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Each year following monsoon season in Vietnam, a harvest of unexploded ordinance appears in the countryside: M79 grenade rounds, flechette bombs, and other lethal remnants of the war years. Even casual exploration can be fatal. Yet year after year, Vietnamese peasants continue to farm their fields in hopes of bringing new life to a war-ravaged land.

The historical record of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War can be compared to the ground on which it was fought. In spite of years of study, the topic is still considered explosive. Policies and motives of participants on all sides of the war have been obscured by "revisionist histories" of every political and ideological hue. Facts are contested and subject to change when new information appears.

With the introduction of The Echols Collection: Selections on the Vietnam War, UMI brings together multiple historical and national perspectives with an eye toward providing better understanding of the Vietnam conflict.

With more than 5,000 volumes of books, monographs, speeches, pamphlets, manuscripts, serials, and historical documents, Selections on the Vietnam War provides unique insight to students of twentieth-century American and Southeast Asian history, international and U.S. law, economics, political science, government, diplomacy, foreign policy, and journalism.

Selected from the vast holdings of the John M. Echols Collection at Cornell University (the premier North American source of material on Southeast Asia), the contents of this collection provide an incisive look at pre-war and wartime history as well as the long-term effects of the conflict in Southeast Asia and around the world. The collection contains a variety of political and social commentary, including views expressed by anti-war groups, pro-war factions, religious groups, and governmental organizations worldwide. Rare U.S. and Vietnamese government reports, publications, and research documents are also included. Readily accessible materials have been omitted.

Selection criteria for the collection are based on the Vietnam War Bibliography by Christopher L. Sugnet and John T. Hickey. Included are 3,253 items in English and French (the latter focusing on the French colonial period)--propaganda, pamphlets, government documents, literary works, etc., from the seventeenth-century Catholic missionaries to the fall of Saigon in 1975. Contents of the units are roughly as follows:


  • Units 1-4--General materials, English language
  • Unit 5--The Kahin Collection; U.S. policy papers
  • Unit 6--Thailand, English-language materials
  • Unit 7--Colonial era, French-language materials
  • Units 8-9--General materials, English-language
  • Units 10-13--Colonial and post-colonial eras, treaties; French-language materials
  • Units 14-17--Vietnamese Supplement.

Sample items include:


  • French colonial fiats and handbooks
  • Australian, Korean, and U.S. military publications
  • Soviet foreign policy documents
  • Stockholm Conference reports
  • Peace-movement pamphlets
  • Treaties between Southeast Asian and Western governments
  • Major speeches by Ngo Dinh Diem and Prince Norodom Sihanouk
  • North Vietnamese documents on reunification
  • Books on Catholic missionaries and martyrs; Buddhism
  • Laotian, Cambodian, and Vietnamese folktales
  • Medical works on leprosy, obstetrics, etc.
  • Books on education during the French colonial period and later
  • Materials on Vietnamese flora and fauna, animal husbandry, rice- and rubber-growing, and other agricultural topics
  • Multi-year economic plans, including post-war economic development
  • Investment, land tenure, and election laws

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