Christian Appy, author of American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity, in an interview reflects on the legacy of the war. As usual, he offers great advice based on years of study. For example, he proposes “that we fully and finally dispense with American exceptionalism. I don’t think the historical record justifies the faith, it alienates other people and nations (for obvious reasons), and it contributes to public acquiescence to the tiny few who make foreign policy in our name and are all to ready and willing to assure us that they can be trusted to use our ‘indispensable’ power as a force for good in the world.”
Read the entire interview here: History News Network | Christian Appy on the Legacy of the Vietnam War: An Interview
In his review of Appy’s book, Ron Briley concludes that it “is a provocative read and presents a convincing argument regarding the Vietnam War as exposing the myth of American innocence. Yet, the concept of American exceptionalism continues to exercise a strong hold upon the nation’s belief system, and the fiftieth anniversary of the Vietnam War may not provide the national reckoning so passionately called for by Appy.” Read the entire review here:
History News Network | Review of Christian G. Appy’s “American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity”
I don’t remember how I learned about the My Lai massacre, but it began a life-long quest to understand how and why such atrocities occur. It was a turning point in my life that ultimately led me to getting my PhD in history, even though the focus of my research has been on the Bosnian War (1992-1995) rather than Vietnam.
Similarly, a desire “to understand how young men—boys, really—could have done this,” is what drove the reporter Seymour Hersh to pursue the story of My Lai as soon as he learned of it in 1969. In large part we know about My Lai because of Hersh’s dogged determination to uncover what happened. Recently he visited My Lai and this is the subject of his recent article in The New Yorker. It is long but well worth the read.
The Scene of the Crime – The New Yorker.
Photograph by Katie Orlinsky