Clinical psychotherapist Ed Tick’s 1997 book, War and the Soul: Healing Our Nation’s Veterans from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is now available on CD from Quest Books. The six-CD set, like the book, is a distillation of the author’s work with Vietnam War and other veterans over the last three decades. In it, Tick uses case studies to illustrate his theory of the importance of how deep-rooted psychological and spiritual issues influence the cause and treatment of PTSD. This is a valuable addition to the literature of war mental trauma and how to come to grips with it.
Posted on December 18th 2008 in Book Talk
Singer/songwriter Robert Alder’s newest country ballad, “Blue Ribbon Ready,” is a tribute to the American men and women who served in the Vietnam War and in the current war in Iraq.
You can listen to the tune, watch a video of Alder (above) performing it, and order a four-song CD or the DVD at the Rusty Bucket Records web site.
Posted on December 18th 2008 in Music
A 30-minute portion of the documentary in process, Ohio Raises Heroes, which honors the 190 Ohioans who perished in the Vietnam War, was shown on in November at the Palace Theater in Lorain, Ohio. You can get a preview on the filmmakers’ My Space page
The documentary’s director, Joseph Carrion, also has made The Talk Of Heroes, a documentary that focuses on the 98 men from Lorain County, Ohio, who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.
Posted on December 18th 2008 in Documentaries
Bruce O. Solheim, an Army veteran and a history professor at Citrus College in California, has taught the history of the war on the collegiate level for fourteen years. His latest book, The Vietnam War Era: A Personal Journey, provides an excellent summary of the history of the war with enlightening sidebars on many people who were involved in it, as well as the personal story of his older brother’s Vietnam War experiences and his two post-Vietnam War Army tours of duty.
Solheim also serves as the Volunteer Veterans Coordinator at Citrus College, where he runs the Boots to Books class, which, he says, is aimed at “engaging and healing” young, returning veterans.
Solheim recently won a battle against that institution’s administration, which was about to drop its Vietnam War and World War II history courses. When word got out about the proposed course cuts, Solheim went into action. He made a strong pitch that both popular courses were important to the school’s Veterans Program, in that they went a long way toward helping returning veterans enrolled in the courses understand their wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they also helped older veterans who take part in the courses by coming in and sharing their oral histories.
Bruce Solheim says he hopes that the victory to keep the Vietnam War and WWII history classes at Citrus College will encourage professors at other colleges and universities who may be facing similar cuts.
Posted on December 18th 2008 in In the Classroom
Graham Greene, the prolific British novelist who wrote The Quiet American, the seminal fictional work dealing with the American misadventure in Vietnam, was also a prolific letter writer. Greene wrote some 2,000 letters or postcards every year, according to the newly published Graham Greene: A Life in Letters (Norton, 446 pp., $35), edited by Richard Greene.
Among them was a 1977 letter in which Graham Greene commented on the pioneering Vietnam War book, Dispatches by former Esquire correspondent Michael Herr. In the letter Greene had something insightful to say about how to write about the horrors of war.
To wit: “I was rather put off by the opening part which seemed to me too excitable, but Herr calmed down a bit later. I think when one is dealing with horrors one should write very coldly. Otherwise it reads like hidden boasting—’just see what a brave chap I am to have voluntarily put myself int he way of such experiences.’”
Posted on December 17th 2008 in Book Talk
Jeffrey A. Wolin, who teaches photography at Indiana University, put together the excellent book,
Inconvenient Stories: Vietnam War Veterans, a couple of years ago. That volume contains his present-day photographic portraits of several dozen Vietnam veterans (including yours truly), along with in-country photos and edited oral histories by the veterans. An exhibit featuring the photos has been on tour throughout the country.
Wolin is now working on the the squeal to Inconvenient Stories, a look at Vietnamese who were involved in the war. He has gone to Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Indianapolis to photograph and interview ARVN veterans, to rural North Carolina to photograph Montagnards, and to Vietnam, where he photographed and interviewed veterans of the American War.
“It was an amazing experience––the people were uniformly warm and welcoming, their stories profoundly moving,” Wolin says on his web site. “I traveled in the company of John Linnemeier, one of the veterans in Inconvenient Stories. Former enemies, the NVA veterans and John would share war stories, show each other their wounds, laugh, cry, hug.”
Wolin has posted a selection of the portraits on his web site, and plans to return to Vietnam for more photos and interviews. The two books, he says, “will provide a comprehensive look at how war affects combatants from all sides and civilians caught in the crossfire. My work aims to heal some of the wounds caused by the war to both American and Vietnamese societies.”
Inconvenient Stories: Vietnam War Veterans was recently published by Umbrage Editions. The exhibition is on tour and will be coming to the Indiana University Art Museum in June.
Posted on December 10th 2008 in Photography
The internationally renowned choreographer Twyla Tharp was one of six recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors on December 7. Tharp and the other awardees—Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of The Who, Barbra Streisand, Morgan Freeman, and George Jones—were honored at a White House reception and at a Kennedy Center gala for their distinguished careers and contributions to the arts.
Tharp has choreographed more than 135 dances, five Hollywood movies, directed and choreographed three Broadway shows, and written two books since graduating from college in 1963. One of the Broadway shows was Movin’ Out, the Vietnam War-themed production done to the tune of 23 Billy Joel songs. VVA honored Tharp for that outstanding show with our President’s Award for Excellence in the Arts at the National Leadership Conference in in 2004 in Nashville.
Tharp gave a great acceptance speech in Nashville, and since then has been very supportive of VVA and Vietnam veterans. On her web site she lists the honors and awards she has received over the long career, and includes the VVA award among them. To wit: one Tony Award, two Emmy Awards, nineteen honorary doctorates, the Vietnam Veterans of America President’s Award, the 2004 National Medal of the Arts, the Jerome Robbins Prize, The Kennedy Center Honors and many grants including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship.
Posted on December 10th 2008 in Dance