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Hanoi Jane: War, Sex, and Fantasies of Betrayal (Culture, Politics, and the Cold War) Paperback – May 6, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-1558498150 ISBN-10: 155849815X

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Product Details

  • Series: Culture, Politics, and the Cold War
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press (May 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 155849815X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558498150
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #660,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


This is not a narrowly focused effort to compare the 'real' Jane Fonda to the image of 'Hanoi Jane.' Rather, Lembcke shows how Fonda's demonization played an important part in a powerful right-wing campaign to attribute American defeat in Vietnam to left-wing scapegoats and to reconstitute U.S. power as well as the ideal of aggressive masculinity.

(Christian G. Appy, author of Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered from All Sides)

Pulsing with brilliant insights and invaluable scholarship, Hanoi Jane is much more than a biography of a single myth. It is an exploration of some of the tangled cultural, psychological, and historical strands that constitute American memory of the Vietnam War, memory with profound influence on American culture and behavior in the last quarter of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first.

(H. Bruce Franklin, author of Vietnam and Other American Fantasies)

Jane Fonda's staunch positions during the Vietnam war gave birth the mythos of Hanoi Jane. Hanoi Jane delves into the mythology constructed around Jane Fonda, who was known for visiting North Vietnam, visiting prisoners of war during the infamous conflict. Outspoken against the war, she has gained her own infamy, and the figure Hanoi Jane is constructed as what undermined America's efforts during the war. Analyzing the mythos of Hanoi Jane, Hanoi Jane is an intriguing and fascinating take that shouldn't be overlooked by any history collection focusing on the Vietnam war.

(Midwest Book Review)

As Lembcke tackles the question of where the moniker Hanoi Jane first appeared, he offers fascinating anecedotal evidence of the fervent beliefs that continue to fuel the betrayal myth in the twenty-first century.... In this provocative study, Lembcke probes the way in which political dissent combined with American anxieties about class, gender, and celebrity to vilify a woman who followed her political conscience.

(Women's Review of Books)

Lembke argues that popular perception of Jane Fonda's trip to North Vietnam as representative of left-wing subversive anti-Americanism is a part of right-wing myth making. Recommended [for] general readers and undergraduate students.

(Choice 1900-01-00)

In his provocative book, Lembcke, a Vietnam veteran, challenges many of the conventional wisdoms surrounding the Vietnam War.... [It] is crucial that we carefully examine the work of Lembcke and exorcise some of the ghosts of Vietnam and their contemporary political manipulation in support of war and militarism.

(The Journal of American Culture 1900-01-00)

Hanoi Jane is an important contribution to scholarship on American public memory-making of the Vietnam War and our efforts to consolidate Vietnam with the Gulf wars through the use of a political trope. It is a well-researched book that explores the national identity, the politics of war narratives, gendered constructions and anxieties during the post-wartime, public memory, and the power of myth-making.

(Journal of Vietnamese Studies 1900-01-00)

About the Author

Jerry Lembcke is professor of sociology at The College of the Holy Cross and author of The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Tyak on October 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Extremely interesting and objective.. I am a Vietnam Veteran who was with the VVAW after I came home from Vietnam. I appreciate her efforts to expose the war as very wrong for America and for those who had served or were serving at the time, and our involvement was especially wrong for the Vietnamese. Over 5 million killed. It took great courage for her to travel to North Vietnam. She was wealthy, an international star, and member of the "jet set". She didn't have to do anything. The war would never affect her, but she chose to travel Vietnam, and put herself in harm's way. She in an honorable, classy woman who should be praised for her efforts, because her being there may have brought our servicemen and woman home earlier thus saving many lives. I respect and admire her for standing up to help end that senseless war.
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19 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Computer Maven on October 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
Lembcke is a Vietnam vet who has been intensely interested in how the lost Vietnam War has been reinterpreted and understood by conservative veteran groups and the broader U.S. right wing. In his earlier book The Spitting Image Lembcke researched and wrote a fact driven book that proved, contrary to massive propaganda to the contrary, that returning GI's from Vietnam had NOT BEEN spit upon by anti-war protesters as alleged in Hollywood films, novels, GI memoirs, and journalists. In Hanoi Jane Lembcke continues his de-bunking analysis by looking at Jane Fonda/Hanoi Jane. The book is not at all about Fonda, but instead about Hanoi Jane, a fictional creation in the tradition of Tokyo Rose and Mata Hari. The Hanoi Jane myth targets Fonda as a treasonous figure responsible for the loss of the Vietnam War. The right's Hanoi Jane characterization serves to erase historical memory of the valiant Vietnamese struggle for independence along with the large scale resistance within the U.S. military itself that eventually forced the government to mercifully end the war. Lembcke also explains how the "spit upon vet" and Hanoi Jane have been used to sell the Gulf War and the post-9/11 wars to the American public. To the hard core right this book will be further evidence of left wing venality, but to those with open minds who understand and can recognize reason, research, evidence, and skilled argumentation, Hanoi Jane will provide a valuable educational experience.
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Format: Paperback
HANOI JANE: WAR, SEX & FANTASIES OF BETRAYAL offers a historic and scholarly analysis of the myth and origins of Hanoi Jane, considering fantasies of home-front betrayal and considering how the Hanoi Jane expression and myth began. Anxieties about America's declining global status and deteriorating economy fueled an antiwar movement and popular conflicts with the military: this reconsiders the origins of the myth and its impact on American social and military culture alike.
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12 of 23 people found the following review helpful By James W. Russell on October 31, 2010
Format: Paperback
Jerry Lembcke has earned a reputation as the most intriguing interpreter of how the myths of Vietnam continue to function in American culture to perpetuate acceptance of a militaristic foreign policy. He showed masterfully in The Spitting Image how the myth developed that antiwar protesters massively spat upon soldiers returning from Vietnam. More importantly, he showed why the historical experience of America's first lost war provided fertile ground for such scapegoating.

In his newest book, Hanoi Jane, he exposes why Jane Fonda has been the right wing's favorite bête noir. Until the current vituperation against Nancy Pelosi, Jane Fonda was the most prominent female target of right wing rage. Lembcke continues with the theme of the betrayal narrative: the only reason the war was lost was because of American betrayers who sapped the will to win--the domestic stab in the back. Within that theme is why women, in particular, became the favorite examples of betrayers. They were accused of being the main spitters. While there were many male critics of the war who were more prominent than Fonda, they were tacitly forgiven or at least forgotten, but not her. Misogyny meets militarism.

Lembcke has produced another masterful tour de force interpretation of post Vietnam War culture in the United States and why the same destructive themes keep reemerging as myths. This is a book for everyone who wants to understand the undercurrents of contemporary militaristic culture and history in this country.
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