov
      From "Staying Alive": "Prologue: An Interim" (i & ii)
      "The Pilots"
      "Fragrance of Life, Odor of Death"
      "A Poem at Christmas, 1972, during the Terror-Bombing of North Vietnam"

      Gerald McCarthy
      From "War Story" 1, 8, 9, 11, 12, 16, 19
      "Finding the Way Back"
      "The Sound of Guns"

      Marilyn M. McMahon
      "In This Land"
      "Wounds of War"
      "July 20, 1969"
      "Dying with Grace"
      "Confession"
      "Knowing"

      Janice Mirikitani
      "Loving from Vietnam to Zimbabwe"

      Richard M. Mishler
      "Ceremony"

      Basil T. Paquet
      "Morning--A Death"

      Pedro Pietri
      "Para la Madre de Angel Luna"

      Stan Platke
      "Bury the Body, Bury the Thought"

      Dale Ritterbusch
      "Search and Destroy"
      "At the Crash Site of a B-52: January 1994"

      Larry Rottmann
      "APO 96225"
      "For Cissy Shellabarger, R.N. Wherever You Are"
      "What Kind of War?"
      "Thanks, Guys"
      "A Porter on the Trail"
      "The Bones of an American M.I.A. Speak to the Members of the Joint Casualty Resolution Team"

      Luis Omar Salinas
      "Death in Vietnam"

      Linda Van Devanter
      "TV Wars--First Blood Part II"
      "For Molly"

      Bruce Weigl
      "Surrounding Blues on the Way Down"
      "Burning Shit at An Khe"
      "Him, on the Bicycle"
      "Song of Napalm"
      Snowy Egret"
      "Dialectical Materialism"

  • Glossary

  • Bibliographies and Secondary Sources on Vietnam War Literature
  • Chronology

  • Acknowledgements

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