Fiction and Memoirs, Vietnam - Research Article from Americans at War

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Coming-Of-Age Memoirs

Some of the best novelists of the war, such as Philip Caputo and Tim O'Brien, first wrote memoirs of their actual experiences before turning to novels. The two genres share narrative techniques and thematic concerns, most strikingly the coming-of-age motif, with the young soldier typically advancing from idealism and naïveté to disillusionment and skepticism regarding those political and military figures who controlled the prosecution of the war and the fate of its combatants. Among these coming-of-age memoirs are O'Brien's If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home (1969), Caputo's A Rumor of War (1977), Ronald Glasser's 365 Days (1971), and Ron Kovic's Born on the Fourth of July (1976). Kovic's memoir became the basis for a popular film in 1989 directed by Oliver Stone. Michael Herr's Dispatches (1978), something of a hybrid—part memoir, part reportage—is a...

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This section contains 1,249 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Fiction and Memoirs, Vietnam Encyclopedia Article
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Americans at War
Fiction and Memoirs, Vietnam from Americans at War. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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