Nothing Ever Dies

Nothing Ever Dies

Vietnam and the Memory of War

Book - 2016
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"All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory. Exploring how this troubled memory works in Vietnam, the United States, Laos, Cambodia, and South Korea, the book deals specifically with the Vietnam War and also war in general. He reveals how war is a part of our identity, as individuals and as citizens of nations armed to the teeth. Venturing through literature, film, monuments, memorials, museums, and landscapes of the Vietnam War, he argues that an alternative to nationalism and war exists in art, created by artists who adhere to no nation but the imagination."--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Cambridge, Massachusetts : Harvard University Press, 2016.
ISBN: 9780674660342
Characteristics: 374 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
Alternative Title: Vietnam and the memory of war

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drtucson
Jul 01, 2019

I'd recommend this book for his writing about the US conflict with Vietnam, and also about the bigger idea of wars and conflict and why they continue. Few titles address the complicity of the general population with the ability of governments to wage wars. His analysis cuts across wider culture so we see where and how wars are validated. A historical perspective alone is not enough for us to begin to question the legitimacy of our constant wars.
It is not easily accessible. The language is difficult, it is academic and dry. His passion is obvious, but the writing is very dense. More often than not you need to read a sentence two or three times. Reading the book through a second time was much easier, perhaps because a sense of his style was familiar.

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lukasevansherman
Jun 08, 2018

"All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory."
Viet Thahn Nguyen is known for his terrific Vietnam novel, "The Sympathizer" and his book of short stories "The Refugees." This non-fiction book is subtitled "Vietnam and the Memory of War" and in it Nguyen, who is Vietnamese, but was raised in the United States by parents who fled after the fall of Saigon, explores how both Americans and Vietnamese have represented the war in history, culture, and art. To me, Nguyen's small canon serves an enormously important service, namely to give a perspective that has too often been absent from the narrative. As I've been reading his work, I was struck by how almost all I knew about the Vietnam War (Is any country so instantly identifiable with a war as Vietnam?) was from American writers, filmmakers, and historians. We think of it as our tragedy, not that of an independent country who lost millions of people in an unnecessary and immortal conflict. I think Nguyen has already emerged as one of the most essential writers of our time.

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