Author(s): Michael Caulfield
The Vietnam War was the longest and most divisive war in Australian history. Between 1962 and 1972, 59 000 Australian men and women served there; 520 were killed and over 2 500 wounded. Many of the veterans still bear the scars - physically and mentally. This is the story of the Vietnam War but it is not in any way a chronological military history. A patrol on the last day was the same as a patrol on the first day. What hasn't been told so far is what really happened on patrols: how men fought, died and came back damaged in some way. It ranges from a superb and moving account of the Battle of Long Tan to the effect of a war where a man could come off a patrol in the morning - and that evening be back in Australia, discharged from the army, and drunk in the Bourbon and Beefsteak. We hear these men speak and tell of what it was really like.THE VIETNAM YEARS also tells the story of those who stayed at home - the Army wives who had to cope then and now and the wave of political protest at home that was such a part of this turbulent era.