Hello, everybody! My name is Johanna and
this is Teen Book Tuesday. This week I have for you “Boots on the Ground:
America’s War in Vietnam” by Elizabeth Partridge. And as you might have guessed,
we’re taking a break from novels this week to talk about a really good piece
of nonfiction. So “Boots on the Ground” was published in 2018 and instead of reading
like a history textbook, which might reduce the entire conflict down to a
list of battles and dates, it focuses on the lives of eight people who were
involved in the conflict somehow. And it’s not just presidents or great men as
you might suspect, although we do see some of those guys show up. These eight
individuals that Partridge interviews and writes about are soldiers and medics
and nurses and a refugee. Each of them has different backgrounds, different
feelings about the war, and different reasons for why they ended up in Vietnam.
And what they all come away with is a shared trauma and need for healing.
Partridge also spends a couple chapters talking about the design and building of
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC which as it turns out was way
more contentious at the time than I thought it would ever be. So should you
read “Boots on the Ground”? Very yes. You should read it if you like history. You
should read it if you like nonfiction or even if you don’t like nonfiction. You
should read it if you don’t know anything about the Vietnam War and you
should read it if you know a lot about the war but want to know more. But in
particular you should read it if stories about people and how lives change based
on the surrounding circumstances are important to you.
TLDR: you should definitely read it. That’s all for this week! See you all