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The Smell of the Light:
Vietnam, 1968-1969

In The Smell of the Light: Vietnam, 1968-1969, Bill McCloud’s poems take the reader chronologically through his personal experience with the Vietnam War. From his decision in the spring of 1967 to join the army, to the present-day determination by the VA that he has a service-connected disability, these poems chart a remarkable journey. McCloud served on an army airbase during the height of the war. The poetry he uses to describe his experiences is based on more than fifty letters he wrote home to his family. His poems deal with helicopters being shot down, air rescues, rocket attacks, and buddies being wounded in action. But they also address the day to day routine, boredom, hooch maids, bar girls, memorable characters, and the time he met Ann-Margret. It’s a collection unlike any other.

What Should We Tell Our Children About Vietnam?


"What should we tell our children about Vietnam?" That was the question facing junior high school teacher and Vietnam veteran Bill McCloud as he prepared to teach his students about the war. To find the answers, he went straight to the people who were involved in the war: soldiers, politicians, military officers, POWs, nurses, refugees, writers, and parents of soldiers who died in the war. He sent them handwritten letters, and responses poured in from all over the country. A collection of these responses, this book represents a unique and heartening outpouring of national conscience, hindsight, reflection, sorrow, and wisdom.

Respondents included here are: George Bush, Jimmy Carter, Geraldine A Ferraro, Allen Ginsburg, Barry Goldwater, Tom Hayden, Henry Kissinger, Timothy Leary, Robert S. McNamara, George S. Patton, Oliver Stone, Gary Trudeau, Kurt Vonnegut, and Caspar W. Weinberger.

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