Two of the winners of this year’s prestigious National Book Critics Circle Awards—Robert Caro and Ben Fountain—are the authors of books that touch on the Vietnam War. Caro’s The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, which took the best biography award, is the fourth massive volume of Caro’s award-winning bio of LBJ. The book ends with Johnson taking over as President in November of 1963 and making his first momentous decisions about the Vietnam War.
Fountain’s novel, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, which won the NBCC prize for fiction, is a brilliant look at a squad of Iraq War veterans back home in the U.S. A. It contains many flashbacks to that war and a few pointed references to the war in Vietnam and veterans of that war.
Posted on March 20th 2013 in Book News
William Cummings, a Professor of Humanities and Cultural Studies at the University of South Florida, has just created what he calls a “digital and public history project” dealing with the highly regarded 1978 Vietnam War film, Go Tell the Spartans.
“I am inviting readers to join in an online discussion of this film’s history of the Vietnam War,” Cummings told us. To do so, go to the project’s Subjecting History web page. When you do, you’ll find a detailed deconstruction of the film, along with space for you to make comments.
Cummings explains that Subjecting History is an on-line “collaboration between professional scholars and the public to explore the way that we individually and collectively interpret events from the past. ” The purpose, he says, “is to explore how we can build a more democratic process for understanding the past and its role in society today. Ultimately, the contributors will reflect on the contributions made by commenters, and the project will be published by Ohio University Press.”
All commenters, Cummings notes, “understand that their comments may be printed in the physical version of this text.” To cut back on spam, all commenters must enter a name and email address. “The Editors will not share email addresses with any source,” Cummings says, “nor will they make email addresses publicly available.”
Posted on March 14th 2013 in Arts on the Web, Feature Films
Lisa Lark, the author of All They Left Behind: Legacies of the Men and Women on The Wall, a tribute to sixty-one American servicemen and women who died in the Vietnam War that she put together in conjunction with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, is at work on a second book. “This project, scheduled for release in late 2014, will be a photographic history of the Vietnam War as told through the words and photographs of the men and women who served there,” Lark says.
The project will require some 500 photographs, and Lark is looking for veterans who have photos from their time in the military, “whether in training, on leave, or in Vietnam,” and who would be willing to donate them for use in the book.
“I will consider every photograph sent in, and will use as many as I can in this project,” she says. “There are certain visual specifications that must be met, and certain guidelines that we have to follow. Sending in a photo does not guarantee that it will be used in the project.”
For more info, email: email@example.com
A new monument (above) honoring all of those service personnel who have given their lives or have been wounded in action will be dedicated on March 8 at the front entrance of the Warrior Hope and Care Center on the Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, in North Carolina. The organization Hope for The Warriors commissioned the creation of the monument.
The monument is the work of the acclaimed artist and sculptor John Phelps, a Vietnam veteran who received VVA’s Excellence in the Arts Award at the 2009 National Convention in Louisville. Phelps, whose son Chance was killed in action in Iraq in 2004, based the work on a photograph of two Marines, Chris Marquez and Dane Shaffer, carrying fellow Marine Bradley Kasal to safety in Iraq.
“I am honored to work with Hope For The Warriors in creating this monument,” Phelps said. “I express myself through my art and this monument is a labor of love for me. Love for not just my son but for my growing Marine Corps family.”
For more info, and to find out how to purchase bronze or resin miniature replicas of the sculpture, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org Proceeds from replica sales will support programs at the Warrior Hope and Care Center.
Posted on March 4th 2013 in Art, Memorials
Air Force Vietnam veteran—and accomplished photographer—Ted Engelmann has a new photo exhibit, titled “Soldier’s Heart,” set to open on Friday, March 1, at Anthology Fine Art in Denver.
In this new exhibit, Engelmann combines photographs from the war in Vietnam in 1968-69 when he served there, as well as images he has captured traveling throughout Vietnam in the past 24 years (above), and photos of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan he took as an embed free-lance photographer.
“These original photographs explore the emotional wounds of war on soldiers and others,” Engelmann says, “an important topic in today’s world of conflict, trauma, along with the high rate of suicides among American soldiers and veterans.”
The exhibit kicks off with a reception from 6:00-9:00 on March 1. On Friday, March 15, Engelmann will give a slide presentation abut the project beginning at 7:00 p.m. It’s free, and open to the public.
Posted on February 27th 2013 in Photography
For a book entitled Of Hearts and Minds; Body and Soul: America’s Disabled Combat Veterans: Forgotten Heroes of Vietnam, co-authors (and Vietnam veterans) John Brittain and Rick Bell would like hear from former service members who fit the title and subtitle who are willing to tell their life stories.
“The Vietnam veteran is getting older and has been, over the years, the recipient of indifference and sometimes disrespect for his involvement in the war,” Brittain says. “Most Americans today when they hear of disabled veterans do not think to include our disabled Vietnam veterans. Society today has more respect for their current armed forces than during the Vietnam era and present day society probably better understands how important our armed forces are [today].”
For more info, contact Brittain at email@example.com or 360-387-0792, or Bell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-653-7420
Posted on February 27th 2013 in Artistic Queries, Book News
All military personnel, veterans, and their families are invited to submit their poetry, essays, short fiction, photography, and interviews to be considered for the second volume of Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, an anthology that will be published by the Missouri Humanities Council, the Warrior Arts Alliance, and Southeast Missouri State University Press.
The deadline for submissions in those five categories is July 1. There are two types of entries, for the anthology alone and one for the anthology’s contest, plus the anthology. All work must be previously unpublished. Send the work for the anthology only in a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Warriors Anthology Southeast Missouri State University Press, MS 2650, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
If you’d like your entry to be considered for the anthology’s contest (with a $250 first prize in each category), as well as the anthology itself, email it to email@example.com
For contest submissions, the rules are:
- Entries must be sent electronically as Microsoft Word docs (or docx).
- Keep poems in one document (with 1st poem as title).
- Put your name and contact info on 1st page and nowhere else on the manuscript.
For both mailed and electronic submissions:
- Limit one submission in each category per person.
- Poetry: up to 3 poems (5 pages maximum).
- Fiction, essay, interview: 5,000-word limit. Interviews are with military or veterans.
- Photography: up to 3 good-quality photos (will be printed in the book as b&w).
- Submissions exceeding the limits will be disqualified.
- Include a bio of 75 words or less with your submission.
- Winners & contributors will be notified by Nov. 1, 2013
- Questions: contact the University Press at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gian Verderame, a student at Richard Stockton College in Pomona, New Jersey, is working on a thesis titled “The Vietnam Film: How Hollywood Shapes Our Perception of the Vietnam War. ”
“The films that I will be analyzing are Coming Home, The Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now, Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, and Born on the Fourth of July,” he told us. ”I’m trying to find primary sources on the subject and what is not a better way to go than to ask Vietnam vets.”
If you have any thoughts on these films and would like be share them for this academic paper, send an email to email@example.com
And please mention you read about it on The VVA Veteran’s Arts of War on the web page.
Posted on February 15th 2013 in Artistic Queries, Feature Films
Jack Murphy, a Vietnam veteran who served with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade in 1969-70, also is a singer songwriter. His latest tune, “The Promise,” has been getting a lot of attention. He wrote it, Murphy told us, “as my way of giving something back to those that gave so much in the Vietnam War.”
You can listen to the song on You Tube.
Posted on February 13th 2013 in Music
Lawrence “Butch” Morris, the acclaimed, pioneering jazz composer and conductor who served a tour of duty in the Vietnam War, died January 29 at the Fort Hamilton, N.Y., VA Medical Center. He was 65 and had lung cancer.
“Mr. Morris referred to his method as ‘ conduction,‘ short for ‘conducted improvisation,’” his New York Times obituary said. “He defined the word, which he trademarked, as ‘an improvised duet for ensemble and conductor.’”
“I wanted to hear 25 people play like a jazz trio,” Morris said in a 2008 interview with Farai Chideya of NPR’s News and Notes. “I wanted it to have that kind of combustion and spontaneity and momentum and ignition, and I started thinking about conducting.”
Morris was born in Long Beach, California, and grew up in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. He began playing trumpet in high school. He served as an Army medic in German, Vietnam, and Japan, beginning in 1966. He began his musical career in earnest back home in Los Angeles, paying cornet in Horace Tapscott’s jazz band. Morris studied music at Grove Street College in Oakland, California, and later played and taught music in France and Holland. He moved to New York in 1981.
Posted on January 30th 2013 in Music, Obituaries