Working-Class War

American Combat Soldiers and Vietnam

By Christian G. Appy

378 pp., 6.125 x 9.25

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4391-8
    Published: February 1993
  • eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-6011-3
    Published: November 2000

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"No one can understand the complete tragedy of the American experience in Vietnam without reading this book. Nothing so underscores the ambivalence and confusion of the American commitment as does the composition of our fighting forces. The rich and the powerful may have supported the war initially, but they contributed little of themselves. That responsibility fell to the poor and the working class of America."--Senator George McGovern

"Reminds us of the disturbing truth that some 80 percent of the 2.5 million enlisted men who served in Vietnam--out of 27 million men who reached draft age during the war--came from working-class and impoverished backgrounds. . . . Deals especially well with the apparent paradox that the working-class soldiers' families back home mainly opposed the antiwar movement, and for that matter so with few exceptions did the soldiers themselves."--New York Times Book Review

"[Appy's] treatment of the subject makes it clear to his readers--almost as clear as it became for the soldiers in Vietnam--that class remains the tragic dividing wall between Americans."--Boston Globe

About the Author

Christian G. Appy is professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is author of Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered from All Sides.
For more information about Christian G. Appy, visit the Author Page.

Reviews

"No one can understand the complete tragedy of the American experience in Vietnam without reading this book. Nothing so underscores the ambivalence and confusion of the American commitment as does the composition of our fighting forces. The rich and the powerful may have supported the war initially, but they contributed little of themselves. That responsibility fell to the poor and the working class of America."--Senator George McGovern

"Reminds us of the disturbing truth that some 80 percent of the 2.5 million enlisted men who served in Vietnam--out of 27 million men who reached draft age during the war--came from working-class and impoverished backgrounds. . . . Deals especially well with the apparent paradox that the working-class soldiers' families back home mainly opposed the antiwar movement, and for that matter so with few exceptions did the soldiers themselves."--New York Times Book Review

"[Appy's] treatment of the subject makes it clear to his readers--almost as clear as it became for the soldiers in Vietnam--that class remains the tragic dividing wall between Americans."--Boston Globe

"Definitive and engrossing."--Commonweal

"Appy has listened carefully to hundreds of American veterans of the Vietnam War and understands their thoughts and emotions. Like Studs Terkel's accounts of the wisdom of ordinary people, Working-Class War is gripping, thorough, and compelling."--Walter H. Capps, author of The Unfinished War: Vietnam and the American Conscience

"Appy builds up a brilliant case by carefully dissecting the social/class/race origins of the men who fought in Vietnam. There really is no other study that accomplishes what Appy has done."--Lloyd C. Gardner, author of Approaching Vietnam: From World War II Through Dienbienphu, 1941-1954