The Turning

A History of Vietnam Veterans Against the War

296 pages

May, 2001

ISBN: 9780814736357



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Andrew E. Hunt is an associate professor at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. He is the author of The Turning: A History of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (NYU Press, 1999).

All books by Andrew E. Hunt

The anti-Vietnam War movement in the United States is perhaps best remembered for its young, counterculture student protesters. However, the Vietnam War was the first conflict in American history in which a substantial number of military personnel actively protested the war while it was in progress.

In The Turning, Andrew Hunt reclaims the history of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), an organization that transformed the antiwar movement by placing Vietnam veterans in the forefront of the nationwide struggle to end the war. Misunderstood by both authorities and radicals alike, VVAW members were mostly young men who had served in Vietnam and returned profoundly disillusioned with the rationale for the war and with American conduct in Southeast Asia. Angry, impassioned, and uncompromisingly militant, the VVAW that Hunt chronicles in this first history of the organization posed a formidable threat to America's Vietnam policy and further contributed to the sense that the nation was under siege from within.

Based on extensive interviews and in-depth primary research, including recently declassified government files, The Turning is a vivid history of the men who risked censures, stigma, even imprisonment for a cause they believed to be "an extended tour of duty."


  • "Explodes one of the most persistent and pernicious myths attached to the 1960s: that the anti-war movement was anti-GI and anti-veteran. How could that be, when, as Hunt shows, many of the most committed and eloquent opponents of the Vietnam war were themselves veterans of the conflict in Southeast Asia. The Vietnam Veterans Against the War were heroes then, and they deserve to be remembered as heroes today."

    —Maurice Isserman, Hamilton College

  • "A splendid addition to the growing literature on Vietnam veterans and their experiences during and after the war. Hunt's complex and moving history is a vital corrective to accounts which equate the anti-war movement with student activists as well as to those who persist in seeing veterans as passive victims."

    —Marilyn B. Young, author of The Vietnam Wars

  • "This extraordinary and deeply moving history explodes all the encrusted stereotypes of GIs on one side of the barricades and anti-war protestors on the other. At long last we can again hear the voices of the thousands of courageous veterans who refused to be silent about the immoral war in Indochina."

    —Mike Davis, author of City of Quartz

  • "For all kinds of veterans of the Sixties era, this book offers powerful testimony on the meaning of patriotism and moral courage. For younger people, whose images of the Sixties are often caught in the caricatures of the mass media, Hunt's sophisticated account of veterans' anti-war protest evoke new understanding, and I think, hard questions about a difficult time."

    —David Farber, author of The Age of Great Dreams

  • "What a splendid job! This evocative book tells the impassioned story of young men who served, returned, and then mustered even more courage by standing up against their country often while being called baby killers' by antiwar radicals and 'cowards' by the World War II generation. A superb history, and a valuable addition to understanding the turbulent 1960s era."

    —Terry H. Anderson