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Vietnam & Other American Fantasies

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Written by a cultural historian, this text offers a wide-ranging exploration of the causes, meaning and continuing significance of the American war in Vietnam, arguing that the war was not a mistake, or a quagmire but a defining event in global history.


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Written by a cultural historian, this text offers a wide-ranging exploration of the causes, meaning and continuing significance of the American war in Vietnam, arguing that the war was not a mistake, or a quagmire but a defining event in global history.

30 review for Vietnam & Other American Fantasies

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    although i read this book appox. 6 years ago, i remember it being the first text that really clarified things for me about the US invasion of Vietnam. what i felt was extremely valuable was that it not only deconstructs how the history of this event has been alternately silenced and manipulated, but also exposes the mechanics of how the US government proactively created a collective, national "memory" around the war that continues to justify its actions from 30+ years ago. also important, the te although i read this book appox. 6 years ago, i remember it being the first text that really clarified things for me about the US invasion of Vietnam. what i felt was extremely valuable was that it not only deconstructs how the history of this event has been alternately silenced and manipulated, but also exposes the mechanics of how the US government proactively created a collective, national "memory" around the war that continues to justify its actions from 30+ years ago. also important, the text addresses how the "story" of this war has since been reconstructed in films and media that use racist portrayals of Vietnamese people juxtaposed with heroic US soldiers for even further justification. in light of the 5 year anniversary of the US occupation in Iraq (among its countless other imperial/neo-colonial actions, including the ambiguously titled War on Terror), this book's in-depth analysis of how controlling the popular imagination is critical to sustaining a long-term, "unpopular" war, seems particularly relevant. just to give you an idea of the (sometimes unusual) terrain covered by this book... if i can recollect, i think the author gives a whole chapter to talking about the role that science fiction/comic book writers have played during (and since) the Vietnam war by creating anti-war allegories and imagery to counter the dominating and all-consuming pro-war narrative of the US govt and its complicit media. (i think that it was this book that got me excited about how science fiction can be politicized; for a great "sci-fi" book [NOT about this conflict], please see Octavia Butler's Kindred.) Furthermore, this book had an incredible analysis about the culture and campaign of POW/MIA, a totally fabricated historical non-event whose physical manifestation helped enable the crafters of the Vietnam war to rationalize the US staying in Vietnam for 12+ years. The POW/MIA flags are still flying next to the US flag practically everywhere as if to say that, 30+ years later, there is STILL no need to question the lies that were the basis for the invasion of Vietnam...and by default, the current one in Iraq. In retrospect, I don't remember what my critiques of this book were... and I usually have them. If any of you take it upon yourselves to try this out, please remind me if there is anything utterly problematic. I know that I'm a different person than the 22-year-old version of me that read it! (and just to be aware, there is a lot of imagery in this text, and some of it is graphic.)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the sabre rattling over Iran, and the amorphous War on Terrorism have sparked a renewed interest in the Vietnam War. Franklin discusses the use of images that came out of the Vietnam War, the manipulation of the history of the anti-war movement, Vietnam veterans literature, the myth-making and lies surrounding the POW/MIA issue, and the consequences for the future. I highly recommend.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rylan Higgins

    H. Bruce Franklin for president! This is one of the more unique approaches to Vietnamese studies out there. Franklin's ability to connect the dots, so to speak, results in a spellbinding case for the importance of the relationship between popular culture and the political, among other keen analytical contributions. H. Bruce Franklin for president! This is one of the more unique approaches to Vietnamese studies out there. Franklin's ability to connect the dots, so to speak, results in a spellbinding case for the importance of the relationship between popular culture and the political, among other keen analytical contributions.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Interesting... but, man, this guy can rant!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Andy

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ana

  7. 4 out of 5

    Maureen Heipp

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jason

  9. 5 out of 5

    Julie

  10. 4 out of 5

    fiver

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brian Napoletano

  12. 5 out of 5

    Consuelo Crow

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rob

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bruce DeLoria

  15. 4 out of 5

    alison

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dylan

  17. 5 out of 5

    C. Library Smell Enjoyer

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kody

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Tooms

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

  21. 4 out of 5

    Phạm N.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Danny

  23. 5 out of 5

    Charles Bivona

  24. 4 out of 5

    Emory

  25. 5 out of 5

    Donald E. Sixt III

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lafe

  27. 5 out of 5

    Conney Freese-Posthuma

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shumon Huque

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Grossman

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