Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Vietnam War Remembered from All Sides

After reading the book Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered from All Sides by Christian Appy, I was very impressed. Appy provides his readers with multiple perspectives on the Vietnam War, including various political and military viewpoints. This is a quality that is seldom found in historian’s works, but one which I value very much.

From a teacher’s perspective it is nice to find a book on a historical event in which the historian provides all sides of the incident. Much like the book Double Victory: A Multicultural History of America in World War II by Ronald Takaki, which we had been previously assigned, my students are able to read specific assigned chapters and use them to argue or write about their point of view. After reading the book Patriots, I have decided to use three different sections of this book along with some of the scenes from the movie We Were Soldiers. In teaching about the Vietnam War, I have assigned my student three specific sections of the book Patriots. I am going to have them read all three of these sections and then compare the reading with one of the extra scenes from We Were Soldiers.

Before introducing the video, I am going to have my students read pages 130 -135, the Dennis Deal. They will analyze the quote at the beginning and then discuss their thoughts on the section of the text. I will bring up issues such as the Vietnamese tradition of Death Day and issues our soldiers were confronted with, such as guilt, trauma, and they dealt with it. Following this discussion we will preview some of the deleted scenes from We Were Soldiers. The following class I will assign them the “Henry Prunier reading on page 38. We will also discuss this reading and proceed to watch the actual movie We Were Soldiers.

 Lastly, I plan to incorporate the final section of this book when I am discussing the Cold War. I am assigning my students to read pages 87-89, which deals with Sergei Khrushchev and his views on his father and the issues in Vietnam.  After reading Patriots, I immediately have incorporated three different sections of this book into my teaching. I look forward to using more portions of this book in the future and I am glad that were introduced to such a great resource.

Connection to MA Frameworks: US II 20. Explain the causes, course, and consequences of the Vietnam War and summarize the diplomatic and military policies of Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon.

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