On Ken Burns’ Vietnam War Documentary

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s epic series on the Vietnam War recently aired on PBS. It was a timely release. The years 2017 through 2019 will mark the 50th anniversary of the high point of the Vietnam conflict.

Some historians have already offered strong criticism of the Burn and Novick series, noting how it has made a complicated event in American history too simple. Other historians also criticized the series for its lack of depth, an issue that left many viewers wanting to know more about a large number of events. To a general audience, however, one that has little knowledge about the war and its historical context, the series served a good purpose, bringing forth new conversations and questions about the war.

For an in-depth understanding of different aspects of the war, there are a number of books that focus on individuals and small groups. These books bring forth a much stronger sense of the personal cost of the war for the men who served and for their families, friends, and communities who gave up their sons, husbands, brothers, and friends for at least a year, and in some instances, forever.

Here are just a few of our favorite books about the war: