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History Discussion Group (Clio's Chroniclers) Meeting

Title: Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam

Author: Frances Fitzgerald

Leader: Alan Krause


This landmark work, based on Frances FitzGerald's own research and travels, takes us inside Vietnam-into the traditional, ancestor-worshiping villages and the corrupt crowded cities, into the conflicts between Communists and anti-Communists, Catholics and Buddhists, generals More... and monks -and reveals the country as seen through Vietnamese eyes. With a clarity and authority unrivaled by any book before it or since, Fire in the Lake shows how America utterly and tragically misinterpreted the realities of Vietnam.

About the Author

Nonfiction author and journalist Frances FitzGerald received both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for Fire In the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam (1972). A revised and updated edition of FitzGerald's second book, America Revised: History Schoolbooks in the Twentieth Century (1979), was recently released and explores the politics of textbook publishing, and why students regard American history as boring and "irrelevant." C. Vann Woodward, in The New York Review of Books, asserted, "Her major contribution has been to shed light on the reasons why generation after generation of Americas have been deprived. . .of any real sense of history, or their place or the place of their country in history. . ."

New York Times reviewer Stanley Hoffman called Fire in the Lake, "a compassionate and penetrating account of two societies that remain untranslatable to one another, an analysis of all those features of South Vietnamese culture that doomed the American effort from the start. . ."

FitzGerald's third book, Cities on a Hill: A Journey through Contemporary America (1986), examines four modern-day Utopian experiments, including San Francisco's gay Castro neighborhood and the free-love commune of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh in central Oregon.

FitzGerald is a frequent contributor to the New Yorker, and has written for numerous publications including The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Architectural Digest, Islands and Rolling Stone. Her journalism has taken her to Vietnam, the Middle East, Europe, Central America and the South Pacific. She serves on the editorial boards of The Nationand Foreign Policy, and is vice-president of PEN.


Event date: 
Sunday, January 29, 2017 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Event address: 
7419 Madison Street
Forest Park, IL 60130
Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316159197
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Back Bay Books - July 17th, 2002

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