by Ron Eyerman, Todd Madigan and Magnus Ring
Amsterdam University Press, 2023
eISBN: 978-90-485-5639-7 | Cloth: 978-94-6372-308-4

Vietnam: A War, Not a Country explores the conflicting ways in which the American-Vietnamese War has been collectively remembered and represented from the perspective of the war’s three primary belligerents: the Vietnamese communists, the South Vietnamese, and the Americans. The book examines how the three different collectives memorialize this traumatizing historical event. Within each of these three groups there exists a number of competing narratives, generating not only a sense of shared meaning and community, but also impassioned social conflict. In order to trace these narratives within each collectivity, the authors develop the concept of arenas of memory, distinct discourses that are tied to specific individuals, organizations, and institutions that advocate specific narratives through specific forms of media. Their analysis leads them to make the case as to whether each of these societies experienced a cultural trauma as a result of the way in which the war is remembered.

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