No war in history has stirred up as much controversy as the Vietnam War. A war that lasted 10 years and ended in American defeat. A war commanded by three presidents. A war that enlisted 25% of its soldiers through the draft. It was a tactical nightmare of jungle warfare unlike any America had ever faced. These books will give you a front row seat to what went down in Vietnam.
Cracker! The Best Dog in Vietnam by Cynthia Kadohata
Willie is heartbroken when his parents send his dog, Cracker, to a military dog training camp. At first she is difficult to work with, but when new recruit, Rick, takes over, she finally responds to training and is shipped to Vietnam to detect mine trip wires. Excellent portrayal of military life and combat in the Vietnam War.
On Blood Road by Steve Watkins
When Taylor’s mom decides to visit his dad in Vietnam, during the Vietnamese New Year, Taylor is captured by the North Vietnamese Army and led up the Ho Chi Minh trail by a female solider named Phuong. They develop an amicable relationship amidst the chaos. Taylor sees things he never could have imagined. He will survive, but not without physical and mental scars.
Lost at Khe Sanh (Ghosts of War #2) by Steve Watkins
Anderson, Greg, and Julie have another war ghost on their hands when Anderson finds a dud grenade with the inscription “Z & Fish/DMZ 68” in his uncle’s stash of military possessions. The group uses the clue on the grenade to uncover the identity and story of their ghost, including his demise in the Vietnam War.
Emergency Ops (Bloodlines) by M. Zachary Sherman
Captain Donavan is an army nurse in Vietnam. She tends to the wounded, barely coping with the senselessness of the war as men die around her. Then a major gives her a pep talk that helps her reel in her emotions so she can be brave for the men. Short book with some detail about the siege known as Hamburger Hill.
I Pledge Allegiance (Vietnam #1) by Chris Lynch
Morris, Rudi, Ivan and Beck are best friends in 1960s Boston. They make a pledge that if any of them are drafted to serve in Vietnam, they will all go. When Rudi gets drafted, they stand by their pledge. The story follows Morris as he serves on a ship in the Tonkin Gulf then moves into the thick of combat on his flat, metal-hulled river boat, outfitted with napalm flame throwers.
The Journal of Patrick Seamus Flaherty by Ellen Emerson White
Patrick Flaherty is fresh out of high school when he decides to enlist in the Marines. His squadron in Vietnam is tasked with defending one of the hills surrounding the Khe Sanh military base which is under siege by the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army. In their attempt to kill a well-hidden enemy, they suffer many casualties.
Strays (Dog Tags #2) by C. Alexander London
Chuck and his dog Ajax are partners in Vietnam. Ajax is trained to sniff out enemy death traps. When Chuck’s tour is up, he learns that Ajax, like most war dogs, will be put down. Chuck and three of his buddies leave their post without permission, risking enemy attack, to get Ajax to a dog sanctuary. Shows the incredible bond that can form between humans and dogs.
Unconventional Warfare (Special Forces #1) by Chris Lynch
Danny has anger management issues. When he steals and crashes a motorcycle, the judge sentences him to military service in Vietnam. He becomes an elite Army Ranger with a recon unit tasked with stopping North Vietnam’s supply route along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg
Matt is a Vietnam orphan, shoved onto a helicopter by his mother after South Vietnam falls to the North. His adoptive American family love him and teach him to play baseball. He earns a spot on the team, but must put up with being called frog face and told he caused Americans to die. Eventually he begins to speak up and ask questions so he can heal.