Friday, October 16, 2009

The Vietnam War Graphic Novel

THE VIETNAM WAR, A Graphic History, Dwight Jon Zimmerman and Wayne Vansant, Hill and Wang, $19.95, 148 pages, ISBN: 9780809094950, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

As with all of the books that have been written about Vietnam, the feeling the reader gets along with the information they uncover is based on the opinion of the writers of the book. Every writer seems to have their own agenda; be it political, historical, or trying to rewrite a new version of history.

Dwight Jon Zimmerman has written on the topic before and has used fact to back up his story. Wayne Vansant drew the Marvel Comic THE ‘NAM for most of its run and did a terrific amount of research to make it as realistic as possible. I know this because Wayne had access to my photos and my experiences while serving there in 1969-70. I’m mentioned in the acknowledgments and am deeply honored.

Wayne tells the story without becoming too graphic and shows the story from both sides of the war and from both sides of the struggle that was going on in the United States as well.

Zimmerman uses quotes from the people who were involved and fills in with details in footnotes at the bottom of the page so that you won’t have to flip around to get your questions answered.

Some people might call this a labor of love; it might be that but to me it is a labor in trying to help the reader understand the motives and policies behind the action. It is said that hindsight is 20/20, but I don’t think there will ever be a clear picture of this turbulent time.

This is a definite “must have” for those who want to know more about THE VIETNAM WAR and for those who love graphic novels. It is a story that had to be told. My only hope is that it brings the reader more understanding.

I don’t usually quote from books, but this is an exception and something that bears mention.

“The Vietnam War officially began on March8, 1965, when the U.S. Third Marine Regiment, Third Marine Division landed at Da Nang, South Vietnam.

The shooting officially stopped on January 27, 1973, with the signing of the Paris Peace Accords.

But the war truly ended only for 58,249 men and women. They are the ones whose names are etched in the polished black granite panels of the The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, known simply as the Wall. For the rest of America, the Vietnam War remained an open wound for decades. For some, it still has not healed.” (Italics Mine)

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