The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam


Product Details

New York University Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.54 inches | 0.78 pounds

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About the Author

Jerry Lembcke grew up in Northwest Iowa. He was drafted in 1968 and served as a Chaplain's Assistant in Vietnam. He is the author of eight books including The Spitting Image, CNN's Tailwind Tail, and Hanoi Jane. His opinion pieces have appeared in The New York Times, Boston Globe, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He is presently Associate Professor of Sociology, Emeritus, at Holy Cross College and Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.


"Lembcke builds a compelling case against collective memory by demonstrating that remembrances of Vietnam were almost at direct odds with circumstantial evidence."

-San Francisco Chronicle

"Well-argued and documented"

-Berkshire Eagle

"The best history I have seen on the impact of the war on Americans, both then and now."

-David Dellinger

"The myth of the spat-upon veteran is not only bad history, but it has been instrumental in selling the American public on bad policy."

-Maurice Isserman, Chicago Tribune

"The image is ingrained: A Vietnam veteran, arriving home from the war, gets off a plane only to be greeted by an angry mob of antiwar protesters yelling, 'Murderer!' and 'Baby killer!' Then out of the crowd comes someone who spits in the veteran's face. The only problem, according to Jerry Lembcke, is that no such incident ever has been documented. It is instead, says Lembcke, a kind of urban myth that reflects our lingering national confusion over the war."

-Los Angeles Times