Are you interested in learning more about the Vietnam War?

We've compiled a list of the three best books on the subject. From gripping accounts of life as a soldier to thoughtful analysis of the political context, these books offer deep insight into one of history's most important episodes. Whether you're a historian, or student, or simply want to learn more about this period, you'll find something valuable and revealing in each book.

Read first-hand accounts from veterans and gain an understanding of what it was like to live through this tumultuous time. Explore different perspectives on key moments that defined popular opinion at home and abroad. And experience all-new stories from critically acclaimed authors that creatively reimagine life during The Vietnam War era.

Check out our article now for detailed reviews and summaries - with links for easy access to these essential Vietnam War books!

How We Choose These Best Vietnam War Books

If you want to learn more about the Vietnam War, where do you even start? With so many books out there, it's hard to know which ones are worth reading and which ones aren't.

At best, you're wasting your time on books that don't provide reliable information. At worst, you're getting incorrect information which could lead to misunderstandings or more confusion.

We've researched for you! Our carefully curated selection of Vietnam War books provides insight into this important historical event from diverse perspectives – ensuring that you get an accurate picture with the least amount of effort.

1. "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien

Best for Emotion

"The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien takes readers into the harrowing lives of soldiers during the Vietnam War, telling poignant tales of humanity amidst the chaos. 

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What Is This Book About

"The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien is an incredible exploration of the Vietnam War and the impact it had on soldiers. Written as a series of interconnected short stories, this book takes an emotionally gripping look at memory, trauma, and other heavy themes that soldiers carry with them long after they have returned home. O'Brien's insightful and often heartbreaking dialogue enables readers to truly understand the consequences of war. With every story comes a unique insight into how individual soldiers process their grief, guilt, and joys—all while trying to survive in a hostile foreign land. The text paints a vivid picture of life at the frontline, providing valuable insights into what players before us experienced and gaining an understanding of war that only those who lived through such terrifying situations can provide. "The Things They Carried" is driven by profound moral questions that make it one of the most famous books on war ever written. It offers profound empathy for its characters and brings humanity to battlefields associated with so much death and despair from earlier generations. By tapping into a rich tapestry of emotions, this book is sure to provide readers with a powerful understanding of what takes place during wartime conflict and why some hearts are never quite healed when facing unimaginable tragedy.

Why You Will Love It

You will love "The Things They Carried" because of its raw and emotional depiction of soldiers' experiences during the Vietnam War. O'Brien's writing is powerful and unapologetic, pulling readers into the gritty realities of war and leaving a lasting impact. The stories he weaves are gripping, full of intense moments that will leave your heart racing. But amidst the violence and chaos, O'Brien also captures the humanity of these soldiers and their struggles with fear, love, and loss. "The Things They Carried" is a book that will stay with you long after you turn the final page.

2. "Dispatches" by Michael Herr

Best for Journalism

"Dispatches" by Michael Herr offers a visceral and unflinching look at the war, providing a raw and honest account of the conflict through the eyes of a war correspondent.

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What Is This Book About

"Dispatches" by Michael Herr is an iconic non-fiction book that gives readers a uniquely in-depth look into the Vietnam War. As a correspondent for Esquire magazine, Herr spent time with troops on the front lines and gathered firsthand accounts of what they experienced while they were in battle. He paints a vivid picture that allows readers to gain a full understanding of the immense sacrifices made by those who served during this period of history. With authentic detail and emotionally compelling language, his accounts provide insight that no other author has been able to capture with such clarity or accuracy. "Dispatches" is essential reading for anyone who wants to learn about the true horrors of war and honor those who fought bravely in its midst.

Why You Will Love It

If you are a fan of books that transport you to another place and time, you will love "Dispatches." Written by Michael Herr, this book is an immersive and vivid portrayal of the Vietnam War. Herr's writing style is both poetic and unflinching, as he captures the chaos and horror of war in a way that few other writers have. His descriptions of the sights, sounds, and smells of Vietnam are so vivid that you can almost feel the heat and humidity as you read. And yet, despite the darkness of the subject matter, "Dispatches" is a truly gripping and engaging read. From the first page to the last, you will be on the edge of your seat as you follow Herr's journey through one of the most pivotal events in modern history.

3. "Matterhorn" by Karl Marlantes

Best for Realism

"Matterhorn" by Karl Marlantes is an epic tale of a Marine lieutenant and his platoon as they fight to take a strategic hill during the Vietnam War, exploring the psychological tolls of combat and the challenges of leadership in war.

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What Is This Book About

Karl Marlantes’ "Matterhorn" is an illuminating and deeply moving saga of war, where the tradition of military duty stands in stark contrast to the chaotic realities of combat. Spanning multiple tours of duty over several years, this epic novel follows the struggles of US Marines stationed at Firebase Matterhorn, located near Vietnam’s infamous demilitarized zone. Marlantes brings a vivid authenticity to his characters’ experiences as they face life-and-death situations—from fierce clashes with the enemy to the stifling jungle heat, cold monsoon rain and ever-looming snipers. With unforgettable set pieces and stream-of-consciousness flashbacks for each character, "Matterhorn" demonstrates courage and heroism in some of humankind’s darkest moments, creating a remarkable narrative arc that culminates in a heart-rending portrait of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances.

Why You Will Love It

If you're looking for a truly immersive reading experience, "Matterhorn" is the book for you. This novel brilliantly captures the complexities and brutalities of the Vietnam War, offering a breathtakingly realistic portrayal of the soldiers who fought in it. The characters are unforgettable: flawed, courageous, and deeply human, they will stay with you long after you finish reading. And the story itself? Gripping, heart-wrenching, and at times almost unbearably tense, it's surely one of the most compelling war narratives out there. Trust us: you will love this book because it is a masterful work of literature that transports you to another time and place in a way that few other novels can.

Best Vietnam War Book FAQs

Trying to find the best Vietnam War book without wasting time?

Searching online can be a chore, leading you down the rabbit hole of conflicting information. You don’t even know where to start! Look no further than Most Frequently Asked Questions about Best Vietnam War Book. We make it easy to find answers and recommendations so you can quickly locate the perfect book for your needs.

What is the definitive book on Vietnam?

Several books on the Vietnam War are considered to be definitive. Some of the most popular ones are "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien, "Dispatches" by Michael Herr, and "A Bright Shining Lie" by Neil Sheehan.

What is the most famous war in Vietnam?

The most famous war in Vietnam is the Vietnam War (also known as the Second Indochina War), which took place from 1955 to 1975 and involved North Vietnam (supported by the Soviet Union and China) against South Vietnam (supported by the United States, South Korea, Australia, and other anti-communist allies).

What was the Vietnam War book reading level?

Many books about the Vietnam War vary in reading level. Some books, like "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien, are written at an adult level and may be more appropriate for high school or college-aged readers.

What was the best unit in Vietnam War?

It is difficult to determine which unit was the "best" during the Vietnam War, as each unit had its own unique experiences and challenges. However, some of the most well-known units include the 1st Cavalry Division, the 173rd Airborne Brigade, and the 101st Airborne Division.

Should a 13-year-old read War and Peace?

"War and Peace" is generally considered to be a challenging and complex work of literature, and may not be suitable for all 13-year-olds. However, some advanced readers may be able to handle the book's themes and language.

Can a 17-year-old read War and Peace?

A 17-year-old may be able to handle the themes and language in "War and Peace," but the book's length and complexity may still make it a challenging read.

What is the longest war book?

"War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy is one of the longest war books, with a length of over 1,200 pages in most editions. Other long war books include "Les Misérables" by Victor Hugo and "Gone with the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell.

What grade is Level 3 reading books?

The reading level of Level 3 books can vary depending on the publisher or educational system, but they are generally geared towards readers in grades 2-3, with a focus on developing fluency and comprehension skills.


It's clear to see why these three books are amongst the best of their kind. Each offers a unique lens and point of view on one of the 20th century's most complex and significant events, the Vietnam War. With engaging storytelling and intense historical accuracy, these books transcend time, giving readers an invaluable experience they won't soon forget. Now is your chance to pick up one of these incredible texts and gain insightful knowledge of the world's history. Don't miss the opportunity to choose one of these books for your collection and make sure you adjust your focus towards something more meaningful, for it may just end up helping you to understand your own lives better in the process.

Happy Reading!

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