Important to note is that the following titles were written by journalists. While this does not mean that they should not be read, it does mean that you should understand and keep in mind the context from which the author is writing
- Dispatches by Michael Herr – This is a highly popular book and has been for quite some time. If you are looking for a scholarly work, however, this isn’t it. I would not even necessarily recommend it as more than a very basic starting point for looking into the lives of the grunts on the ground. It should be read as a story of war reporting before all else.
- The Best and the Brightest by David Halberstam – Another popular book, though not as oft quoted as Herr, Halberstam’s 1972 book is very much a product of its time. A generation had protested the government’s involvement in the affairs of a foreign nation, learning with a cruelty only reality can provide that the ways in which their leaders operated. These feelings of betrayal and anger show through in the pages of Halberstam’s discussion on the origins of our involvement in Vietnam.
- Fire in the Lake by Frances Fitzgerald – An important early work published in 1972.
- A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam by Neil Sheehan – A must read by many accounts
Note: When a book is written about a historical moment before the moment is over, or very near to its end, it is going to be biased. This is not an intentional act, but one that happens merely out of proximity to the moment. Journalists and reporters often write this first draft of history, providing the broad framework on which others can build on as time progresses. It is still important to know what these books are saying so that they can be properly responded to in future writings.