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Nobody Gets Off the Bus:
The Viet Nam Generation Big Book
Volume 5 Number 1-4

March 1994

This text, made available by the Sixties Project, is copyright (c) 1996 by Viet Nam Generation, Inc., or the author, all rights reserved. This text may be used, printed, and archived in accordance with the Fair Use provisions of U.S. Copyright law. This text may not be archived, printed, or redistributed in any form for a fee, without the consent of the copyright holder. This notice must accompany any redistribution of the text. The Sixties Project, sponsored by Viet Nam Generation Inc. and the Institute of Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, is a collective of humanities scholars working together on the Internet to use electronic resources to provide routes of collaboration and make available primary and secondary sources for researchers, students, teachers, writers and librarians interested in the 1960s.

The Vietnam War in Literature: An Annotated Bibliography of Criticism

From a release by Salem Press. Philip K. Jason serves on the Viet Nam Generation advisory board.

Salem Press, Inc., announces the following addition to its Magill Bibliographies: Philip K. Jason, The Vietnam War in Literature: An Annotated Bibliography of Criticism (175 pages, cloth, ISBN 0-89356-679-9, $40). The bibliography includes an introductory essay on critical approaches to Vietnam war literature, a listing of special collections of Vietnam war material, a section on representative Vietnam war studies from various disciplines in order to provide a broad context for students of the literature, a section on critical works that cross genre boundaries, a section on studies that treat particular genres--literary nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and drama--and a section of "Authors and Works" that assesses criticism of the most important titles. Salem Press claims that The Vietnam War in Literature provides bibliographically complete citations to book-length studies, subsections of books, essays in collections, and articles in popular and scholarly periodicals. Each annotation provides both a synopsis and assessment of the cited commentary.

Salem Press, Inc., 580 Sylvan Ave., Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632; 800/221-1592; FAX 201/871-8668.

Bibliography of Vietnam War Films

From a press release by McFarland & Company:

Vietnam War Films: Over 600 Feature, Made-for-TV, Pilot and Short Movies, 1939-1992, from the United States, Vietnam, France, Belgium, Australia, Hong Kong, South Africa, Great Britain and Other Countries. Edited by Jean-Jacques Malo and Tony Williams. [480 pp; 92-56662. Ca. 150 photographs, appendices, bibliography, index 0-89950-781-6.] $55 library binding (7x10) 1993. If you waited for the McFarland handling of this enormous reference need, you did the right thing. This is the filmography. There are 137 Vietnamese films not before noted in the literature. The French coverage is comprehensive. As for the U.S., for the first time the so-called covert Vietnam films (Soldier Blue, Little Big Man, etc.) that deal with the war in an indirect or allegorical way are covered, as are mainstream war movies. Each entry gives title, alternate titles, year of release, country, studio, credits (director, producer, screenplay, editor, music, cast), availability on video, major themes, plot synopsis, and critical commentary on the film and its relevance to Vietnam. The cooperation of the Office of the General Secretary of the Vietnamese Filmmakers' Association and the Vietnamese Department of Cinema at the Ministry of Culture in Hanoi was obtained for the invaluable Vietnamese material, 1959-1989. A language consultant and instructor, Jean Jacques Malo lives in Châteaubriant, France, and Seattle. Tony Williams is an associate professor of cinema studies at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.

Order from McFarland & Col, Inc., Box 611, Jefferson, NC 28640.

News from the Net

aforum@moose.uvm.edu" carried this announcement on 20 July, 1992:


We are pleased to announce that on Friday July 10, political prisoner Alan Berkman was finally released from prison. Alan had been in jail since 1985, serving a prison term relating to a series of armed political actions against US military installations and corporations which support imperialist world policies. These actions were carried out in the early 80s and included actions by the Red Guerrilla Resistance and the 1983 bombing of the US Capitol building in protest of the US invasion of Grenada; this action was claimed by the Armed Resistance Unit.

While in prison, the US government opened another case against Alan and 6 other comrades (one of who was and still is underground). This case was known as the Resistance Conspiracy Case (RCC). During the RCC trial, Alan was seriously ill with Hodgkins Disease, a form of cancer. At the end of 1990, Alan nearly died from the adverse effects of chemotherapy. In response to this, Alan's comrades entered into a plea bargain under which Linda Evans, Laura Whitehorn, and Marilyn Buck pleaded guilty to charges related to the Capitol bombing, in return for which all conspiracy charges against Tim Blunk, Susan Rosenberg, and Alan Berkman were dropped. This was a very difficult decision for the RCC defendants to make, but because of this decision, Alan was able to be released in 1992 and is now alive and well. Otherwise, he would surely have died in prison from the ill effects of his cancer, coupled with the stress of the RCC trial which was the State was determined not to lose.

Alan Berkman was born in 1945 and has been active in the resistance movement both as an activist and as an accomplished physician. Alan helped treat wounded prisoners after the Attica Rebellion in 1971, and he served as part of the medical team that aided native Americans at Wounded Knee in 1973. He also helped treat and defend several Puerto Rican independistas and Black Liberation Army (BLA) militants. In 1982, he served 7 months in prison as a grand jury resister for refusing to talk with police about the treatment he gave to Solomon Brown, a BLA member. Alan was indicted for his medical treatment in a wide-ranging federal conspiracy case shortly after his release. Knowing he would never receive fair treatment at the hands of the State, Alan went underground until he was captured by the FBI in 1985 and charged with the possession of weapons and false ID and aiding and abetting known felons.

At a reception with friends and comrades on the weekend of his release, Alan looked fit and healthy and he reaffirmed his commitment to the struggle for freedom.

from: autonome forum: aforum@moose.uvm.edu

"solidarity is a weapon!"

Best Viet Nam Catalogue Ever

Books on Southeast Asia and the Indochina Wars, two volumes, September 1993, from Dalley Book Service, 90 Kimball Lane, Christiansburg, VA 24073, 703-382-8949. Contents: Viet Nam Non-fiction 1012 titles, Viet Nam Fiction 332 titles, 46 Cambodia titles, 165 Laos titles, 68 Thailand titles, 280 Southeast Asia: History and Political titles, 22 OSS, CIA, and Intelligence titles, 33 Guerrilla Warfare titles. Get it, read it, order from it.

You should buy books from specialty dealers. They know the literature better than you can ever hope to, I don't care if you're David Marr, Ben Kiernan, and George Herring. Scholars frequently make their reputations by introducing into the academy things that booksellers have known about for years. The hurdle is to find a good one, a dealer with your interests who doesn't charge an arm and a leg and will share information in a collegial way. Mr. Dalley is a good one. Prices are consistently less than what you would pay for a new book, that is, a third to a fifth what you would pay Ken Lopez for same old book. Dalley is a merchant and a democrat, as well as a valuable intellectual in our field. He actually explains the terms of art (chipped, foxing, wraps, etc.) of the o.p. book market on the inside covers of his catalogue, making transparent one of the book-trade's clubby barriers that exclude folks who didn't grow up on the right street corner.

An announcement from the inside back cover of the catalogue:

I am most interested in obtaining copies of any papers, documents, or studies on the Indochina Wars with my particular interest being Laos as I served there from 1962-1967 with AID. My purpose is not only to build up a personal collection but also to be a source for making copies available at reasonable cost to people doing research. As some of you may know, there is a firm that reproduces copies of monographs and studies by the prices for such reproductions are prohibitive and the quality of the reproductions is not very good to say the least. Also, some government agencies charge at least $1.00 to photocopy documents that are no longer available through the GPO. It seems that they utilize persons at a GS-17 grade level to make copies rather than attempting to train unemployed youth to perform tasks of this sort.

In making copies available to customers, I would charge $.10 a page and add 15% to cover other expenses. If you have anything that you feel other people would be interested in to aid their research or to become part of their personal collection, please feel free to contact me I would more than glad to pay for you copying cost and any other expenses that you may have in getting a copy to me. On this, I would like to point out that I have sold over 35 copies of some photocopied items so there does exist a real interest in material of this type.

A Note from the voodoo chile

anyone familiar with the small volume of poetry put out in the early 80's called The Worst PTSD Poetry You've Ever Seen? i think it was edited by f. telford astine, but i could be mistaken. anyway, a small taste to whet your appetite:

i'm all fucked up
scratchin' my nuts on a
funny tree
blood drippin'
all over me
i'm all fucked up.

va said take these
i said yo! gonna have
some fun
yellow ones, blue ones and a red one
but now
i'm all fucked up.

kilt me a dog last night and the fleas is all over me.
chewin' them up, dryin' them out, add'm to my herbal tea.
uh huh. oh yeah. i'm all fucked up.

--by itchy "wild man" catten, 1977.

just thought i'd brighten up your miserable little lives with a blast from the past. vets helping vets. v/c. .

Asian-American Vets

I have been trying to meet with Asian-American artists and activists, since it is in my interest, as a publisher of people from mainland Southeast Asia, for "Asian-American" to come to mean something besides Japanese and Chinese people. A lot of different kinds of Americans have an interest in identifying themselves as Asians, and a lot of them have no choice but to be identified as Asians by everyone else here, and of course certain elements in the two biggest language groups have an interest in controlling whatever benefits there are to being "Asian" in America. Joyce Brabner tells me that Andre Schiffrin's New Press turned down our Cambodian-American comic book project because that publisher's Asian-American advisors don't think that Khmer people have anything interesting to say. So I was on the phone making friends with Tamina Davar, an engaging and energetic Asian-American activist from Brooklyn who isn't any more Chinese or Japanese than I am. Davar mentioned that she was interested in the cause of Asian-American veterans getting proper recognition for service in Viet Nam. I told her about Korean-American Ernie Spencer's Welcome to Viet Nam Macho Man. The next day I sent her a few books with this letter.

I have some problems with the project of getting recognition for Asian-American Viet Nam vets, that is, Asians from the U.S. who served in the U.S. Armed Forces during the American war in Viet Nam. There is a prehistory to any such project, in the creation of the in-group "veteran" status. The nature of the prehistory explains why I don't support with any vigor the extension of this status to outgroups.

The best place to start is in the wars on the Native Americans (staffed by Civil War crazies), then the wars in the Philippines (staffed by Indian Wars crazies), then the war for the Pacific and the war in China, then Korea. These are where men (like for instance a Jew named Duffy) got be white, which is what we're talking about when we talk about who is a veteran. But a good place to start is at home in 1975. At that time, there were two dominant images of the U.S. man who had served in mainland SE Asia. One was that of the baby-killing, village-burning infantryman. This image was the creation of the Viet Nam Veterans Against the War and other antiwar vets. Through activism, principally war crimes hearings and leaks to reporters (My Lai), these men made it clear to Americans that the vets thought of themselves as people who had participated in unconscionable slaughter. As the VVAW faded from public view after 1975, this image transmogrified into the "crazy vet," the man driven to acts of homicide in the U.S. by his stressful times overseas. This image was in turn rehabilitated by the Rambo movement, accompanied in the academy by a revisionist movement towards writing about the war as a noble cause betrayed. The crazy vet became the honorable man who was stabbed in the back by his government and by the press while he was a soldier, and spat upon by peace activists upon his return, now deserving of a "welcome home."

As this has become a desirable image, other groups have tried to gain some of the glory. Women have come forward, and now apparently Asian-Americans as well. This is a crock of shit, which is one reason the conference at Howard was so bad. There is nothing to be proud about in having served in Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, or the Philippines with the U.S. military unless you were in mutiny. Would you be proud of having served with the U.S. Army in the Indian Wars? A person can be proud of his or her personal conduct and the character of his or her relations with his fellows, but that is different from taking pride in association with the grand enterprise of the war. There is the legitimate issue of demanding that the U.S. government pay the costs of the damage which service did to the lives of those who served, but that's all, and that's not the way the professional vets present the matter. They want to be heroes for having participated in empire and mass murder. There are plenty of Viet Nam vets I am proud of, but they are the ones who have remained true to the reality of their experiences, who speak about war as it is, and take action accordingly. These people have been shut out of the national press since they threw their medals back at the steps of Congress in 1971, startling the country into the process of revision I have described to you.

The other image of the Viet Nam veteran dominant at the end of the American war is that of the POW. The image has not transmogrified so much as it has simply grown to the point where the POW/MIA myth (it is without any question a myth: see Bruce Franklin's M.I.A.: Mythmaking in America) has become a folk religion among many of those white Americans hardest hit by the war. This is weird, because the POWs were those least hurt by the war: they were pilots, well-paid, educated, professional white men who returned to full employment in the U.S., with no damage even to their self-image or world-view. The MIAs are confused with POWs and used as an icon by those who cannot afford to admit that the real POWs are the homeless vets, the imprisoned vets, the vets dead by suicide/drugs/cigarettes/booze/guns/cars, the vets warehoused in V.A. hospitals.

The only vets in America I can think of who really need recognition as veterans, rather than as human beings who were used badly and deserve proper treatment, are the Vietnamese Americans who served with the Army of the Republic of Viet Nam. They did the vast bulk of the fighting over there, without medevac helicopters or American medicine, often without pay and under dire compulsion, not for twelve months but for the duration of the war. They were our allies and many of them now live in our country without access to the benefits that their comrades among the veterans of the U.S. armed services enjoy. There are also the Viets, Hmong, Lao people, Khmers and others who worked for the Army or State Department as irregular soldiers.

The Asian-American group whose service in the war is truly neglected are the whores, the women who served the sexual and emotional needs of the U.S. war machines in the Philippines, in Japan, in Korea, Thailand, Laos, and Viet Nam and who eventually made their way here. Start agitating for pensions and V.A. benefits for them and I'll work for you.

I should tell you I even have mixed feelings about the Wall. I think it is about as humane as a militarist war memorial by a Yale graduate is going to get. But soldiers, especially U.S. soldiers who died in the theater of war, are about the last group of dead from that war whom Americans need to have brought to their attention.

Ethnic solidarity and vet's issues mix together into bullshit unless you have a lot of facts and draw a lot of distinctions. There's a lot to be proud of in the G.I. movement against the war, led in Viet Nam by black power activists in the military. I wish I knew more about Native American attitudes--I think of the Plains men as bikers who like to fight, but I'm sure it's more complicated than that. The common Chicano attitude that the war was just another shitty job poor people had to do for the rich has lot of worth. In Asia, this is the general attitude towards military service, and I hate to hear of Asian Americans trying to make out like they were heroes--that is to say, white men with big chests--in Viet Nam.

--Dan Duffy

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