John A. Wood

John Wood earned a PhD in history from Temple University and lives in Westport, Massachusetts.

Listed in: Military History · American Studies · American History · Memoir

In the decades since the Vietnam War, veteran memoirs have influenced Americans’ understanding of the conflict. Yet few historians or literary scholars have scrutinized how the genre has shaped the nation’s collective memory of the war and its aftermath.

“One reason that the Vietnam veteran has become the moral vector of the war is the perception that they were often ignored, abused, hated and marginalized by the US establishment and anti-war activists. Wood places this within a longer narrative of US homecomings and, while recognizing the damaging legacies of the war, questions the apparent uniqueness of the difficulties that Vietnam veterans faced returning to civilian life.…This important study is not a disinterested reflection on how the most prominent memoirs are expressions of raced, classed and gendered subjects rather than ‘the truth’ of Vietnam. Wood does not suggest that these narratives have nothing to tell us about war. That story is darker than the most bleak memoirs.”

History Today