cover image Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam

Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam

Elizabeth Partridge. Viking, $22.99 (214p) ISBN 978-0-670-78506-3

Skillfully interweaving original interviews and black-and-white photos with narrative, Partridge (Marching for Freedom) evokes the political controversy and intense emotions triggered by the Vietnam War. Her spare descriptions of the physical tension between antiwar students and a discharged soldier exemplify the chasm between politicians and protestors, and between career military personnel and troops. Partridge trains a lens on five men who fought on the ground, plus a medic, a field nurse, and a Vietnamese refugee. The chronicle vividly brings to light their daily lives, the discrimination some encountered, and their loyalties and moral sensitivity to the war’s unending brutality. Interspersed chapters focus on decision-making at the highest level as well as growing antiwar sentiment; a look at the protest songs of Woodstock and Martin Luther King Jr.’s agonized decision to oppose the war fits neatly. Despite her antiwar sympathies, Partridge presents the presidents’ positions evenhandedly and elucidates the dilemmas they faced over the course of the war. A profoundly affecting description of the dedication of the Vietnam War Memorial in 1982 concludes these compelling stories. Ages 12–up. [em](Apr.) [/em]