The Vietnam War in Literature

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1319


Calloway, Catherine. "Vietnam War Literature and Film: A Bibliography of Secondary Sources." Bulletin of Bibliography 43, No. 3 (September 1986): 149-58.

Provides listings for criticism on Vietnam War literature organized according to drama, film, poetry, and prose.

Colonnese, Tom, and Hogan, Jerry. "Vietnam War Literature, 1958–1979: A First Checklist." Bulletin of Bibliography 38, No. 1 (January-March 1981): 26-31, 51.

Bibliography of book-length works and short fiction dealing with the Vietnam War.


Asahina, Robert. "The Basic Training of American Playwrights: Theater and the Vietnam War." Theater 9, No. 2 (Spring 1978): 30-7.

Surveys plays about the Vietnam War from the 1960s through the 1970s and concludes that "as far as the question of the war was concerned, [David Rabe] was the only playwright really concerned with the art of the theater rather than with the form or the content of the media."

Beidler, Philip D. "Truth-Telling and Literary Values in the Vietnam Novel." South Atlantic Quarterly 78, No. 2 (Spring 1979): 141-56.

Considers the combination of experimental and traditional novelistic techniques employed in David Halberstam's One Very Hot Day, Josiah Bunting's The Lionheads, William Eastlake's The Bamboo Bed, and Charles Durden's No Bugles, No Drums.

―――――――. Re-Writing America: Vietnam Authors in Their Generation. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1991, 333 p.

Examines the work of major Vietnam War novelists, dramatists, poets, and nonfiction writers and discusses "the ways in which [their] work continues to place many of them at the forefront of current American literary endeavor."

Carter, Susanne. "Variations on Vietnam: Women's Innovative Interpretations of the Vietnam War Experience." Extrapolation 32, No. 2 (1991): 170-83.

Discusses the deviations from realism that several women novelists and short story writers have followed in their works about the Vietnam War.

Carton, Evan. "Vietnam and the Limits of Masculinity." American Literary History 3, No. 2 (Summer 1991): 294-318.

Examines the idea that for some soldiers the Vietnam experience was "an enacted dream of undifferentiation—of a human solidarity beyond (or before) ideological, linguistic, and sexual division."

Critique, Special Issue: The Fiction of Vietnam XXIV, No. 2 (Winter 1983).

Contains essays on several novels, including Robert Stone's Dog Soldiers, Tim O'Brien's Going After Cacciato, and Larry Heinemann's Close Quarters.

Franklin, H. Bruce. "The Vietnam War as American Science Fiction and Fantasy." Science Fiction Studies 17, No. 52 (November 1990): 341-59.

Discusses depictions of the Vietnam War in science fiction and fantasy literature and argues that "American SF very explicitly defined the war, which unalterably redefined American SF."

Genre, Special Topics: The Vietnam War & Postmodern Memory XXI, No. 4 (Winter 1988).

Includes essays on Vietnam War fiction, films, nonfiction, and television documentaries as well as excerpts from Robert Olen Butler's novel The Deuce and R. S. Carlson's Was That Someplace You Were? Selected Poems 1968–1987.

Gilman, Owen W., Jr., and Smith, Lorrie, eds. America Rediscovered: Critical Essays on Literature and Film of the Vietnam War. New York: Garland Publishing, 1990, 386 p.

Contains essays covering a wide range of topics on Vietnam War fiction, film, and poetry.

Herzog, Tobey C. Vietnam War Stories: Innocence Lost. New York: Routledge, 1992, 238 p.

Analyzes novels and personal narratives dealing with the Vietnam War in terms of major cultural and literary themes.

Hölbling, Walter W. "The Impact of the Vietnam War on U.S. Fiction: 1960s to 1980s." In Literature and War, edited by David Bevan, pp. 193-209. Atlanta, Ga.: Rodopi, 1990.

Examines contemporary American writing on the Vietnam War which not only acknowledges "the uniqueness of the Vietnam experience" but also places "it in the...

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context of other cultural and literary movements of the past decades."

Jeffords, Susan. "'Things Worth Dying For': Gender and the Ideology of Collectivity in Vietnam Representation." Cultural Critique, No. 8 (Winter 1987–88): 79-103.

Argues that although battle appears to erase differentiations based on race and class, the bonds of collectivity exhibited in Vietnam War literature are distinctly masculine and gender exclusive.

Johannessen, Larry R. "Young-Adult Literature and the Vietnam War." English Journal 82, No. 5 (September 1993): 43-9.

Divides adolescent Vietnam War literature into four types—combat narratives, the war at home, refugee experiences, and the war's legacies—and discusses the most common devices authors use to convey meaning.

Journal of American Culture, Special Issue: Poetry and the Vietnam War 16, No. 3 (Fall 1993).

Issue includes essays on Vietnam War poets and poetry and contains several poems.

Katzman, Jason. "From Outcast to Cliché: How Film Shaped, Warped and Developed the Image of the Vietnam Veteran, 1967–1990." Journal of American Culture 16, No. 1 (Spring 1993): 7-24.

Surveys the portrayal of Vietnam veterans in television and film, noting that early works tended to depict veterans as villains or losers while more recent efforts have attempted realistic explanations of veterans' problems.

Krasteva, Yonka K. "Rediscovering America in Personal Narratives about Vietnam." North Dakota Quarterly 60, No. 1 (Winter 1992): 161-73.

Examines Philip Caputo's A Rumor of War, Michael Herr's Dispatches, and Ron Kovic's Born on the Fourth of July in terms of American culture. Krasteva concludes that "ultimately these books are about how to come to terms with disorder and chaos both in our physical and psychological world."

Literature/Film Quarterly 20, No. 3 (1992).

Special issue devoted to Vietnam War films, with essays on such works as Francis Coppola's Apocalypse Now and Brian DePalma's Casualties of War.

Martin, Andrew. Receptions of War: Vietnam in American Culture. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1993, 192 p.

Investigates connections between historical themes and contemporary issues in Vietnam War film, literature, and television in an effort to illuminate "the process through which an unpopular war has come to be received in popular culture."

McInerney, Peter. "'Straight' and 'Secret' History in Vietnam War Literature." Contemporary Literature 22, No. 2 (Spring 1981): 187-204.

Remarks on history, structure, questions of authenticity, and the meaning of facts in several works, including Michael Herr's Dispatches, Ron Kovic's Born on the Fourth of July, and Philip Caputo's A Rumor of War.

Muse, Eben J. "From Lt. Calley to John Rambo: Repatriating the Vietnam War." Journal of American Studies 27, No. 2 (August 1993): 88-92.

Focuses on the portrayal of soldiers and veterans in several Vietnam War films.

Pratt, John Clark. "The Lost Frontier: American Myth in the Literature of the Vietnam War." In The Frontier Experience and the American Dream: Essays on American Literature, edited by David Mogen, Mark Busby, and Paul Bryant, pp. 236-47. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press, 1989.

Surveys Vietnam War novels and argues that "the literature of the Vietnam War is filled with American characters who enter Vietnam as traditional frontier huntsmen, then become men trying merely to survive in a wilderness they do not understand."

Price, Joanna. "Remembering Vietnam: Subjectivity and Mourning in American New Realist Writing." Journal of American Studies 27, No. 2 (August 1993): 173-86.

Discusses Jayne Anne Phillips's Machine Dreams and Bobbie Ann Mason's In Country, focusing on themes of identity and mourning.

Reitinger, Douglas W. "Paint It Black: Rock Music and Vietnam War Film." Journal of American Culture 15, No. 3 (Fall 1992): 53-9.

Remarks on the degree of success or failure of various filmmakers in thematically integrating rock music into their films about the Vietnam War.

Rowe, John Carlos. "'Bringing It All Back Home': American Recyclings of the Vietnam War." In The Violence of Representation: Literature and the History of Violence, edited by Nancy Armstrong and Leonard Tennenhouse, pp. 197-218. New York: Routledge, 1989.

Focuses on Vietnam War films in his analysis of the interpretation and use of the Vietnam War in American culture.

――――――, and Berg, Rick, eds. The Vietnam War and American Culture. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991, 275 p.

Collection of essays that analyzes literary works and other media sources in a multidisciplinary approach that the editors refer to as "cultural criticism."

Spark, Alasdair. "Vietnam: The War in Science Fiction." In Science Fiction, Social Conflict and War, edited by Philip John Davies, pp. 113-31. Manchester, England: Manchester University Press, 1990, 184 p.

Remarks on the history of the Vietnam War as a subject of science fiction.

Tal, Kalí. "The Mind at War: Images of Women in Vietnam Novels by Combat Veterans." Contemporary Literature 31, No. 1 (Spring 1990): 76-96.

Examines images of women in several Vietnam War novels in an effort to elucidate "the connection those images have with the author's process of healing from the trauma of combat."