The Vietnam War A Graphic History

Written by Dwight Jon Zimmerman; Art by Wayne Vansant; Foreword by General Chuck Horner, USAF (Ret.)

Hill and Wang

0809094959

9780809094950

Hardcover

160 Pages

$19.95

CAD22.95

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An American Library Association Great Graphic Novel for Teens Nominee
The Vietnam War has become the touchstone for U.S. military misadventures—a war lost on the home front although never truly lost on the battlefront. During the pivotal decade of 1962 to 1972, U.S. involvement rose from a few hundred advisers to a fighting force of more than one million. This same period saw the greatest schism in American society since the Civil War, a generational divide pitting mothers and fathers against sons and daughters who protested the country’s ever-growing military involvement in Vietnam. Meanwhile, well-intentioned decisions in Washington became operational orders with tragic outcomes in the rice paddies, jungles, and villages of Southeast Asia. Through beautifully rendered artwork, The Vietnam War: A Graphic History depicts the course of the war from its initial expansion in the early 1960s through the evacuation of Saigon in 1975, and what transpired at home, from the antiwar movement and the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. to the Watergate break-in and the resignation of a president.

REVIEWS

Praise for The Vietnam War

"A nifty book-length comic written by Dwight Jon Zimmerman and drawn by Wayne Vansant . . . But unlike many books on Vietnam, this one doesn't come with an agenda. The clear text and illustrations lay out the stages of the war in a reasonable, direct way. The experience is partly like reading something that pricks the nostalgia of its time and partly like seeing footage on an old newsreel . . . Among the highlights of the book are stories such as that of boatswain's mate 1st class James E. Williams, whose two-boat PBR patrol came upon 40 sampans carrying 800 North Vietnamese army regulars and zoomed through with guns blazing to emerge almost unscathed. As they were exulting over their miraculous escape, the crew rounded a bend only to discover an even larger convoy. Again they attacked, challenging the enemy, and calling in airstrikes that inflicted 1,000 casualties. It's a scene suffused with the strangeness of Apocalypse Now—yet true. The Vietnam War features an excellent combination of narrative and hard information. It's concise and accessible, yet Zimmerman and Vansant have somehow sifted through the hype that still surrounds our engagement in Southeast Asia to tell this complicated story in a condensed and unassuming style."—Laurel Maury, Los Angeles Times

"Perhaps this is how, eventually, children will explore and come to know the past, through the reductive balancing act known as the 'graphic history.' There have been other graphic histories on other wars, but it must have been especially challenging to portray the Vietnam years with all their complexities, to convey not only how we became entangled in such a war and how we ultimately left it, but how we felt about it then and how we feel about it today. Zimmerman and Vansant do a memorable job, and when they feel their subject becoming too unwieldy for illustration and dialogue, they create text-only primers at the bottom of the page (mostly they contain background on the draft, the role of the news media and such major players as Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara or Gen. William Westmoreland). The result is a painstaking and even-handed tour of the politics and the strategic mistakes, the battles and the protests, the lives lost and the lessons learned."—The Arizona Republic

"The Vietnam War: A Graphic History is out now, and I hope you run out to pick it up . . . Like most everyone born in the '70s, I grew up in the shadow of the Vietnam War. It was discussed very often. It was understood (by me) very little. This book has not only answered so many questions for me, but it has encapsulated the entire scope of the war into such easily digested segments without ever once feeling pedantic. I’m loving it for being so ambitious and respecting it for accomplishing it with such aplomb. I would have that what writer Dwight Jon Zimmerman and artist Wayne Vansant have done would be incredibly difficult, but they make it look quite easy . . . Highly recommended."—John Hogan, Graphic Novel Reporter

"Boy, talk about setting yourself up for a no-win scenario. If the U.S. weren't currently embroiled in Iraq, you'd find few Americans who’d argue—whether they supported it or not—that the Vietnam War is the single most contentious conflict in the history of U.S. military actions . . . At the open, Zimmerman focuses effectively on the influence of the Cold War and Lyndon Johnson's tenuous arrival in the Oval Office following John F. Kennedy’s assassination. The political thorn bushes—the so-called domino theory of Communism's global threat, the U.S. military's inability to cross the DMZ, and the 'neutrality' of the Ho Chi Minh Trail—are all laid out clearly and without overt judgment . . . Wayne Vansant's powerful illustrations capture the necessary likenesses of the historical figures, and his solid visual storytelling keeps all the dates, personnel, locations and technology in order. Using maps and other visual aids, Vansant keeps readers enmeshed in the unfolding timeline, and his gritty illustrations suit the mood and struggle of the soldiers mired down in the conflict . . . Zimmerman's solid scripting and Vansant's powerful illustrations keep it much closer to the bulls eye than The Vietnam War: A Graphic History had much right to be.  It’s a broad overview of a war with a million individual perspectives, and taken as such, the book works very well as a summary of the Vietnam experience."—Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama

"Unless you were of newspaper reading age at the time, odds are your understanding of the Viet Nam war is that it was generally bad. It went on too long, wasn’t fought with sufficient political will to win, and was fraught with the complications of fighting guerilla style in someone else’s war. Dwight Jon Zimmerman and Wayne Vansant —both longtime Marvel Comics writers with plenty of experience on military issues—take up the subject with enough detail to cover significant military events and political turns to give a sound understanding of what happened there. In The Vietnam War: A Graphic History, they narrate the more than a decade, from battlefield events to political pressures, to the anti-war movement to the aftermath. The book’s major strength is its neutral reportage. Quotes attributed to real historic figures are taken from documented statements by those people. Neither the pictures nor the prose sensationalize the events. In fact, both have the sober tone of journalism, from simple, news-y statements ('Viet cong attacks throughout the south escalated—including, as General Westmoreland feared, attacks on American air bases') to the soberly realistic black and white art. But it’s done with the benefit of 35 years’ hindsight, so the authors are able to put events in context and measure their significance. They also do something that the national appraisal of the war seems to fall short on, which is to give credit for successes. Soldiers went to do a job, and in many cases did it well—not just bravely, but with battlefield successes. It’s a good read which in a short time gives a substantial overview of our most influential conflict of the last half century."—Michael Gill, Cleveland Scene

“I’ve waited years for a graphic novel like this—an historic account of the Vietnam War—and Dwight Jon Zimmerman and Wayne Vansant expertly deliver it! Over the years pop culture has dealt with Vietnam artistically, mainly in film, offering personalized perspectives of this troubling time. The Vietnam War: A Graphic History instead is focused on the facts, and the actual war itself—which is an incredibly gripping tale. With the state of the world today, the lessons of Vietnam are more relevant than ever before, making The Vietnam War: A Graphic History a must-read graphic novel for all ages!”—Jim Salicrup, Papercutz Editor-in-Chief and Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Trustee

"A stunning study of one of American's most complex stories."—Hot Fall Graphic Novels for Libraries, Book Expo America

“Zimmerman and Vansant lead the reader through the military, political and social history of an incredibly complex topic. They show the North Vietnamese as well as the American viewpoints, and the successes and failures of both sides. No one book can properly tell the history of the Vietnam war, but Mr. Zimmerman and Mr. Vansant’s graphic history is a valuable introduction to the conflict.”—Larry Bond, bestselling author and game designer of Harpoon

The Vietnam War: A Graphic History is an innovative way to present a complex period in American history. Using actual dialogue with illustrations of the personalities involved, it brings the people and the events to life.”—Philip Caputo, author of A Rumor of War

“Dwight Zimmerman and Wayne Vansant treat the complicated and controversial history of America’s war in Vietnam with clarity and sensitivity in this graphic history. For those new to the story, it is a concise yet comprehensive and vivid overview; for those who remember the war, it is a stunning retrospective.”—Craig L. Symonds, author of Lincoln and His Admirals

“Dwight Jon Zimmerman and Wayne Vansant have created a truly graphic history of America’s tragic misadventure in Vietnam. They show the mistaken assumptions, failed policies, and hubris that doomed American efforts to prevent a Communist takeover of South Vietnam.  At the same time they maintain a balanced presentation that leans to neither the pro-war nor anti-war side in this country’s most divisive conflict.”—James M. McPherson , author of Battle Cry of Freedom

“An emotionally moving combination of graphics and text clearly describing the events that led up to a war and years of bloodshed, which threatened the unity of the American people.”—Joe Kubert, author of Fax from Sarajevo and Yossel

“You are not likely to find a more balanced, comprehensive, and accurate—yet marvelously accessible—overview of the Vietnam War than Dwight Zimmerman’s and Wayne Vansant’s graphic history. If you want a good introduction to that war, don’t go to Wikipedia; go here.”—Tony Koltz, coauthor of The Battle for Peace

"Zimmerman has reduced the Vietnam conflict to 160 pages of graphics. He presents the debacle, with its ongoing questions—from the beginning to the end—in a graphic, comic book mode. There is a forward by retired General Chuck Horner and suggested readings on the subject (and there are many more books on the subject not listed ). The Vietnam War has been and always will be a subject for spirited discussion. This graphic history gives a clear and concise account of it with little editorializing. This could be an ideal teaching tool in history classes, presenting just the facts."—MyShelf

Reviews from Goodreads

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BOOK EXCERPTS

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Dwight Jon Zimmerman has written on military subjects for the Naval Institute Press, Vietnam magazine, and the Faircount Publication’s ongoing series of military-themed magazines, and has served as the co–executive producer of the Discovery Channel’s miniseries First Command, which was based on his book of the same name. His The Book of War won the 2009 Gold Award for Reference by the Military Writers Society of America. Zimmerman has served as an editor at Byron Preiss Visual Publications, Topps Comics, and Marvel Comics. Wayne Vansant served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Written by Dwight Jon Zimmerman; Art by Wayne Vansant; Foreword by General Chuck Horner, USAF (Ret.)

  • Dwight Jon Zimmerman has written on military subjects for the Naval Institute Press, Vietnam magazine, and the Faircount Publication’s ongoing series of military-themed magazines, and has served as the co–executive producer of the Discovery Channel’s miniseries First Command, which was based on his book of the same name. His The Book of War won the 2009 Gold Award for Reference by the Military Writers Society of America. Zimmerman has served as an editor at Byron Preiss Visual Publications, Topps Comics, and Marvel Comics.

    Wayne Vansant served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War before earning his degree from the Atlanta College of Art. Vansant oversaw Marvel’s Vietnam War comic The ’Nam, which he worked on for approximately five years, illustrating more than fifty issues. Since working on The ’Nam, he has scripted and illustrated countless graphic books on the subject of military history, from the American Civil War to the Korean War.
  • Dwight Jon Zimmerman
    Dwight Jon Zimmerman
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