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Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam Paperback – May 17, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This is a poignant collection of letters and poems, mostly to loved ones back home, written by soldiers while serving in Vietnam. Ordered roughly by a typical GI's year of service (arrival "in-country," leave, etc.), the selections range from brave and philosophical to raging and grief-stricken. "Last Letters," the chapter containing missives sent by men shortly before their deaths, is particularly haunting. "This book provides valuable insight into what 'grunts' went through," PW stated. Major ad/promo. February
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Not a history book, not a war novel.... Dear America is a book of truth. (Boston Globe)

Dear America is painful, but it must be difficult to be realistic and entertaining about war.... Reading it, I felt I was listening to the voices of the men and women who lived and fought in Vietnam. (Baltimore Sun)

Dear America tells of an ache as ancient as time―adolescents off to war with high expectations, who soon change greatly. Ambiguities abound―from pain, disillusionment and sorrow for dead comrades to a hard-earned measure of individual strength and survival. (Washington Post Book World)

Here is the sad and beautiful countermelody of truth, audible at last, now that we have trashed the drums and cymbals of yet another senseless war. (Kurt Vonnegut)

No full understanding of the most disastrous foreign war in American history can be complete without reading these letters from the GIs to their loved ones back home. (Peter Arnett, Pulitzer Prize-winning Vietnam correspondent)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (May 17, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393323048
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393323047
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,305 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Dizziey on December 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book consists of letters written by American soldiers during the Vietnam War. It's extremely heart-breaking to read these letters as they gives "voices" instead of a mere figure. A lot of times, the figure of how many were killed, wounded, missing, etc but it does not portray any "emotions" the soldiers felt. At the end of each letter, the editor includes a few sentences on what happened to the author. It's extremely sad to read how many of those killed were just 19 year-olds, 20 year-olds, and these soldiers were just kids! It makes you think how wasteful, stupid, unnecessary wars are, and the sacrifices that has to be made.
The last chapter of this book speaks a lot. It is chronologically listed and you can see the evolving sentiments of the soldiers. At the beginning of the war, the soldiers were proud to fight against the Communists, how they think the war will be over soon. Towards the end of that chapter, most soldiers were scared, depressed and just wanted to get out of the war... alive! This shows why many Vietnam War veterans suffered from postwar depression as the horror of the war, how their friends, buddies were killed or wounded in front of their own eyes and how many could not possibly forget these horrifying images.
I highly recommend this book as this book speaks a lot. To me, the important message that it is trying to convey is the unnecessary sacrifices that these soldiers have to make, to fight a war that is not theirs, and the horror and bloodiness of the war is vividly described by these soldiers.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
I still remember the day I walked into my college's library back in the late 1980s and saw this publication sitting on the table of new releases. I picked it up and headed for a couch. About six hours, many tears, mixed emotions, and several missed classes later I emerged from that couch and put the completed book back on the table. In those six hours my view about the Vietnam experience and those who fought it changed. The words of those soldiers in their letters are powerful evidence of the collision between innocence and experience that takes place when young men are thrust into battle.
This book should be required reading for all students of that war and required reading for every President who ever contemplates sending soldiers into battle.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
Of all the books I have read none have touched me this much. It is powerful because it is real. These are real stories, real feelings, real lives. This book will keep you up all night just thinking.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 29, 1997
Format: Paperback
This book is one of the hardest books I have ever had to read. To know some of these men would never return home and to read emotional letters home to their girlfriends, parents and friends, made reading very hard with tears in my eyes. As a VietNam veteren I could relate to some of those feelings expressed in the letters.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By H. A. M. Geerts on October 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
After the amazing documentary about Vietnam that solely exists of actor voice overs of funny, goofy, anxious and heartbreaking letters home from soldiers at the battlefront in Vietnam, accompanied by graphic footage of the war itself, this book came out. It contains the letters read out in the movie, and additionally has some more background information about the soldiers who wrote the letters.

Even without the trained actor voices reading the letters out loud to you, and without the grim and realistic war images, this book is a pageburner. Heart-wrenching accounts of the legacy of war written by the soldiers that fought it, as well as by the people they left behind.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. G. Taylor on August 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book captivated me so that i could not put it down, untill i had finished. It touches your heart and soul. Wonderful read!! Please put it on DVD!!! Thank you :-)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. Peavy on July 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book for anyone who wants to see the Vietnam war from the eyes of those who were there. The book is a collection of writings from Vietnam veterans that were written during there time in country. This book shows the War as more than casualty numbers and battle field dates. A good read for everyone.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Walton on November 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
In 1986, I found this book. As I opened up the book and read the introduction by Mayor Ed Koch of New York City, I experienced a strong emotional reaction. In his intro, he talked about how the Vietnam Veteran had been forgotten and of New York's intent to build a memorial project honoring Vietnam Veterans. Have returned from Vietnam in 1967, I spend almost 20 years before ever hearing a single "thank you" from anybody, outside my family. Major Koch words touched a nerve in me and I felt ....a weight lifted off me. I bought the book and until finding this book I had been unable to read a single word about Vietnam. I did not want to read the political interpretation, the re-writes of opinion and history. I wanted to connect to the most profound experience of my life....and I had no outlet to do that.
WIth this book, I could read stories, I could read nothing with agenda's. I could read about experiences familiar to me, I could read them through tears and pain, and gratitude. For the first time in over 20 years.

This book, the first that seem to say to us guys..."Hey, you did a good job and we , America, appreciates you" was a watershed for me. It felt good

Finally, the Vietnam experience was out of the closet. This book, was the beginning.

I will never forget this book.
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Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam
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