Is there anything better than a book you simply cannot put down? They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967 written by Pulitzer Prize winner and best selling author David Maraniss is striking a cord with me. This story set on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus and a battlefield named Ong Thanh, located 40 miles north of Saigon where American soldiers walked into an ambush.
There are so many elements of this book that make you want to slowly digest each chapter. The early chapters introduce soldiers making their way towards Lai Khe including Lt. Terry Allen, Jr. He was the son of World War II hero Army General Terry Allen. Soliders came from around the Midwest and were eager to serve our country.
Growing up in Ohio and today living in Milwaukee I was immediately drawn to the stories of those soldiers.
Chapter Six: “Madison Wisconsin” is just a wonderful overview to the student anti-war movement of the 1960s. One of the students involved in Madison campus protests was Paul Solgin. He has been elected Mayor of Madison three times since 1973. After his first stint as Mayor he became a fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Today he is the current Mayor, elected in April 2011.
The student newspaper The Daily Cardinal editor-in-chief was Jeff Greenfield, current CBS senior political analyst. And former Vice President Dick Chaney was finishing his master’s degree on the Madison campus in 1967.
PBS produced an American Experience segment titled “Two Days in October” about They Marched Into Sunlight. The BBC re-aired the program renamed “How Vietnam was lost.” Is it any surprise that Tom Hanks’ production company Playtone, is shooting a movie based upon this book?