Examining the Myths of the Vietnam War

Teaching the Vietnam War

Day Three -- Wednesday, July 28, 2004 Third Session 1315-1500 (Click to See Video) (Click here to see transcript) [Suggestion: you might want to listen to the Video while reading the transcript. To do this, open the Video which will take you toWindows Media Player and then minimize it and open the transcript.]

13. Teaching the Vietnam War: What should be done to ensure the full facts are told? How does it impact on us today? Who tells the story? What should be done? Teaching materials and sources, Academic Bill of Rights

Speakers: Bill Laurie, Jim McLeroy, Bob Matthews, R. J. Del Vecchio 

Speaker’s Biographical Information:

Website : 

Discussion Forum: Click here to Discuss Session 13

Articles of Interest:

Political Correctness Misrepresents the South Vietnamese Role in the War, Peter Micek
Homework Assignment: Why were we in Vietnam? by Dan Ford

Suggested Reading:

1. America in Vietnam; Guenter Lewy; Oxford University Press, NY; 1978.
2. Battlefront Vietnam: How the War Was Really Fought; Tom Carhart; Warner Books, NY; 1984.
3. Communism in Southeast Asia; Justus M. van der Kroef; University of California Press, Berkley, CA; 1980.
4. The Communist Insurgent Infrastructure in South Vietnam: A Study of Organization and Strategy; Michael Charles Conley; The American University, Washington, DC; 1966.
5. The Debate Over Vietnam; David W. Levy; The Johns Hopkins U. Press, Baltimore, MD; 1991.
6. Vietnamese Communism, Its Orginions and Developments; Robert F. Turner; Hoover Institution Press, Stanford, CA; 1975.
7. Inside the VC and the NVA: The Real Story of North Vietnam's Armed Forces; Michael Lee Lanning and Dan Cragg; Ballatine Books, NY; 1992.
8. No More Vietnams; Richard Nixon; Avon Books, NY; 1985.
9. PAVN: People's Army of Vietnam; Douglas Pike; Da Capo Press, NY; 1986.
10. Phoenix and the Birds of Prey: The CIA's Secret Campaign to Destroy the Viet Cong; Mark Moyer; Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD; 1997.
11. Protracted Conflict: A Challenging Study of Communist Strategy; Robert Strausz-Hupe, William Kinter, James Dougherty, and Alvin Cottrell; Harper & Row, NY; 1963.
12. The Real Lessons of the Vietnam War: Reflections 25 Years After the Fall of Saigon; John N. Moore and Robert F. Turner; Carolina Academic Press, Durham, NC; 2002.
13. The Rise & Fall of an American Army: U.S. Ground Forces in Vietnam, 1965-1973; Shelby Stanton; Presidio Press, Novato, CA; 1985.
14. Summons of the Trumpet: A History of the Vietnam War From A Military Man's Viewpoint; Dave Richard Palmer; Presidio Press, Novato, CA; 1978.
15. The 25-Year War: America's Military Role in Vietnam; Bruce Palmer, Jr.; The University Press of Kentucky. Lexington, KY; 1984.
16. Viet Cong: The Organization and Techniques of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam; Douglas Pike; MIT Press, Cambridge, MA; 1966.
17. Vietnam As History: Ten Years After the Paris Peace Accords; Peter Braestrup (ed.); University Press of America, Washington, DC; 1984.
18. Vietnam At War: The History, 1946-1975; Davidson, Phillip; Oxford University Press, NY; 1988.
19. Vietnam: The Decisive Battles; John Pimlott; Macmillan; NY; 1990.
20. Vietnam and the Soviet Union: Anatomy of an Alliance; Douglas Pike; Westview Press, Boulder, CO; 1987.
21. Why We Were In Vietnam; Norman Podoretz; Simon and Schuster, NY; 1983.


"I joined the Agency because, until then, I'd wanted to be an historian. And what I found out was - what I learned in college was - it's no longer possible to be an historian"

Roscoe gave him a puzzled look. "Why do you say that?"

"Because historians collect facts and read documents. They do empirical research and analyze the information they've collected. Then they publish their findings. They call it the scientific method, and it's something you can't do in a university anymore.

"Why not?"

"Because the structuralists - or the post-structuralists - or the post-colonialist or whatever they're calling themselves this week-take the position that reality is inaccessible, facts are fungible, and knowledge is impossible. Which reduces history to fiction and textual analysis. Which leaves us with . .

"What?" Roscoe asked.

"Gender studies. Cultural studies. What I think of as the fuzzies.”

Roscoe caught the bartender's eye and, with his forefinger, drew a circle in the air above their glasses. "So . . . you joined the CIA because you thought gender studies are fuzzy? That's what you're telling me?"

"Well, that was a big part of it….. And the other thing was - I was a modern-military-history guy - I went to grad school at Wisconsin-and one of the things that became apparent was the fact that a lot of the stuff that should have been available... wasn't.”….

"Why not?"

"Because they were classified. And as a baby historian, I didn't have a need to know. None of us did. And that pissed me off because... well, it's like we're living in a cryptocracy instead of a democracy."….

"So that's why you joined the Agency.” Roscoe asked. "Poststructuralism and cryptocracy drove you to it.

Kingdom Come, Jim Hougan, Ballantine 2000