- Paperback: 572 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster (October 4, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0743261046
- ISBN-13: 978-0743261043
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 133 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace Vietnam and America October 1967 Paperback – October 4, 2004
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"Maraniss. . . is a writer with a masterly sense of narrative pace....The tale unfolds with a magisterial sweep that recaptures the war and its era." (The New York Times Book Review)
"My nominee for must-read nonfiction book of the year. . . . They Marched Into Sunlight is that miraculous thing, a substantive, exhaustively researched work of history that reads like a novel." (Maureen Corrigan Fresh Air (NPR))
"A masterful work that brings the conflict back with a rush of cinema verité emotion and tension. . . . Over the years, Vietnam has produced several classics, all of them different: Dispatches, by Michael Herr, and A Bright Shining Lie, by Neil Sheehan. Here is another." (The Economist)
"The towering work of nonfiction this year. . . . Maraniss' great achievement is to be epic and intimate at the same time." (Samuel G. Freedman Newsday)
About the Author
Born in Detroit, David Maraniss is an associate editor at The Washington Post. Maraniss is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and bestselling author of Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story; First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton; Rome 1960: The Olympics that Stirred the World; Barack Obama: The Story; Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero; They Marched into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967; and When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi, which was hailed by Sports Illustrated as “maybe the best sports biography ever published.” He lives in Washington, DC, and Madison, Wisconsin.
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The particular battle that the author highlights - I can't even imagine what those guys experienced. But I really think Mr. Maraniss brings that point of view home. The differences in beliefs, experiences and points of view between protesting students, college administrators, soldiers, their families, generals and politicians (local and national) is well covered in this book. It's hard to reconcile, at least for me because their realities are all so different. At the end of the book, the author accompanies some soldiers (US and North Vietnamese) and family members back to that battlefield in current day Vietnam. What a phenomenal end to a fascinating and tragic story.
The book was extremely well-written and held my interest throughout. It was all good, but I did find the first and last quarter of the book to be the most engrossing. This will be a book that I re-read.
David Maraniss is a great writer - one of the best. He writes with a fluid, seamless narrative style that places him at the top of his profession. In 'They Marched into Sunlight' Maraniss is describing two parallel events - the emerging anti-war college movement which resulted in the take-over of the University of Wisconsin on October 16-17, 1967 and the destruction of a U.S. Army infantry battalion of the famed First Infantry Division on the same date. Two incidents seemingly unrelated by event or location, but related by the fact that both involved America's sinking morass into the Vietnam conflict. I believe Maraniss's book 'They Marched Into Sunlight' will be read for many years as one of the best Vietnam-era historical works, and not just the battle itself, although his description of the battle of Ong Thanh itself in chapters 15 and 16 will keep you on the edge of your seat, but also the corrosive effect of the war on the civilian population with the increasing draft calls and the unexplained - and probably explainable - resultant deaths of young servicemen, both drafted or enlisted, into a ground war in southeast Asia with no apparent end or objective. For those who were of college age or subject to the draft in the mid to late 1960's, this work will have a special significance.
I found 'They Marched Into Sunlight' one of the best-written works of recent American history that has come from the mainstream press. Maraniss does not take "sides" on the Vietnam conflict - maybe that time has passed. He writes skillfully, cogently, and with proper respect to the participants both in the war zone and back at the university.
[For more background on the 2/28 Infantry and the battle of Ong Thanh, get a copy of Jim Shelton's well-written first-hand account 'The Beast Was Out There' as a companion work to 'They Marched Into Sunlight.']
Each section has its heroes and goats. The grunts that make up the Black Lions are America's finest, while the brass commanding them are all to often power-hungry, career forwarding egotists. Maraniss particularly lays bare the deceit and vanity of General Hay. The Wisconsin students that riot reflect an arrogance that even they are embarassed about years later while the administration are pictured as classic liberals, respectful, tolerant, and wishing to allow dissent. The students, however, want change and they want it now. In hindsight, one of the big differences between 1967 and 2010 is that you could riot and disrupt the activies of a university that was sympathetic to you and still have the hope of employment in 1967. In a 2010 context, you just simply would have dismissed the students. Still more discouraging is LBJ's advisors who have inadequate information about Vietnam, seem more concerned about PR and the upcoming election, and seem to know that it is unwinnable.
An excellent book. At times very hard to read because you can see disaster coming. But, a true reflection of the times that helps in understanding a key point in America's history.