Home to War: A History of the Vietnam Veterans Movement

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9780812991031: Home to War: A History of the Vietnam Veterans Movement
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An epic narrative history that chronicles, for the first time, the experience of America's Vietnam veterans who returned home to fight a different kind of war.

The courageous Americans who served in Vietnam fought two wars: one on the other side of the world and one when they returned home. The battle abroad took place in war-scarred Asian hamlets, rice paddies, and jungles where thousands of Americans risked life, limb, and spirit in a conflict few of them fully understood. The second war began when these same soldiers came home to face another fight, this one for the hearts and minds of their countrymen, and for their own health, sanity, and peace of mind.

Home to War presents a vivid portrait of a generation of American warriors who faced rejection by the nation in whose name they fought and virtual abandonment by the government that sent them to risk their young lives in Southeast Asia. In spite of formidable obstacles, including the still-fresh physical and mental traumas of the war, these young veterans joined together and committed themselves to heroic battles on the home front, from their unsung role in the antiwar movement to their unflagging campaign for medical help and compensation for Agent Orange exposure and post-traumatic stress wounds.

Home to War tells the gripping stories of these veterans and the social and political movements they inspired. In its pages you’ll meet Jan Barry, a disillusioned former West Point cadet who founded Vietnam Veterans Against the War, a volatile organization that would become a lightning rod for controversy and a beacon of hope for returning vets; Al Hubbard, a charismatic former Black Panther who led thousands of angry veterans to the steps of the nation’s capital to protest the war and the government’s shabby treatment of its veterans; Ron Kovic, whose outrageous — and courageous — stunts, uncensored comments, and provocative politics drew needed attention to the cause; Dr. Chaim Shatan, whose pioneering ‘rap groups’ speeded the psychological healing process for countless vets; Victor Yannacone Jr., who launched a precedent-shattering — and ultimately successful — legal case to gain compensation for veterans harmed by Agent Orange exposure; and many others whose inspiring struggles served themselves, their fellow soldiers, and their country.

Home to War is a passionate work of contemporary history and an essential addition to the literature of America’s Vietnam experience. Encompassing some thirty years of activism, readjustment, and healing, it is a fitting tribute to the unbreakable courage, idealism, and decades-long endurance of this generation of American soldiers.

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From the Back Cover:

"Home to War is a superbly researched book that needed to be written. It sets forth in compelling detail a whole other dimension of America's tragic war in Vietnam, which, until now, has never been completely captured."
— General Harold G. Moore, author of We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young

"Home to War is an extraordinary achievement of research and writing. Its eloquence and power will serve the cause of justice for veterans, but also give to all Americans a sobering lesson about war, peace, and broken promises. I hope it will be widely read."
— Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States

"Gerry Nicosia has an uncommon understanding of the struggle of veterans to give meaning to their war and to redeem themselves. Home to War is a powerful history of our times."
— Gloria Emerson, National Book Award recipient for Winners and Losers

"Home to War illuminates the efforts of the men who fought not just in the jungles of Vietnam, but also when they returned to America. We should be grateful to Gerry Nicosia for documenting this struggle in a meaningful and heartfelt way."
— Oliver Stone, of Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July

"Home to War for the first time puts together a history that has been an intimate part of the lives of thousands of us in the veterans' community over the past thirty years. Thanks to Gerald Nicosia, these people and events are now preserved and will be remembered."
— Colonel David H. Hackworth, author of About Face

"Gerald Nicosia has written a history that we as a nation have not faced. This book is a must-read if we are to understand the America we have become."
— Maxine Hong Kingston, author of The Woman Warrior

"Home to War is simply the best. Gerry Nicosia has written the definitive story-read it and discover why the epoch of our war in Vietnam still keenly reverberates from kitchen tables and porches, newspapers and journals, as well as classrooms all across this country."
— Larry Heinemann, National Book Award recipient for Paco's Story

"The voices and stories of these American veterans compel us to confront the issues of the war and the question of why soldiers who came home to peace could find none. The sense of loss and waste that pervades Home to War
is overwhelming."
— Duong Van Mai Elliott, author of The Sacred Willow

About the Author:

Gerald Nicosia is the author of the award-winning Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac. His poetry and literary criticism have been widely published, and he has taught writing, journalism, Beat literature, and Vietnam literature at the University of Illinois at Chicago and UCLA. A native of Chicago, he currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two children.

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