Remembering the Vietnam War

May 3, 2015

Forty years ago, the U.S. ended its war in Vietnam, but we're still fighting over its legacy - in foreign policy and military strategy, and also in books and movies. But there's one question Americans rarely ask: what does the war mean to the Vietnamese themselves?  We'll hear several perspectives, and Errol Morris reflects on his classic documentary about Robert McNamara and the Vietnam War.

  1. Taking Revenge Against Coppola's "Apocalypse Now"

    Americans are still fighting over the legacy of the Vietnam War, but one perspective is missing: the Vietnamese experience. Novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen provides a Vietnamese perspective.

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  2. A Vietnamese Doctor's Unforgettable Diary

    In 1969, Frederic Whitehurst was a military intelligence officer burning documents in Vietnam. Then he stumbled on the remarkable diary of North Vietnamese Dr. Dang Thuy Tram. Defying orders, he saved her diary, which later became one of the bestselling books in Vietnamese history.

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  3. How Soldiers Cope with Killing

    Karl Marlantes is a decorated U.S. Marine who was awarded two Purple Hearts for his service in Vietnam. He's also spent the last 40 years coping with the trauma of what he experienced in Vietnam. He says combat requires soldiers to overcome their natural aversion to killing.

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  4. War Criminal?

    Late in lafe, former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara admitted the Vietnam War was a huge mistake, but he always avoided questions of personal responsibility. Docmentary filmmaker Errol Morris reflects on McNamara's struggle with his own conscience.

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  5. Paul Beatty on "The Nazi and the Barber"

    Paul Beatty recommends a novel by German-Jewish Holocaust survivor Edgar Hilsenrath.

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  6. The Man Who Invented Chemical Weapons

    One hundred years ago, Fritz Haber invented the first chemical weapon and convinced the German army to use it. His wife Clara, also a chemist, fiercely opposed her husband's project. When she couldn't stop it, she committed suicide. Judith Claire Mitchell tells the story in her tragic and yet funny novel "A Reunion of Ghosts."

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