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The Vietnam War in American Culture

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Forthcoming
Publication date31/12/2022
Host publicationThe Cambridge History of the Vietnam War: Volume 3: Endings and Legacies
EditorsLien-Hang Nguyen, Andrew Preston, Pierre Asselin
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages39
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Examining literary works by Vietnam veteran authors, war memorials, received knowledge about the war and the predicaments of veterans, and public discussions of the consequences of the Vietnam War in American life, this article looks at the way that knowledge and belief about the Vietnam War have coalesced into folklore and myth. The article looks in particular at the way that activist psychiatrists allied to antiwar veterans were responsible for the introduction of "post-traumatic stress" into psychiatric nomenclature, and the way that some members of the current generation of psychiatric practitioners transformed the political implications of this condition. Recent therapists who promulgate the concept of "moral injury" not only buy into but help to popularize myths about the Vietnam veteran experience, such as the contentious claim that protesters abused the veterans when they returned home from the war.