THREE FACES OF VIETNAM by Richard L. Wormser


Age Range: 12 - 15
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 With mixed success, Wormser attempts to put a personal face on the war, supporting a general overview with frequent, short extracts from the writings of American and Vietnamese participants, here and abroad. Setting the stage with sweeping views of Vietnam's tumultuous history, international politics after WW II, and the rise of the American youth culture in the 50's and 60's, the author considers the war's escalation and the concurrent rise of the protest movement in a reasonably balanced way, alluding to atrocities on both sides and pointing out that the great majority of young Americans never joined the ``counterculture.'' Wormser draws on the letters, reminiscences, and public statements of a few American soldiers and campus radicals for quotes; on the Vietnamese side, he relies most heavily on the autobiography of Le Ly, a village child trained by the Viet Cong. Some of the paragraph- length passages are scary, poignant, and revealing, but many (especially Tom Hayden's generalizations about his generation) give neither real information nor a sense of being close to events. Though most of the text is Wormser's, this may have some use as a documentary resource; still, several other books, led by the Hooblers' Vietnam, Why We Fought (1990), cover the same territory with more insight. Sparse, poorly reproduced b&w photos; bibliography; notes; index. (Nonfiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-531-11142-3
Page count: 160pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1993