Charlie Company's journey home The boys of '67 and the war they left behind

Andrew A. Wiest

Book - 2018

The human experience of the Vietnam War is almost impossible to grasp - the camaraderie, the fear, the smell, the pain. Men were transformed into soldiers, and then into warriors. These warriors had wives who loved them and shared in their transformations. Some marriages were strengthened, while for others there was all too often a dark side, leaving men and their families emotionally and spiritually battered for years to come. Focusing in on just one company's experience of war and its eve...ntual homecoming, Andrew Wiest shines a light on the shared experience of combat and both the darkness and resiliency of war's aftermath"--

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Subjects
Genres
Personal narratives
Published
Oxford, UK : Osprey Publishing 2018.
Language
English
Item Description
"The forgotten impact on the wives of Vietnam veterans"--Cover.
Physical Description
400 pages, 24 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 381-389) and index.
ISBN
9781472827494
147282749X
Main Author
Andrew A. Wiest (author)
  • The women of Charlie Company
  • Marriage and training
  • Wartime
  • Days of terror
  • Loss
  • War's end and homecoming
  • Living with Vietnam.
Review by Library Journal Reviews

In 1967, the United States increased its presence in Vietnam from 300,000 to 500,000 troops, 40 percent of whom were married. Wiest (history, Univ. of Southern Mississippi) follows up his powerful work The Boys of '67 with a sequel of sorts: the perspectives of the wives and families left behind. Using oral interviews, letters, diaries, and other primary resources, Wiest provides a compassionate look at how the conflict impacted these individuals to the present day. Although specific to this Vietnam experience, readers will appreciate the common threads that run through the sacrifices of military duty during conflict: loneliness, striving for balance upon return to civilian life, and coping with physical and mental illnesses related to wartime service. Although there are plenty of other works that discuss the home front, the uniqueness here lies in the cohesive yet distinctive experiences of the Charlie Company itself, offering a deeper understanding of the soldiers through the actions of their wives during their year away. VERDICT Historians, military spouses, and those impacted by Vietnam will find this work sensitive, familiar, and uplifting.—Maria Bagshaw, Elgin Community Coll. Lib., IL Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

Wiest, a history professor at University of Southern Mississippi, offers something rare in the literary canon of the Vietnam War: an in-depth look at the families—primarily the wives—of the company of U.S. Army 9th Infantry division men he chronicled in The Boys of '67 (2012). For that book, Wiest spent three years interviewing nearly 100 officers and enlistees of Charlie Company and their significant others. He conducted additional interviews with the soldiers' wives for the new book and made use of eight "major letter collections." Through oral histories and his own scene-setting, Wiest tells of the experiences of college students, young housewives and mothers, and working women before, during, and after their husbands' service in Vietnam. Among the women are Kaye French, who recalls changing her wedding date to accommodate her husband's training and finding out she was pregnant just after he shipped out; Mary Ann Simon, who endured an agonizing wait for updates after her future husband was shot in Vietnam; and Sue Reed, whose marriage foundered partly due to her husband's wartime experiences. Wiest writes well and with empathy for what the women went through. This is a novel look at the Vietnam War's legacy that speaks to the experiences of military families today. (Oct.) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The wives of veterans who served in Charlie Company, a unit that fought in the Vietnam War, describe the drastic changes that occurred in their husbands and in their marriage as their families struggled to overcome the traumas of the war.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Draws on interviews, letters, diaries and recordings in a compelling report of the human costs of veterans and their families in the form of PTSD, depression, substance abuse, suicide, broken families and homelessness.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The Boys of ’67 and the War They Left BehindThe human experience of the Vietnam War is almost impossible to grasp--the camaraderie, the fear, the smell, the pain. Men were transformed into soldiers, and then into warriors.These warriors had wives who loved them and shared in their transformations. Some marriages were strengthened, while for others there was all too often a dark side, leaving men and their families emotionally and spiritually battered for years to come.Focusing in on just one company’s experience of war and its eventual homecoming, Andrew Wiest shines a light on the shared experience of combat and both the darkness and resiliency of war’s aftermath.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Using countless interviews as well as original diaries and letters, Andrew Wiest lays bare the horror of the Vietnam War for those left behind and the enduring battles they must continue to fight long after their loved ones have returned home.