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They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace…
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They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace Vietnam and America October 1967 (original 2003; edition 2004)

by David Maraniss (Author)

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482933,493 (4.12)7
Here is the epic story of Vietnam and the sixties told through the events of a few tumultuous days in October 1967. With meticulous and captivating detail, They Marched Into Sunlight brings that catastrophic time back to life while examining questions about the meaning of dissent and the official manipulation of truth -- issues that are as relevant today as they were decades ago.… (more)
Member:mfigroid
Title:They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace Vietnam and America October 1967
Authors:David Maraniss (Author)
Info:Simon & Schuster (2004), 572 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Read in 2018, History

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They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace Vietnam and America October 1967 by David Maraniss (2003)

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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
I did not want to read this book, chosen by my book club, but I am very glad I did. Maraniss shines a steady light on the Vietnam war and its consequences (for Americans, mostly). He drew me into the moment of his story and that led to me reflecting on my experience of the Sixties. A truly excellent book! ( )
  nmele | Jul 14, 2016 |
Getting to know the members of the Black Lion army battalion makes the battle scene in which 61 of them died even more harrowing making the statement of one member ("The whole damn war is run by the book and Charlie can't read English so he gets all the breaks and we usually get killed) even more fitting. The second half of the book chronicles the riot against Dow Chemical at the University of Wisconsin Madison and the impact it had on the faculty student relationship. Vivid reminders of why war is not good for anyone. ( )
  lindap69 | Apr 5, 2013 |
I have a pretty close connection to this book's subject matter -- my father was stationed in Vietnam at the same place where the action in the book takes place, and I attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. That's what initially drew me to the book, but the clear and yet descriptive writing style, coupled with the interesting subject matter, kept me reading. I normally don't have a lot of patience for nonfiction, and this book definitely isn't short. It took me quite awhile to finish it, but it's totally worth it. ( )
  mwtemple | Nov 24, 2010 |
(posted on my blog: davenichols.net)

Few eras in US history contain the dichotomic events which were widespread during the late 1960s. In David Maraniss's book The Marched Into Sunlight, a fascinating narrative presents parallel stories of US Army soldiers being killed in the devastating abush at Ong Thanh, Vietnam, and the violence which exploded out of a student protest of napalm-manufacturer Dow Chemical Company on the campus of Wisconsin-Madison. These events, which took place over the course of just two days, provide a fascinating dual myopic capable of framing the chaos and distress so often felt by those who lived it. Maraniss's treatment of these events is humane, vivid, and completely engaging from the very beginning.

One of the parallel stories involves a battalion of US 1st Army soldiers, most of whom are draftees or draft-pressured enlistees who are entering the Vietnamese theater for the first time. A handful of experienced NCOs and a couple of capable leaders are all that stand between these men and crippling terror at times, though as events would later show, many of these same soldiers would demonstrate extraordinary courage and resolve in the face of tremendous fear, screams of dying friends, and sheets of hot lead.

The key battle for most of these men, and the only one covered in detail in Sunlight, was the ambush near the Ong Thanh river, where a full regiment of NVA troops decimated two and a half undersized companies of 1st Army soldiers. Maraniss's description of the battle makes the reader claustrophobic and anguished as the reality of the situation becomes clear. One of the most heart-breaking descriptions of military defeat I've read, the pain and horror of the experience conveys as well as any writing possibly can.

The other parallel story being told here involves student protesters during an especially-heated day in Madison, Wisconsin. Taking place the day after the ambush at Ong Thanh, the protest against the Dow Chemical Company started with aggressive protest leaders attempting to walk a fine line between peaceful hindrance and agitated confrontation. After a few terrible tactical decisions by campus leaders and city police officers, violence breaks out as police attempt to remove protesters from a building. As billy clubs pound the students, the violent situation explodes, with dozens of students and police injured and severe consequences resulting from the day's events.

Peppered with glimpses into LBJ's White House and top Army brass, Maraniss weaves a narrative which will suck in any reader interested in military history, social history, or the 1960s. Fascinating and in-depth portrayals of many people involved in each event await the reader, and the result is a book which is unique, haunting, and highly-recommended to all. One of the best narratives of war and history I've read this year. Five stars. ( )
  IslandDave | Dec 2, 2009 |
Pulitzer Prize winner and bestselling author Maraniss (When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi) intertwines two compelling narratives to capture the Vietnam War at home and on the battlefield as well as, if not better than, any book yet written. The first narrative follows the soldiers of the army battalion the Black Lions, 61 of whom died in an ambush by North Vietnamese on October 17, 1967. The battle scene description is devastating, brilliantly compiled with painstakingly recreated details of the four-and-a-half-hour battle, unflinchingly drawn pictures of the damage modern ordinance inflicts and an equally unflinching record of the physical and psychological residue of battle. The second narrative centers on the October 18, 1967, riot at the University of Wisconsin at Madison when student protesters tried to stop Dow Chemical, the maker of napalm, from recruiting on campus. Here Maraniss, a Madison native and a freshman at the university at the time, successfully depicts the complicated range of motives that led students to participate in the protest: many began the day as curious observers, and the riot radicalized them against the war. The author also re-creates the sense of loss, confusion and anger of the university administrators as they were overtaken by events that would change the fundamental relationships between students and faculty. The two narratives together provide a fierce, vivid diptych of America bisected by a tragic war: a moving remembrance for those who lived through it and an illuminating lesson for a new generation trying to understand what it was all about.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. (Publishers Weekly)
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1 vote | CollegeReading | Jun 23, 2008 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Maranissprimary authorall editionscalculated
Thorp, GeneMap Designersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sasahara, Ellen R.Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Some say that we shall never know and that to the Gods are like flies that the boys kill on a summer day, and some say, on the contrary, that the very sparrows do not lose a feather that has not been brushed away by the finger of God.

-- Thorton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey
Whatever may be the limitations which trammel inquiry elsewhere, we believe that the great state University of Wisconsin should ever encourage that continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth can be found.

--Wisconsin Board of Regents, 1894
Into sunlight the marched,
into dog day, into no saints day,
and were cut down.
They marched without knowing
how the air would be sucked from their lungs,
how their lungs would collapse,
how the world would twist itself, would
bend into the cruel angles.

Into the black understanding they marched
until the angels came
calling their names,
until they rose, one by one from the blood.
The light blasted down on them.
The bullets sliced through the razor grass
so there was not even time to speak.
The words would not let themselves be spoken.
Some of them died.
Some of them were not allowed to.

--Bruce Weigl, "Elegy"
Dedication
To Elliott and Mary Maraniss, my parents
First words
The soldiers reported one by one and in loose bunches, straggling into Fort Lewis from late April to the end of May 1967, all carrying orders to join a unit called C Packet.
Quotations
"This whole damn war is run by the book and Charlie can't read English so he gets all the breaks and we usually get killed." --Mike Troyer (p. 146)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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