The literature about the Vietnam War, as raw and real as it was, seems to have faded from view. Unlike great war fiction — The Red and the Black, The Red Badge of Courage, War and Peace, All Quiet on the Western Front, and A Farewell to Arms — that is read for generations, becoming part of a literary culture, the Vietnam novels and memoirs are specific to a time and place. The soldiers and journalists who wrote about the war were close to the action; they wrote of an experience they lived. Their books had a spurt of recognition but are probably read now only by people with a special interest in the war or by high school students confronted with Tim O’Brien on their English curriculum. We didn’t win the war, and it didn’t represent us as either noble or idealistic. On some level, many who opposed the war (and some who supported it) feel guilty, still. No matter how strenuously we protested, it was our country that did this. We are haunted by U.S. participation and feel implicated. We wonder about our loss of standing as defenders of freedom. We worry about whether we learned any lessons from Vietnam. Are we more cautious in international relations? Are we less “quick on the trigger”? Even partially positive answers to these questions are dubious. Nostalgic “cold warriors” may believe that we were fighting to prevent the establishment of a communist/totalitarian regime. Others, skep-tical of that rationale, think about the cost in lives — the nearly sixty thousand Americans who died for no benefit to their country or the world and the hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese who died as their longembattled country was nearly destroyed — and the cost to our national reputation.