The book in focus of this Essay is “Grunts: The American Combat Soldier in Vietnam” by Snell Family Dean’S Distinguished Professor. His s also a professor of history at Arizona University. Prof. Longley obtained his B.A., degree at Angelo State University in the year 1987. He obtained his Master of arts degree in 1989 at Texas Technical University. His PHD. Degree was obtained at in 1993 at Kentucky State University. The author’s field of interests is very wide and includes historical and religious studies, philosophy, political studies and global studies. Kyle Longley is the author of a number of books, articles and other publications. Among such it is worthwhile mentioning “The Sparrow and the Hawk: Costa Rica and the United States during the Rise of José Figueres”,” In the Eagle’s Shadow: The United States and Latin America” and the “Encyclopedia of United States-Latin American Relations”, of which he was one of the editors. These books are particularly important to be mentioned, as they are closely related to the topic of the book in focus of this book. They all focus on the subject, which also lies in the focus of his teaching practice. It is foreign relations of the United States.
The book covers the period of the Vietnam War. The author closely focuses on the experience American soldiers had in Vietnam, discusses the influence which this experience had on their lives. In this respect it may be stated, that the events of the book cover not only the actual period of the war, but also modern time, the effect of the Vietnam War on the American society.
In his book the author makes an attempt to show, how the soldiers, who participated in Vietnam War entered the phase of disappointment after the enthusiasm they felt when recruited. The author is also showing that the war did not change things for the better for the United States of America. The result of the war was having different citizens, the ones, who could have been psychologically normal, those, who were trying to reintegrate back into the society, instead of properly living and functioning within it.
The author goes on to describe the experience of the soldiers who took part in the war from the time of recruiting, when they were inspired and driven with the bright idea to stand up for their motherland, through the war experience, when they faced the problems to which they were unprepared. In their waist majority that is, at least. The author then comes to describe the hard effort of post-war citizens, citizens, into whom yesterday’s soldiers turned into, the citizens, willing to become a part of the society again, but oftentimes unable to do so.
Particular attention is paid to the women, who served at this war. The role played in he society by women is, probably, much more important than such of men. Thus the influence the war had on women turned out to be even more severe. Meanwhile, these were the women, who were responsible for their families, and thus even more significantly influenced the society.
Prof. Longley particularly discusses the relations between the soldiers both during and after the war. Their brotherhood and union while they were fighting and their lives oftentimes heavily depended on one another. He also goes on to discuss what this brotherhood turned into after the war. The union remained, it would seem, but it turned into a union of not quite free people, people having little in common, but in some respect opposing the rest of the world, just as they used to oppose their enemy at war. The only difference was that in the time of peace they appeared not to have any instruments at hand to support them in their opposition.
In general the book is very interesting, providing a fresh glance at the experience of people, who were behind the global political events we all know about. It fails to provide much information or explanations, but rather reflects the feelings of a soldier.
- Longley, Kyle. Grunts: The American Combat Soldier in Vietnam, Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2008.