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  1. Why did the US become involved in Vietnam?
  2. Why did the Johnson administration 'Americanise' the war?
  3. Why did Vietnam become a military 'quagmire'?
  4. What were the economic consequences of the war?
  5. How does Vietnam relate to Cold War politics?
  6. How was the Vietnam war remembered in film and fiction?

Major Problems in American History, Volume II: Since 1865

Chapter Fourteen, "Vietnam and the Downfall of Presidents", pp. 427-461.

This Week's Reading

Fredrik Logeval "Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam" (2004)
George C. Herring, ‘Vietnam Remembered’, Journal of American History, 73:1 (1986), pp. 152-164.
Mitchell Lerner "Vietnam and the 1964 Election: A Defense of Lyndon Johnson" (1995)
David Card, Going to College to Avoid the Draft: The Unintended Legacy of the Vietnam War (2001)
LBJ speech on Vietnam and his decision not to seek re-election, 31 March 1968:

Key Texts

The Columbia History of the Vietnam War. Ed. by David L. Anderson. (2011)

Charles DeBenedetti and Charles Chatfield, An American Ordeal: The Antiwar Movement of the Vietnam Era (1990)

Robert Buzzanco, Vietnam and the Transformation of American Life (1999)

Mitchell Hall, The Vietnam War (2000)

Kenneth J. Heineman, Campus Wars: the Peace Movement at American State Universities in theVietnam Era (1993)

Robert J. McMahon, Major Problems in the History of the Vietnam War: Documents and Essays (1995 edn.)

Peter Lowe (ed), The Vietnam War (1998)

Melvin Small and William D. Hoover (eds), Give Peace a Chance: Exploring the Vietnam Antiwar Movement (1994)

Gilbert Adair, Hollywood’s Vietnam (1989)

Mark Baker, Nam: the Vietnam War in the Words of the Men and Women who Fought There (1982)

David M. Barrett, Uncertain Warriors: Lyndon Johnson and his Vietnam Advisers (1993)

Larry Berman, Lyndon Johnson’s War (1989)

Larry Berman, Planning a Tragedy: the Americanisation of the War in Vietnam (1982)

Philip Caputo, A Rumor of War (1991 edn.)

Frances Fitzgerald, Fire in the Lake: the Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam (1972)

Gerard J. De Groot, A Noble Cause? America and the Vietnam War (1999)

David Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest (1972)

Joe Hagan, Northern Passage: American Vietnam War Resisters in Canada (2001)

J. Hellman, American Myth and the legacy of Vietnam (1986);

Michael Herr, Dispatches (1968)

George C. Herring, America’s Longest War: The US and Vietnam, 1950-75 (2002 edn.)

Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones, Peace Now! American Society and the ending of the Vietnam War (1999)

David Kaiser, American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson, and the Origins of the Vietnam War (2000)

Stanley Karnow, Vietnam: A History (1994 edn.)

Guenter Lewy, America in Vietnam (1978)

Tim O’Brien, If I Die in a Combat Zone (1973)

John Clark Pratt, Vietnam Voices: Perspectives on the war years, 1941-82 (1984)

Randy Roberts and Jim Olson, My Lai: a brief history with documents (1998)

William Shawcross, Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon and the Destruction of Cambodia (1979)

Neil Sheehan, A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam (1988)

Wallace Terry, Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans (1984)

Brian VanDeMark, Into the Quagmire: Lyndon Johnson and the Escalation of The Vietnam War (1991)

A.L. Walsh, Tell me lies about Vietnam: cultural battles over the meaning of the war (1988)

Randall B. Woods, Vietnam and the American Political Tradition: The Politics of Dissent (2003)


John Hellmann, ‘Vietnam and the Hollywood Genre Film: Inversions of American Mythology in the Deer Hunter and Apocalypse Now’, American Quarterly, 34,:4 (1982), pp. 418-439

Penelope Adams Moon, ‘Peace on Earth-peace in Vietnam: The Catholic Peace Fellowship and Antiwar Witness, 1964-1976’ Journal of Social History, 36:4 (2003)

Peter C. Rollins, ‘The Vietnam War: Perceptions Through Literature, Film, and Television’, American Quarterly, 36:3 (1984), 419-432

Randall Bennett Woods, ‘Dixie's Dove: J. William Fulbright, The Vietnam War and the American South’, Journal of Southern History, 60:3 (Aug 1994), 533-552.

Websites (The Vietnam War Internet Project)