Doug Bradley and Craig Werner

We Gotta Get Out Of This Place

The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War

University of Massachusetts Press 2015

New Books in American StudiesNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Military HistoryNew Books in MusicNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Popular CultureNew Books Network April 30, 2016 Gael Fashingbauer

From the “Ballad of the Green Berets” to “Bad Moon Rising,” the music of the Vietnam War is woven through every vets memories. Vietnam...

From the “Ballad of the Green Berets” to “Bad Moon Rising,” the music of the Vietnam War is woven through every vets memories. Vietnam vet Doug Bradley and his fellow University of Wisconsin professor Craig Werner first intended to whittle down a list of the top 20 songs of the war, and soon realized that was an impossible errand. No Vietnam veteran is alike, and hundreds of songs held meaning for those who fought there. It was a varied soundtrack of patriotism and protests, hard rock and soul music, love songs, Dear John songs and more.

Bradley and Werner’s book We Gotta Get Out Of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War (University of Massachusetts Press, 2015) blends musical and personal histories, explaining the backgrounds of specific songs and artists as well as what they meant to the Vietnam soldiers. In a conversation with Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, they discuss everything from the generational differences between Vietnam soldiers and their World War II-veteran fathers to the importance of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA,” written a full decade after the war ended. Hanoi Hannah, Good Morning Vietnam DJ Adrian Cronauer, Jimi Hendrix, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Nancy Sinatra, Country Joe McDonald and his famous F cheer all played a role in the wars musical history. Take a musical trip through this sometimes personal and often poetic book. Country Joe himself said of it, We all love popular music and we all love soldiers. All we have left is memories. Maybe there is something to learn from this book, from their experiences, from the music. God, I hope so.

 

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