Dr. Fred. H. Allison is a retired marine F-4 radar intercept officer, who is presently a historian at the Marine Corps History Division, Quantico. He attained his Ph.D. in history from Texas Tech University and had written numerous articles. For instance, a review of an article, remembering the Vietnam War Firefight, where five out of eight marines doing a reconnaissance patrol got killed. The first interview was conducted two days after the firefight while the second was conducted 34 years later. Though impression of the initial work was strangely compelling as the interviewee was so detached and seemed reasonable, it provides the instant view of the occurrence before the memory has organized itself to interpret the event. Therefore the purpose of the article is to show how perception changes over time. And to highlight some distinct differences between the first and the second interviews. How necessary information has been interpreted over the years?
Notably, the article Remembering a Vietnam War Firefight offers a comprehensive analysis of the war and events that left five marines who were on a reconnaissance patrol dead. After running into some of the southern Vietnamese troops. The marines opened fire at the smaller group of Vietnamese troops they first encountered. The interviewee survived the battle. Two interviews were conducted, the first one took place after two days of the event and the second one was conducted 34 years later. But Allison realized some distinctive differences between the two interviews. (Allison, 69). According to Allison, the first interview was a verbal portrait of the world of a marine battle, evidenced by interviewee being unemotional and business-like. His explanation of events is disorderly, narrow and detailed an image of confusion that surrounded the battle. While the second interview is merely a study of how memory restructures a battle experience, evidenced by how the same interviewee has restructured his explanation into a coherent story, with introduction, body and a conclusion. The second interview has everything, there is a sense of humor, drama and the interviewee added a lot of justification. But above all, there was a basic theme which came out openly in both interviews. The attention of colleagues, caring, supporting them, then attacking the enemy, precisely shows the spirit of marines battle (Allison 80).
The author loved the way they cared and supported fellow marines, but he did not like how the second interview seemed exaggerated, fabricated and unoriginal. Allison challenges the events with life stories as described by Linde in her book Life Stories. Linde says that life stories involve large-scale systems of social understandings and of knowledge that is grounded in a long history of practice although it was not interviewees life story the same values applies. (Allison 79). Allison would have looked for the other two survivors and get their part of the story to make the work stronger.
In this regard therefore, Allison published this article targeting mostly students ranging from high school to college. And the article contributes to an easy understanding of the American history through providing details of events as they occur. Give Me Liberty contradicts the article by saying that the superiority of ones nation is not as significant as being at liberty from war. For instance With the college students exempted from the draft, the burden of the fighting fell on the working class and the poor (Foner 985).
In conclusion, the work is important since it provides the reader with understanding of Vietnam War. It is also important since it states precisely how Vietnam War is in the mind of a tired marine in the middle of the war. Also the reader gets the opportunity to acquire knowledge about such unusual experience.
Allison, Fred H. "Remembering a Vietnam War firefight: changing perspectives over time." Oral History Review 31.2 (2004): 69-83.
Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty! An American History: Seagull Fourth Edition. Vol. 1. WW Norton & Company, 2013.
Herzog, Tobey C. Vietnam war stories: Innocence lost. Routledge, 2003.
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