All books are available at the College Bookstore. The * indicates it is on reserve in
Regular attendance and informed participation are also expected.
Substantial penalties will result from late work or unexcused absences. Any act of
academic dishonesty will receive appropriate punishment.
Significant progress will receive appropriate recognition.
The Working-Class War
Due: Reading Essay #1 (mandatory).
Discussion: How and why was it a working-class war?
Tactics on Trial: The Battle of Ia Drang
Due: Young, chapters 8-9; Death in the Ia Drang Valley (packet); McMahon, 251-257
Discussion: 1) Why did the U.S. choose the tactics that it did? 2) What were the
consequences (intended and otherwise) of the tactics selected?
The War at Home (I)
Due: Young, chapter 10; McMahon, 466-477 and 494-511.
Discussion: What was the most significant dilemma or division faced by the antiwar
The Tet Offensive
Due: Young, chapter 11; McMahon, chapter 13.
Discussion: 1) How was Tet the turning-point in the war? 2) Was Tet a defeat or a victory
for the U.S.?
Vietnam and 1968 in America
Due: Begin Downs, The Killing Zone.
Discussion: 1) Why was 1968 a year of crisis in America? 2) What were the ramifications of
the conservative triumph in 1968?
The Soldiers War
Due: Downs, 15-237; Reading Essay #2 (optional).
Discussion: 1) What was the most significant burden faced by American soldiers in Vietnam?
2) What passage in Downs most affected you? Why?
Nixon and the "Vietnamization" of the War
Due: Young, chapter 12; McMahon, chapter 11.
Discussion: Was "Vietnamization" a sound strategy? Why or why not?
Guest Speaker (TBA)
Due: Begin Hayslip, When Heaven and Earth Changed Places.
Discussion: [based on speaker]
The Vietnamese at War
Due: Hayslip, 1-23, 26-54, 65-97, 103-124, 133-140, 144-157, 159-164, 168-190, 194-204,
209-215, 221-226, 236-239, 255-262, 274-284, 294-303, 307-310, 319-333, 343-355; McMahon,
297-303 and 393-421; Suffer the Little Children (packet).
Discussion: 1) How did the war affect the Vietnamese? 2) What incident from Hayslips
life most affected you? Why?
African Americans at War
Due: Terry, Introduction, 1-30, 89-129, 143-154, 186-199, 219-265.
Discussion: 1) How and why was the experience of black soldiers often different from the
experience of white soldiers? 2) What incident from Bloods most affected you? Why?
My Lai (I)
Due: Oral Presentation (see handout).
My Lai (II)
Due: Research Paper (mandatory); A Quiet War Over the Past (packet).
Discussion: 1) Who was "culpable" for what happened? 2) Was Calley a victim or a
scapegoat? 3) Was he an aberration or symptom of the war?
The War at Home (II)
Due: McMahon, 477-493 and 511-520; The Moratorium and the New Mobe (packet).
Discussion: 1) Why was the antiwar movement more unpopular than ever by 1971 even though
most Americans now opposed the war? 2) What was the most significant impact of the antiwar
Nixon, Kissinger, and the Paris Peace Conference
Due: Young, chapter 13; McMahon, 563-569; The South Vietnamese Retreat (packet).
Discussion: Did Nixon and Kissinger achieve "peace with honor" in Vietnam?
The "End" of the War
Due: Young, chapter 14; McMahon, 569-607; We Clawed for Our Lives! (packet).
Discussion: Why was North Vietnam ultimately triumphant?
The POW/MIA Experience and Controversy
Due: Terry, 130-142 and 266-291; Of Soldiers Lost, The Mystery of the Tomb,
and Arlington Yields to Science (packet).
Discussion: 1) Why has the POW/MIA issue remained so controversial? 2) Was there a
conspiracy to conceal the existence of POWs left behind in Indochina? 3) What incident
from Bloods most affected you? Why?
History and Myth: The Vietnam War in American Film
Due: Prepare rewrite.
Discussion: 1) To what extent do popular films accurately portray the Vietnam War? Why or
why not? 2) Is it possible for films to present history accurately?
The Vietnam Debate (I)
Due: Research Rewrite (optional).
Discussion: Why was the U.S. in Vietnam?
The Vietnam Debate (II)
Due: Begin Van Devanter, Home Before Morning
Discussion: Why was the U.S. unable to achieve victory in Vietnam?
American Women and the Vietnam War
Due: Van Devanter, 9-208.
Discussion: 1) How was the experience of American women different from that of American
men? 2) What incident from Van Devanters life most affected you? Why?
Due: Van Devanter, 209-326; OBrien, "Speaking of Courage" (packet).
Discussion: 1) How and why were veterans mistreated after they returned home? 2)
What incidents from Van Devanter and OBrien most affected you? Why? 3) To what
extent were the experiences of male and female veterans similar and/or different? 4) How
do you account for the similarities and the differences?
Vietnam and S.E. Asia after 1975
Due: Young, chapter 15; assorted articles (packet, 20-35); Hayslip, 23-25, 54-64, 97-103,
124-127; 130-133; 140-144; 157-159; 165-168, 190-193, 204-209, 216-221, 227-235, 240-254,
262-273, 284-294, 303-307, 310-319, 334-343, 355-368.
Discussion: 1) To what extent must the U.S. bear responsibility for what happened in S.E.
Asia after 1975? 2) In what sense was North Vietnam victorious? 3) In what ways has
Vietnam changed (and not changed) since 1975?
The "Lessons" of Vietnam: History, Politics, and Tactics
Due: Young, epilogue; McMahon, chapter 15.
Discussion: What is the most important "lesson" of Vietnam? Why?
For changes and updates, please consult the ERes course page. The discussion
questions serve as a general guide to reading assignments, class participation, and exam