A War Tour of Vietnam by Erin R. McCoy

Erin McCoy’s A War Tour of Vietnam: Cultural History (McFarland, 206 pp., $35, paper; $16.49, Kindle) covers the years 1940-75 in a mere 190 pages of text. McCoy’s ambitious goal of exploring the “culture, history and popular music in the countries most affected by the Vietnam War, i.e. North and South Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Australia and of course, the United States,” though, falls a bit short.

McCoy devotes a chapter to each of these years, but the popular music she writes about in all the chapters is all American. Plus, her music reviews and references are sometimes somewhat oblique.

While McCoy touches on many cultural topics, she occasionally goes off on tangents. Nearly half of the chapter about the year 1969, for example, deals with the music of that year, and, for some reason, we also get details about a trip she took to Puerto Rico. That and other recitations of day-to-day, personal activities subtracted from the book.

That said, McCoy does bring interesting facts and observations to the page. And the book reads well, and would be valuable to casual readers who are not part of the Vietnam War generation.

–Tom Werzyn

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