Vietnam Policy For Kids

Vietnam coverLet’s Visit Vietnam

And we are back with another country book from olden times. This is less about the country and people of Vietnam and more about US involvement and the fight against communism. I practically expected Lyndon Johnson to pop out from the pages and tell me to get with the program.  I especially cringed at the reference to the “yellow branch of the human family.” Even by the time Saigon fell in 1975, this book would have been woefully inadequate and should have been weeded by then.


Why is Vietnam important?

Vietnamese came from China

Vietnamese refugees

American soldiers help refugees


  1. If this isn’t extremely useful to a highschool senior with a history essay to write on the Vietnam War then something is badly wrong with how you teach history in the USA. This is what serious historians call a primary source, being written by someone who was there at the time; that’s incredibly valuable for a picture of contemporary attitudes and values, which you need for a proper essay of the sort where you form an opinion and defend it with various sources, which I might add is what English kids were expected to do from ninth grade onwards in history classes when I was still at school.

    1. I’d have to disagree Jake. This is only a primary source if the student is writing about children’s education in the 1960s. This is a secondary source, and an outdated one. It would be great in a college class about the history of education, or historiography. If a high school senior is looking for a primary source for a history paper about Vietnam they should be looking at old newspapers, or interviewing their grandparents. Not reading outdated political science picture books.

      1. Excellent point, M. I would also argue that it would be a good primary source (for a university/grad thesis, that is) for general attitudes towards Vietnam and the war during that very specific time period, as it appears to have been used widely throughout the US for schoolchildren. It shows how desperate the powers-that-be were to have everyone on board, given that parents would be helping their children with any related schoolwork using a book like this.

        In fact, it makes me want to find books that I was exposed to when I was of a comparable age during the first gulf war. (Granted, that was a vastly shorter conflict, so a whole book might be harder to find.)

    2. Elementary and/or high school libraries/media centers are not the place for primary sources. There is not the room on the shelves nor the staffing to be able to place these things in context. University library, yes. Special library, yes. Even a major metropolitan public library in the reference section, absolutely. 50-year-old racist government propaganda should absolutely be kept as a historical piece, just not on the children’s shelves next to, say, the 2002 book “Huy & Vinh’s day: from dawn to dusk in a Vietnamese city” as though they were equally relevant to life in Vietnam now.

      1. I disagree about having primary sources in elementary and high school libraries. If a student isn’t taught what a primary source is, how are they going to learn without access to them? The material should be properly vetted, of course, but even high school students should have access to primary source materials.

      2. As a high school librarian, I have to disagree. High school libraries are places for primary sources! Many student assignments require use of primary sources in addition to secondary sources.

    3. By the appearance, it is a typical series title published for schools. It’s not a primary source unless it was written at the time by someone on the battlefield or in the war room. But this could be used as an example of political propaganda of the time. Should it still be in a HS library? Only if the subject is studied in depth. I’d probably discard it and offer it to a history teacher, who can hoard it or use it as need be.

      1. From reading the selected pages shown, this was a bit of government propaganda of the same stripe as “Why We Fight”, a pamphlet strewn around various military installations of the time. I graduated high school the year this was published, and this drivel would have been less than helpful two years later when I deployed to Vietnam as an infantryman. “Yellow branch of the human family”? Gads!

    1. OK, that made me LOL…

      As one who was part of this book’s target audience when it was new, all I can say I hope we’re not writing the same sort of drivel now…

  2. I remember pulling this from a K-5 library back in ’92. While this was published during the war, I would not call it a primary source. The author wasn’t writing as a journalist. Page 77 is pure propaganda.

  3. I’d be interested to know, how to modern books on Vietnam (or Viet Nam) cover the War? I hope they are level headed and not one sided.

  4. Actually primary sources would be from people involved in the events not a book written by people who might have read primary sources. And if you want contempory views try newspapers or magazines not a book full of propaganda by someone that never was out of the country. Something isn’t a primary source just because it’s from the same time period. Sorry, pet peeve.

  5. it’s kind of embarrassing, but I didn’t realize just how little I knew about Vietnam until I learned some interesting things about it in a video game called Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Such as it’s very noisy because they drive motorcycles a lot, they eat a popular rice noodle dish called Pho, and they drink a lot of coffee with condensed milk. Who says video games aren’t educational? 🙂

    1. Any chance you still play? My dream address is 4900-3703-2435.

      I don’t really set up things special like with mazes and such but I love how my characters will mention random people who visited via the dream world.

      I have nothing to add about the book other than yeah, it needed weeded.

          1. My Animal Crossing character’s name is Marlo, and my town is called Biscuit, so if your characters mention either of those, it’s me!

    2. You don’t have pho where you live? Here on the effete east coast, there have been pho restaurants and other purveyors for quite a while. I can buy frozen pho in Trader Joe’s, too.

    3. Lora – The best coffee I ever had was at a Vietnamese restaurant. I like coffee with cream and sugar – on the really sweet and creamy side – and the Vietnamese coffee with the condensed milk was the greatest. I don’t know where you live, but you can probably find a Pho restaurant somewhere. They are becoming more common and popular. Pho is a kind of noodle soup. I believe they serve most of the ingredients and spices on the side and you mix them in to your taste. (The place I had the coffee also had one desert item. To my western tastes, it was quite odd. Not bad, but odd. It had several kinds of beans as well as Jello in it.)

      You should really try new cuisines instead of just hearing about them in video games. 🙂 Where I live, there are all kinds of different ethnic restaurants. I am kind of a picky eater, ingredients-wise. But that’s why I love to try new types of dishes. Vietnam’s chicken noodle soup is different from Jewish chicken noodle soup is different from Japanese chicken noodle soup, etc.

    1. Pretty cool, but we lost our “like” counts on previous posts. Of course, anyone who dislikes our comments is free to post their opinion.

    2. I’d rather see a reason for someone to dislike something rather than mindlessly dissing someone’s comment. Conversation is good.

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