By Bill Bigelow
In the Academy Award-winning documentary Hearts and Minds, Daniel Ellsberg, who secretly copied and then released the Pentagon Papers, offers a catalog of presidential lying about the U.S. role in Vietnam: Truman lied. Eisenhower lied. Kennedy lied. Johnson “lied and lied and lied.” Nixon lied.
Ellsberg concludes: “The American public was lied to month by month by each of these five administrations. As I say, it’s a tribute to the American public that their leaders perceived that they had to be lied to; it’s no tribute to us that it was so easy to fool the public.”
In June of 1971, Ellsberg surrendered to federal authorities at Post Office Square in Boston. Forty-two years later, few of the historical secrets that Ellsberg revealed—especially those that focus on the immediate post-World War II origins of U.S. involvement in Vietnam—appear in the school curriculum.Read more »
Teaching Activity. By John DeRose. 4 pages.
Analysis of textbook passages from different countries, videos and books are used to explore different perspectives about the same event in history, i.e. “Philippine-American War” vs. “War of Philippine Independence”.
Teaching Activity. Zinn Education Project. 100 pages.
Eight lessons about the Vietnam War, Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon Papers, and whistleblowing.
Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 8 pages.
A role play on the history of the Vietnam War that is left out of traditional textbooks.
Teaching Activity. By Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 3 pages.
Text of speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the Vietnam War, followed by three teaching ideas.
Teaching Activity. By Mike Benbow and Robin Pickering. 17 pages.
Questions and teaching ideas for Chapter 18 of Voices of a People’s History of the United States on opposition to the Vietnam War.
Teaching Activity. By Jennifer Rosebrook. 16 pages.
Questions and teaching ideas for Chapter 20 of Voices of a People’s History of the United States on the legacy of scandal since the end of the Vietnam War and the Watergate break-in.
Article for Teachers and High School Students – PDF. By Howard Zinn. 4 pages.
An essay which raises questions about the justifications for empire building and imperialism.
Book – Non-fiction. By Susan Gage. 1993. 52 pages.
Comic book tackles the history of colonialism in India, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Book – Non-fiction. By Howard Zinn. Introduction by Marilyn B. Young. 2011. 272 pages.
Essays spanning 1962 to 2006 that examine specific wars, wartime incidents, and the force of non-violence to move beyond war, if we are to survive.
Books – Non-fiction. By Howard Zinn. 2005, with a new introduction by Anthony Arnove in 2015. 784 pages.
Howard Zinn’s groundbreaking work on U.S. history. This book details lives and facts rarely included in textbooks—an indispensable teacher and student resource.
Book – Non-fiction. By Daniel Ellsberg. 2003. 512 pages.
A riveting behind-the-scenes account of Ellsberg’s decade of disillusionment leading up to Nixon’s resignation.
Book – Non-fiction. By William Griffen and John Marciano. 1979. 83 pages.
Critique of the frameworks of U.S. history texts and engaging alternative history of the war.
Book – Non-fiction. By Julian Bond and illustrated by T. G. Lewis. 1967. 19 pages.
This “graphic novel” from the 1960s was written to provide a critical analysis of the Vietnam War in an easy to read format.
Book – Non-fiction. By Howard Zinn. 1967; republished in 2013. 131 pages.
One of the earliest and most influential antiwar books.
Book – Non-fiction. By Marilyn B. Young. 1991. 448 pages.
A detailed history of the Vietnam War.
Book – Non-fiction. Edited by Fred Branfman. 2013 (original edition, 1972). 196 pages.
Essays, drawings, and poems by Laotian villagers who survived almost ten years of widespread, persistent, and devastating bombing during the Vietnam War in a covert operation in Laos.
Book – Non-fiction. Edited by Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove. 2014. 704 pages.
Speeches, letters, poems, and songs for each chapter of A People’s History of the United States.
Book – Non-fiction. By Christopher R. Leahey. 2010. 145 pages.
A critical analysis of how textbooks represent U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
Book – Fiction. By Walter Dean Myers. 2005. 40 pages. Upper elementary. Sophisticated picture book on one soldier’s patrol in Vietnam.Read more »
Film. Produced by Henry Hampton. Blackside. 1987. 360 min.
Comprehensive documentary history of the Civil Rights Movement.
Film. Directed by Peter Davis. 1974. 112 min.
Documentary about the Vietnam War.
Film. By Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith. 2009. 94 minutes.
The riveting story of how a Pentagon official risks life in prison by leaking 7,000 pages of a top secret report to the New York Times to help stop the Vietnam War.