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Rolling Thunder in a Gentle Land: The Vietnam War Revisited Review by Heidi Strawser

EditedEdited by Andrew Wiest
Osprey Publishing
443 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016

Rolling Thunder in a Gentle Land is a 336-page, hardcover book made up of 15 essays by leading historians. It talks about what led up to the Vietnam War, some actual battles and war scenarios, the end of the war (the final evacuation of Saigon), and the lasting effects on the world today. The contributing authors are as varied as their essay topics and include a Vietnamese lady who was coming of age during the war, U.S. journalists who reported from the frontlines, and members of both the North and South Vietnamese armies. This book also contains many photographs (both color and black and white), maps, and diagrams to complement and enhance the essays.

I have two adopted children from Vietnam. Having spent time in the country, I have come to love it. I am interested in the history of Vietnam and my children's heritage. Because of that, I find this book very interesting. It is not light reading, however. Some of the essays were probably a bit over my head; others were extremely intense. The Vietnam War was not a pretty thing. I would recommend this book for anyone of high school age and beyond who is interested in studying the Vietnam War and wants a thorough representation of it from all sides, as opposed to the simple information you can gain from an encyclopedia or an Internet search.

One thing I have learned from spending time in Vietnam is that the Vietnamese people have a very different view of the war than we Americans do. We have been given a very shaded and one-sided view. Because it is written by such a variety of people, this book covers all aspects of the war and opinions from both sides and beyond. I think that's important, and it is what sets this book apart from others of its kind.

Rolling Thunder in a Gentle Land will become a keepsake in my home and will eventually be passed down to my children.

Product review by Heidi Strawser, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February 2007