Vietnam Awakening

My Journey from Combat to the Citizens’ Commission of Inquiry on U.S. War Crimes in Vietnam


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About the Book

In this vividly honest memoir, author Michael Uhl details his experiences in Vietnam as first lieutenant of a counterintelligence team attached to the 11th Infantry. Referencing his personal journal and wartime correspondence with friends and family, the author relives the most shocking events that he witnessed during his military service, including the abuse and torture of several Vietnamese civilians. In Part Two, the author outlines his years as an activist with the veterans’ movement against the Vietnam War.

About the Author(s)

As a political activist, Michael Uhl was co-founder of the Safe Return Amnesty Committee and the GI and veteran advocacy organization, Citizen Soldier. An independent scholar, his articles and reviews have appeared in The Nation and The Boston Globe. He lives in Walpole, Maine.

Bibliographic Details

Michael Uhl
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 263
Bibliographic Info: 28 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2007
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3074-1
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8292-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi
Preface      1

Book One
I. Days of Slumber      7
II. Days of Wakening      36
III. Days of War (1)      63
IV. Days of War (2)      88

Book Two
V. Days of Reckoning 117
1. Days of Reckoning      117
2. Tod & Jeremy125
3. The Commissions      130
4. How I Grew 133
5. The Commissions (bis…)135
6. A Grand Tour143
7. Antiwar Vets 152
8. The CCI–VVAW Split      164
9. Organizing the National Veterans’ Inquiry      168
10. Skirmishing in Washington: 1971      180
11. Nuremberg, USA      182
12. On Top Down Under      186
13. A Personality Abroad      190
14. In D.C. and Working Congress 198
15. Mopping Up      210
16. A Farewell to War Crimes      221

Chapter Notes      231
Bibliography 245
Index      251

Book Reviews & Awards

“Uhl is an astute commentator on every aspect of the war”—Counter Punch; “a fascinating account of one of the lesser known but historically significant organizations to emerge in opposition to the American War in Vietnam…Uhl navigates deftly back and forth between the personal and the public facets…a valuable contribution to both the literature and the history of the Vietnam War, made all the more timely by American involvement in yet another ambiguous, costly, and arguably unwinnable war”—W.D. Ehrhart, author of The Madness of It All; “Michael Uhl tells us in great personal detail about the brutal absurdity of the Vietnam War environment. Uhl’s sensitive self-observation deepens our grasp of psychological currents of an ugly war and of boldly effective forms of opposition to that war”—Robert Jay Lifton, Home from the War: Learning from Vietnam Veterans; “Michael Uhl is a gifted writer whose memoir describes his struggle to fully engage and then defend his and our humanity. Uhl’s moral outrage and integrity led him to speak out about war crimes in Vietnam, to apply the lessons of Nuremberg, and to play a leading role in the Veterans movement to end that murderous war”—Joseph Gerson, Program Director, American Friends Service Committee in New England; “highly readable, immensely instructive memoir illuminates not only his own coming of age in the Vietnam era, but the struggle of Vietnam vets to tell the American people shocking truths about the criminal nature of the Vietnam war”—Richard Falk, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Princeton University.