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K-12 Evaluated Resource Collection

Boots on the Ground: America's War in Vietnam

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Author/Publisher/Website: Partridge, E.
Copyright: 2018
Evaluation/Record Entry Date: Nov/2019
Submitting suppliers/Website: Not Available
Primary Identifier: 9780670785063
Recommended Grades and Subjects/Courses: 9-12
(View recommended grades and subjects)

Resource Description

This award-winning resource is an engaging, and readable introduction to the Vietnam War and its impact and after-effects. A biographical compilation, it recounts the stories of people involved in the War, including American soldiers, a military nurse, and a Vietnamese refugee, and includes profiles of key American leaders and events at the time. Alternating between the viewpoints of the US government and those on the ground allows students will come to see how soldiers were pawns in the war and the cruel treatment returning veterans encountered. Suitable for grades 9-12 as a starting point for research projects, individual reading, writing assignments, and as an addition to a school library.

CURRICULUM FIT

Does the resource support BC curriculum?
Moderately
This product supports the Core Competencies of the BC curriculum:
Critical thinking
Positive Personal and Cultural Identity
Personal Awareness and Responsibility
Social Responsibility
Comments:
This resource is a compilation of biographical stories, weaving in the viewpoints of a variety of people involved in the war in Vietnam. It supports the Big Ideas, content, and Curricular Competencies of Social Studies 10, Explorations in Social Studies 11, Asian Studies 12, Social Justice 12, and English Studies 12. Some of the themes that can be explored include world views, perspectives, identity, diversity, global conflicts and co-operation, social justice, human rights movements, civil wars, impact of language and media in influencing ideas, and the importance of questioning what we hear, see, and view in order to be engaged.

SOCIAL CONSIDERATIONS

Gender Roles, Identity & Sexual Orientation:
In the era of the Vietnam War women did not serve in active duty as they do today. Women were nurses rather than soldiers and their contribution seems to have been seen as less than that of the male soldiers.
Multiculturalism:
Contains some derogatory terms against certain cultural groups. Some South Vietnamese people were seen as collaborating with the USA to support the war, so at the end they faced torture and death as punishment. Many became refugees. Ethnic American soldiers comment on being called names such as "Gook", mistaken for the enemy, and even expected to role play the enemy during training.
Ability:
PTSD figures prominently as many of the veterans suffered after their return from combat. Soldiers have body parts blown off during the War.
Socio Economic:
Since many poor Americans could not afford to attend university, they were over-represented in the draft.
Violence:
Descriptions of battles, combat, and war zones are throughout the book. There is some graphic detail.
Ethical:
There are numerous references to drug use to cope with the stress of war.
Safety:
The book details the Vietnam War, its after-effects, and its impact on those who fought. There are at least two descriptions of suicide attempts by veterans interviewed for the book.
Language:
The interviewees discuss racial slurs that were frequently used against the enemy or villagers in Vietnam. Explicit and violent language is often used to describe the effects of war.
Do the social considerations support, rather than detract from, student learning?
Moderately
Social Considerations Comments:
As with many books about war, this one contains interviews with veterans who describe, in detail, some of their horrific memories of the war and its impact on them physically and mentally. Alternating between the US government viewpoint and that of those on the ground, students will come to see how soldiers were pawns in a futile war. It becomes clear that the treatment of these veterans, on their return, was cruel considering what they had endured.

GENERAL CONTENT

Content
Is the resource engaging?
Moderately
Is the content current for the intended curriculum and grade?
Moderately
Is the content accurate for the intended curriculum and grade?
Moderately
Is the content timely and important for student broad understandings?
Moderately
Audience:
Is the content appropriate to the emotional maturity and cognitive level of students?
Moderately
Does the resource provide opportunities for creative and critical thinking?
Moderately
Can the content be differentiated?
Moderately
Is the level of detail appropriate?
Moderately
Is the language use appropriate to the emotional maturity and cognitive level of students?
Moderately
Comments:
This is a readable history of the Vietnam War. Avid history students might find the level of detail lacking, but for those looking for a general introduction, this book is enjoyable and engaging.

TECHNICAL DESIGN

Does the resource make effective use of the medium?
Extensively
Is the location of illustrations appropriate?
Extensively
Is the resource easy to use?
Extensively
Is the use of font, text size and presentation uniform?
Moderately
Are extraneous elements/illustrations kept to a minimum?
Extensively
Comments:
The picture captions are a little difficult to read due to font colour.

INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN

Comments:
Although the resource is not designed for instruction, it does support flexibility in teacher instruction and opportunity for extending student thinking.

PRINT CLASSROOM

Does the reference cover topics with sufficient depth for the intended audience?
Moderately
Does the classroom reference have a bibliography and footnotes?
Moderately
Does the resource broaden students’ experiences and understandings?
Moderately
Does the resource make effective use of visual elements?
Moderately
Are the images compelling?
Moderately
Descriptors:
Primary reference material
Comments:
The resource includes a bibliography but not footnotes.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

Readability:
At intended grade level(s)
Comments:
2019 Golden Kite Award Winner, Non-Fiction for Older Readers ; 2019 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist ; ALSC Notable Children's Books - 2019 ; Booklist Editors’ Choice: Books for Youth - 2018 ; CCBC Choices 2019 Choice: Historical People, Places, and Events 2018 ; Cybils Award Winner, Junior High Non-Fiction ; Publishers Weekly Best Books - 2018 ; Kirkus Best Books, Young Adult - 2018 ; NYPL Best Books for Teens - 2018 ; BCCB Blue Ribbons - 2018 ; Horn Book Fanfare - 2018 ; Nonfiction Detectives Best Nonfiction - 2018

SUGGESTED CLASSROOM USAGE

Comments:
Students might use this book as a starting point into research about the Vietnam War. Small groups could take one aspect of the book, such as the role of nurses or government, and expand on this area with further research. A student might select this book as an individual reading selection. It would be a good addition to a high school library. Additionally, this book could be part of a small collection of resources that focus on analyzing how media portrayals of events sway public opinion. Students might also use selections to write journal entries. It could provide background information for a novel, such as The Things They Carried.
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