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Vietnam-Perkasie Paperback – June 9, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-0870239571 ISBN-10: 0870239570 Edition: second edition

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Vietnam-Perkasie + Give Peace a Chance: Exploring the Vietnam Antiwar Movement: Essays from the Charles DeBenedetti Memorial Conference (Peace and Conflict Resolution) + Vietnam Wars 1945-1990
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press; second edition edition (June 9, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870239570
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870239571
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,028,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"brutal, honest, funny and tragic...Ehrhart's sense of timing, his imagery, his poetic sensitivity, and his passion make his book as enjoyable as to read as it is troubling to endure" -- Philadelphia Inquirer

"unrelenting, authentic...eloquent" -- Samisdat --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
5 star
93%
4 star
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3 star
7%
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See all 14 customer reviews
It should be made into a film.
David Kleist
Ehrhart, who is more known for his war poetry, has a mastery of language that allows him to write prose as well.
Wolverineman18
I've read many books about the Vietnam war.
Micky Newman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By David Kleist on March 23, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bill Ehrhart's work for too long has been neglected. VIETNAM-PERKASIE is one of the most memorable first-hand accounts of the war which America loves to forget. This memoir is gritty, real, and vastly underrated. It should be made into a film.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By RXCSLC on July 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
Was required reading in a class I took about the Vietnam War. Reading this memoir rapidly went from a school assignment chore to pleasure. I read the next two books in the series the following summer. Ehrhart exposes his inner self on the page to the point where it can actually be somewhat difficult to read. He gave a lecture to our class at the end of the semester, and it was quite moving. Do check it out.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 28, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the best books written by a combat soldier in Vietnam. You travel with Ehrhart from his home in Perkasie, PA to boot camp and then to some of the most harrowing fighting of the Vietnam War. But this isn't just another great war story. There's a personal voyage of discovery--as there is in many war stories. But this one is into a deep and broad wondering, not just about the nature of war and the feelings roused by killing and seeing death, but into a broader horror about the truth of this war. Ehrhart slowly peels back the layers of his awakening, not so much to any truth, but to a series of questions about his own gullibility (perfectly understandable) and a nation's gullibility. The truth as it is revealed seems too simple to Ehrhart; the twisting of honorable intentions too obvious. But if he get's it, many of those he faces upon his return do not. What to do? Write about the simple yet profound truths he found in Vietnam, and keep writing about them since the follow-up books are very moving and affecting portraits of a man being honest about himself, and in the process divulging powerful insights about our nation. The personal in this case makes big points about who are all are as Americans. Can't recommend his writing highly enough.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
In this story, Ehrhart beautifully tells of the I Corp Marine's experience in '67-68. The cost, both physically and spiritually,to the soldier has to my mind never seemed so true. Can the innocence and ignorance, if indeed they are different things, last in the face of the reality of war's warped and mishapen environment? What happens to the soldier when faced with his own ignorance and the evils of war, for which he is in many ways responsible? The tension between the two different Ehrharts in the book lies in the attempt to justify his actions in Viet Nam to himself, and if nothing else, to find some comfort even from outside himself. He is both proud and disgusted (I wish I had a stronger word here) by his "accomplishments" in Viet Nam. Where do we find ourselves when the conflict is over? The answer is perhaps nowhere, perhaps in the shower. (You must read the book to understand my last statement):)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
A wonderful memoir of a U.S. Marine in Vietnam---Semper F
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Zift on January 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book is one of the most honest and balanced accounts of a soldier (OK, Marine, but the lessons would apply to any service) before, during and after Vietnam. This is definitely the best installment in the trilogy that Bill Ehrhart wrote about his experiences, and the one I would recommend. The balance is very important; most books of this kind tend to go to one extreme or another--either vehemently antiwar stories in which the authors ridicule their early patriotism, or hardcore stories that exaggerate how tough the author was. Ehrhart is honest--he hates the Vietnam War but still loves the Marine Corps and the Vietnamese people. He's probably overly hard on himself, but he asks a lot of tough questions.
It's also really the story of America during the 60s and 70s. From gung ho patriotism to disillusion with the war and then to the culture battles in America, he joined it all and eventually got disappointed in each. Bill Ehrhart just seemed to go into everything with more gusto and a hair trigger temper, so that he ran the spectrum from eager volunteer to antiwar protester. You get the sense he was an ordinary, decent guy, looking to find the right thing, but Ehrhart never did anything halfway--whether as a Marine recruit, or a counterculture hippie.
Also extremely well written prose, no surprise given that Ehrhart later became an English teacher.
I agree with the earlier poster - this book should be taught in schools to give kids an idea of what the 60s were like.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Wolverineman18 on March 7, 2013
Format: Paperback
Vietnam Perkasie is a true America. Masterpiece. It may in fact be the best Vietnam war memoir written because Ehrhart succeeds in telling the story with an 18 year olds voice. The story itself is incredibly captivating. Some of the stuff seems unbelievable, but Ehrhart says that everything in this book actually happened. Ehrhart, who is more known for his war poetry, has a mastery of language that allows him to write prose as well. His descriptions are vivid yet concise. They truly grab the reader and bring them to the battlefield in Vietnam. However, it is not the battle descriptions that make this book a must read, rather it is the trip inside Ehrhart's head. Ehrhart gives an incredible view of how his psyche changed throughout the war and after the war. It is a shame that this book has not received the attention that it deserves. One of the best books I have ever read. I would recommend this to anyone who likes history, war books, or even just great writing.
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