What Was the Vietnam War? by Jim O’Connor — Juvenile Non-Fiction, 2019
O’Connor presents a balanced and surprisingly full examination of the Vietnam War in this history book for children. He traces the events and background from pre-American involvement through to the aftermath of the war, including the troubled homecoming of U.S. veterans. Although written for 8 to 12 year olds, O’Connor does not shy away from the many horrors of the war, such as the My Lai Massacre of 1968 and the brutal killings of innocent women and children. This harsh material may be difficult for some children, but the scope of the material makes the book an excellent resource for readers well beyond the intended audience. Even adults from that era are likely to find deeper understanding of the background, causes, politics, social unrest, and the devastating effects of the war. The writing is simplified for children, but the content is not – think of an abbreviated Ken Burns’ documentary for anyone who wants a clear, solid, understanding of the Vietnam War era.