The imaginative literature of the Vietnam War participates-both overtly and covertly-in a struggle for national memory. First-generation Vietnam War literature, focusing on representations of combat and life in the battlefield, strove to give testimony, to write history. Later writings, in their range of genre and style, investigate and interrogate the very meaning of war. To reflect these two stages, Philip Jason divides his newest book of literary criticism into two sections: 'acts' and 'shadows.' In 'Acts,' Jason provides formal and cultural readings of combat narratives-by such authors as James Webb, Larry Heinemann, and Joe Haldeman-and explores the meaning of 'authenticity' as applied to Vietnam War texts. 'Shadows' looks both forward and backward from the combat zone, challenging the parameters of what we define as 'Vietnam War literature.'
Philip K. Jason is professor of English at the United States Naval Academy. He is the author or editor of numerous critical works on American literature and of three collections of poetry.
Chapter 1 Introduction Part 2 Acts Chapter 3 Vision and Tradition Chapter 4 Sexism and Racism in Vietnam War Fiction Chapter 5 Joe Haldeman and the Wounds of War Chapter 6 Vietman As Noise Part 7 Shadows Chapter 8 Vietnamese in America Chapter 9 Hard-Boiled Nam I: The Vietnam War in Detective Fiction Chapter 10 Hard-Boiled Nam II: James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux Chapter 11 Vietnam War Themes in Korean War Literature Chapter 12 Going Back to Go Forward Part 13 Coda: Teaching War Literature Chapter 14 Teaching the Literature of War or Teaching the War through Literature Chapter 15 Representations of War in Ethics Education