helicopters airlift members of a U.S. infantry regiment in Vietnam

The Vietnam War - The WILL Collection


Explore a variety of programs and segments from WILL Radio and Television archives covering and discussing the Vietnam War, and its political, cultural, and personal impact on those in our community and throughout the region. This content is part of our expanded Vietnam War content in connection with the Vietnam War documentary series from PBS.

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Vietnam: Rising Dragon

The eyes of the West have recently been trained on China and India, but Vietnam is rising fast among its Asian peers. A breathtaking period of social change has seen foreign investment bringing capitalism flooding into its nominally communist society, booming cities swallowing up smaller villages, and the lure of modern living tugging at the traditional networks of family and community. Yet beneath these sweeping developments lurks an authoritarian political system that complicates the nation’s apparent renaissance. In Vietnam: Rising Dragon, experienced journalist Bill Hayton looks at the costs of change in Vietnam and questions whether this rising Asian power is really heading toward capitalism and democracy.

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Until the Last Man Comes Home: POWS, MIAS, and the Unending Vietnam War

An interview with author Michael J. Allen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of History, Northwestern University.

Fewer Americans were captured or missing during the Vietnam War than in any previous major military conflict in U.S. history. Yet despite their small numbers, American POWs inspired an outpouring of concern that slowly eroded support for the war. Michael J. Allen reveals how wartime loss transformed U.S. politics well before, and long after, the war's official end.

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On Their Own: Women Journalists And The American Experience In Vietnam

More than three hundred women journalists were accredited to cover the war in Vietnam. In On Their Own, veteran journalist Joyce Hoffmann tells the largely unknown story of a central group of these women, including Dickey Chapelle, Gloria Emerson, Kate Webb, and others. Each has a unique and deeply compelling tale to tell, and vivid portraits of their personal lives and professional triumphs are woven into the controversial details of America's twenty-year military involvement in Southeast Asia.

Book cover for War Trauma

War Trauma: Lessons Unlearned From Vietnam To Iraq

In his book War Trauma, Raymond Monsour Scurfield draws on the experience of prior wars for valuable insights to help people who are now in the military or in the healing professions, and their families and communities, to deal with todays realities of combat and its aftermath — which so often entails PTSD (post-traumatic stresss syndrome), depression and the risk of suicide. 

Book cover for The Father of All Things

The Father of All Things: A Marine, His Son, and the Legacy of Vietnam

Opening with a gripping account of the chaotic and brutal last month of the war, The Father of All Things is Tom Bissell’s powerful reckoning with the Vietnam War and its impact on his father, his country, and Vietnam itself. Through him we learn what it was like to grow up with a gruff but oddly tender veteran father who would wake his children in the middle of the night when the memories got too painful. Bissell also explores the many debates about the war, from whether it was winnable to Ho Chi Minh’s motivations to why America’s leaders lied so often. Above all, he shows how the war has continued to influence American views on foreign policy more than thirty years later.

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Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam

An interview with Gareth Porter, American historian, investigative journalist, author and policy analyst specializing in U.S. national security policy.

In Perils of Dominance Gareth Porter provides challenges the prevailing explanation that U.S. officials adhered blindly to a Cold War doctrine that loss of Vietnam would cause a "domino effect" leading to communist domination of the area. He says U.S. policy decisions on Vietnam from 1954 to mid-1965 were shaped by an overwhelming imbalance of military power favoring the United States over the Soviet Union and China. He argues the slide into war in Vietnam is relevant to understanding why the United States went to war in Iraq, and why such wars are likely as long as U.S. military power is overwhelmingly dominant in the world. 

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They Marched Into Sunlight: War And Peace, Vietnam And America, October 1967

An interview with author David Maraniss, associate editor at The Washington Post.

In They Marched Into Sunlight, Maraniss weaves together the stories of three very different worlds: the death and heroism of soldiers in Vietnam, the anger and anxiety of antiwar students back home, and the confusion and obfuscating behavior of officials in Washington. Based on thousands of primary documents and 180 on-the-record interviews, the book describes the battles that evoked cultural and political conflicts that still reverberate.

Book cover for Lyndon Johnson and Europe In the Shadow of Vietnam

Lyndon Johnson and Europe In the Shadow of Vietnam

Lyndon Johnson and Europe shows a fascinating new side to this giant of twentieth-century American history and demonstrates that Johnson’s diplomacy toward Europe deserves recognition as one of the most important achievements of his presidency.

Daniel Ellsberg

Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers

Daniel Ellsberg was a U.S. military analyst in 1969 when he learned that the government was hiding the knowledge that the Vietnam War could most likely not be won. His release of the papers to the New York Times and other U.S. newspapers in 1971 precipitated a political crisis, and led to a series of events culminating in the Watergate burglaries that brought down President Richard Nixon. In this interview, Ellsberg tells his story.

Book cover of Home to War

Home to War: A History of the Vietnam Veterans Movement

Gerald Nicosia interviewed some 600 men who took part in the Vietnam War and later became active in the antiwar movement. Nicosia tells the story of the antiwar years, and of antiwar veterans including the leaders of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). 

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Another Vietnam: Pictures of the War from the Other Side

Another Vietnam presents the view of the North Vietnamese combat photographers who documented their people's 30-year struggle, first against the French and then against the Americans. Intended above all to inspire, their pictures portray a society committed to victory at all costs, but they are much more than mere propaganda - They show us courage, drama, resolve, and - often - a violent beauty. National Geographic Picture Editor Doug Niven sought out surviving photographers and discovered a treasure trove of images created under the harshest of conditions and preserved for a quarter century against all odds. He discusses the project in this interview with WILL's Tom Rogers.

Book cover for Vietnam Now

Vietnam, Now: A Reporter Returns

Journalist David Lamb reveals a rich and culturally diverse people as they share their memories of the country's past, and their hopes for a peacetime future. A portrait of a beautiful country and a remarkable, determined people, Vietnam, Now is a personal journey that will change the way we think of Vietnam, and perhaps the war as well.

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Our Vietnam: The War 1954-1975

Historian and journalist A. J. Langguth delivers an authoritative account of the Vietnam War based on official documents not available earlier and on new reporting from both the American and Vietnamese perspectives. 

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Travels Along the Edge: 40 Ultimate Adventures for the Modern Nomad

Travel writer David Noland describes in detail forty of the world's most singular and offbeat travel adventures, from paddling by sea kayak around the fjords of Greenland, to an elephant safari through Botswana, to bicycling through post-war Vietnam, detailing tour outfitters, gear, health tips, and more.

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Our War: What We Did in Vietnam and What It Did to Us

David Harris, one of the antiwar movement's greatest heroes, offers a compelling account of stalking the war's moral shadow through the decades since its ignominious end, and issues a call for national reckoning.

Book cover of The War Within

The War Within: America’s Battle over Vietnam

Author and sociologist Tom Wells discusses the influence of the anti-war movement on American policy decisions affecting the Vietnam war, proposing that the movement had a significant impact on restricting, minimizing, or ending the war.

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Busted: A Vietnam Veteran in Nixon’s America

Between March and September of 1974, as Richard Nixon's presidency of the United States unraveled on national television, Bill Ehrhart, a decorated Marine Corps sergeant and anti-war Vietnam veteran fought to retain his merchant seaman's card after being busted for possession of marijuana. He was also held on suspicion of armed robbery in New York City, detained on the Garden State Parkway for looking like a Puerto Rican revolutionary and thrown out of New Jersey by the Maple Shade police. All of this occurred while the House Judiciary Committee conducted hearings on Nixon's impeachment.

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Seeing Vietnam: Encounters of the Road and Heart

Susan Brownmiller, best known for feminist writings (Against Our Will; Femininity), first visited Vietnam in 1992 after travel restrictions for ordinary Americans were lifted. Traveling from Hanoi to the Mekong Delta, Brownmiller praises Vietnam's literacy rates while noting widespread malnourishment and the massive failure of large-scale state enterprises. She notes the continuing differences between north and south and the ecological damage caused by the war, integrating these observations into lengthy discussions of hotels, meals and plumbing, and accounts of people met and sights seen. 

Le Ly Hayslip walking in a Vietnamese field

Reconciliation between the U.S. and Vietnam

Interview with Le Ly Hayslip, director of the East Meets West Foundation, and author of When Heaven and Earth Changed Places: A Vietnamese Woman's Journey from War to Peace (Doubleday, 1989), and Child of War, Woman of Peace (Doubleday, 1993)

Book cover for After the War Was Over

After The War Was Over: Hanoi and Saigon

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Bright Shining Lie revisits the scene of his magisterial account of the war in Vietnam and reveals the country that is just beginning to emerge from the war's ashes.

book cover of MIS or Mythmaking in America

The Politics of POWs in Vietnam

An interview with Bruce Franklin, professor of English and American Studies, Rutgers University, author of MIA or Mythmaking in America. Almost two decades after the Vietnam War, most Americans remain convinced that U.S. prisoners are still being held captive in Southeast Asia, and many even accuse the government of concealing their existence. But as H. Bruce Franklin demonstrates in his startling investigation, there is no plausible basis for the belief in live POWs. 

Book cover for When Heaven and Earth Changed Places

A Vietnamese Woman’s Journey from War to Peace

An interview with Le Ly Hayslip, author of When Heaven and Earth Changed Places.

When Heaven and Earth Changed Places is a 1989 memoir by Le Ly Hayslip about her childhood during the Vietnam War, her escape to the United States, and her return to visit Vietnam 16 years later.

Dick Gregory holding a telephone

Civil Rights: Black World Perspectives

On the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, comedian Dick Gregory says young people have inherited social problems from “old fools” that must now be solved.

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The Conspiracy Seven Trial

On the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, activist John Froines and attorney William Kunstler talk about the infamous “Chicago Seven” case in which several defendants, including Froines, were put on trial for inciting a violent riot during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Dick Gregory holding a telephone

White Supremacy is Dead, by Dick Gregory

Comedian Dick Gregory provides a social commentary on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign about how everyone is inherently racist.

Note: This speech contains potentially offensive language that may not be suitable for listening in work situations, or for those sensitive to racially charged terms.