"Within the pages of this book, we truly get a candid look at war, patriotism, fear, and love. . . . My culture will benefit immensely from these strong and compelling stories, but my hope is that all cultures of this incredible society we call America will read the oral histories of Chicano Vietnam veterans and their families and learn."
--Edward James Olmos, from the Foreword
One of the most decorated groups that served in the Vietnam War, Chicanos fought and died in numbers well out of proportion to their percentage of the United States' population. Yet despite this, their wartime experiences have never received much attention in either popular media or scholarly studies. To spotlight and preserve some of their stories, this book presents substantial interviews with Chicano Vietnam veterans and their families that explore the men's experiences in combat, the war's effects on the Chicano community, and the veterans' postwar lives.
Lea Ybarra groups the interviews topically to bring out different aspects of the Chicano vets' experiences. In addition to discussing their involvement in and views on the Vietnam War, the veterans also reflect on their place in American society, American foreign policy, and the value of war. Veterans from several states and different socioeconomic classes give the book a broad-based perspective, which Ybarra frames with sociological material on the war and its impact on Chicanos.