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Black Veterans of the Viet Nam War: An Oral History

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Bloods Cover

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Wallace Terry was visiting Hoi An, a small city in Vietnam on the coast of the South China Sea when he found out about the death of the youngest soldier to die in combat in Vietnam.  The soldier was a sixteen-year-old black Marine who came from a poor, broken home in Brooklyn.  He wanted to make money to support his mother, so he lied about his age to join the Marines.  Terry was so taken with this story that he vowed that one day he would, in his words, “see between the covers of a book the story of the sacrifice of such young black men and others in the rice paddies of Vietnam—10,000 miles from the heartbreak of American poverty and discrimination and injustice.”

BLOODS was published in 1984 to praise from coast to coast.  It was a national bestseller and on the bestseller list of the Washington Post, the New York Times.  BLOODS was cited as a New York Times Notable Book and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.  BLOODS has been in print for over 20 years and is now published as a War Classic by Presidio Press, the only book on the black experience in Vietnam to have received that honor.  


Praise for Bloods

“Wallace Terry here fills the yawning gap in the record of our Vietnam experience. Eye-opening and unsettling is his juxtaposition of the civil rights battle at home and the treatment and reaction of the disproportionately large black force in Vietnam.”
—Walter Cronkite

“In BLOODS, Wallace Terry strikes me as being as effective as a writer can get in conveying the horrors of war to all five of a reader’s human senses.”
—Alex Haley

“If I could recommend only one book on the futility of war, it would be BLOODS. It should be read by every man, woman and child in every corner of the world.”
—The Honorable Andrew Young

“Terry’s oral history captures the very essence of war, at both its best and worst…He has done a great service for all Americans with BLOODS.”
—The Washington Post Book World

“An invaluable addition to the expanding legion of histories about the Vietnam War.
—Chicago Sun Times

“An incisive and explosive account.”
—Ebony

“These men faced a special test of patriotism. And to one seemed to know or care. These are voices that should be heard.”
—The San Diego Union Times

“A major contribution to the literature of this war.”
—The Atlanta Constitution

“More than just a black view of the Vietnam conflict…If your eyes don’t mist during one of the chapters, your tear ducts don’t work.”
—Los Angeles Times



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