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Vietnam: A History of the War

By: Russell Freedman

In this enthralling book, Freedman provides a succinct account of perhaps the most puzzling and contentious of America's wars. Time line. Source notes. Glossary. Selected bibliography. Index. Black-and-white photographs, map, and reproductions of artwork and other media.

ISBN: 9780823436583

JLG Release: Oct 2016


Sensitive Areas: Language: Mild Language, Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Drug Use/Abuse, Violence: War/Harsh Realities of War, Language: Racial or Ethnic Epithet/Slur, Violence: Graphic Descriptions, Violence: Suicide
Topics: Vietnam War (1961–1975) , Government and politics , Communism , Antiwar movement , Ho Chi Minh (1890–1969) , Ngo Dinh Diem (1901–1963) , Refugees , Twentieth-century history

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Nonfiction Middle

Grades 5-8

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Awards & Honors

SLJ’s Best Books of 2016, Nonfiction
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2016, Middle-Grade
Booklist 2016 Editors’ Choice, Books for Youth, Older Readers, Nonfiction
CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2017, 6–8
2017 Notable Books for a Global Society
2017 Capitol Choices, Ten to Fourteen
VOYA’S Nonfiction Honor List 2017

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist*, The Horn Book Magazine, Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal*

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
In his customary well-honed prose, Freedman presents a coherent overview of the Vietnam War. First he retraces Vietnam’s 2,000 year struggle to become and stay independent and how the United States went from ally to aggressor (a result of shifting from fighting colonialism to opposing communism after World War II).
[STARRED REVIEW]
In his customary well-honed prose, Freedman presents a coherent overview of the Vietnam War. First he retraces Vietnam’s 2,000 year struggle to become and stay independent and how the United States went from ally to aggressor (a result of shifting from fighting colonialism to opposing communism after World War II). He goes on to recount the major events in the war, the course of the antiwar movement in the United States, U.S. troop withdrawal, and the long process of reconciliation. Amid descriptions of larger events, the author offers favorable or sympathetic glimpses of frontline soldiers—including quotes from a North Vietnamese soldier’s diary—and documents the war’s escalating brutality on both sides in a matter-of-fact but not sensationalistic way. The many documentary photos include the screaming child Kim Phuc (with a caption that describes what became of her) but not some of the more well-known disturbing images. Though positively judicious next to Albert Marrin’s rabidly opinionated America and Vietnam: The Elephant and the Tiger, Freedman’s account leans toward the view that the carnage resulted from a perfect storm of missed opportunities for alliances or political solutions, misunderstood history and culture, wrongheaded strategic decisions, and mulish pride on the part of U.S. political and military leaders. The extensive back matter will be useful to serious students of the era. VERDICT Along with being more readable than the plethora of assignment titles on the subject, this is a clear-eyed view of a watershed event in U.S. history and a significant update to older histories for middle graders.—John Peters, Children’s Literature Consultant, New York City

Horn Book

Freedman opens his history of America’s second-longest war with the massive April 1971 protest against it, posing two questions that frame the entire text: “Was the Vietnam War a tragic mistake? Or was it . . . ‘a noble cause?’” His conclusions, and straightforward reasons for them, are, respectively, yes and Freedman opens his history of America’s second-longest war with the massive April 1971 protest against it, posing two questions that frame the entire text: “Was the Vietnam War a tragic mistake? Or was it . . . ‘a noble cause?’” His conclusions, and straightforward reasons for them, are, respectively, yes and no. Without overwhelming young readers with excessive detail, he flashes back over two thousand years, outlining the many foreign powers that had subjugated Vietnam, beginning with China in the first century BCE. What emerges is a portrait of a country that had long fought for self-determination and by the end of WWII was ready to accept the charismatic Communist leader Ho Chi Minh as the man who would achieve that independence. Although the United States at first appeared to support Ho, when the specter of Communist domination reared its head, that support began to shift to more Western-friendly forces. Freedman doesn’t back down from America’s faulty vision and missteps in the war or the home-front opposition to it. Instead, he shows how war itself is complicated and horrific, and how a multitude of events can lead to armed conflict with no simple solutions. Archival photographs convey a sense of time and place. Appended with a timeline, source notes, a glossary, and an index. betty carter

Book Details

ISBN

9780823436583

First Release

October 2016

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

959.704/3

Trim Size

Page Count

160

Accelerated Reader

Level 8.8; Points: 5;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 11.4; Points: 8;

Lexile

Level 1220L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Holiday House

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Language: Mild Language, Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Drug Use/Abuse, Violence: War/Harsh Realities of War, Language: Racial or Ethnic Epithet/Slur, Violence: Graphic Descriptions, Violence: Suicide

Topics

Vietnam War (1961–1975), Government and politics, Communism, Antiwar movement, Ho Chi Minh (1890–1969), Ngo Dinh Diem (1901–1963), Refugees, Twentieth-century history,

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