Episode 1037 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will highlight another opinion of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s epic documentary The Vietnam War. Doug Bradley is a Vietnam Veteran who served as an information specialist stationed at Saigon in 1970, the same year he was drafted into the Army. He was interviewed by Scott Smith of the Big Ten Network where Bradley talked about his opinions about the documentary. The interview was featured in a story on the Big Ten Network website and was titled: Wisconsin vet and musicologist Doug Bradley talks about what Ken Burns’ Vietnam War miniseries gets right by Smith.
After Bradley left the Army in 1972 he has worked on behalf of veterans and has written two books about the war. His first book, DEROS Vietnam: Dispatches from the Air-Conditioned Jungle offers fictionalized accounts of rear echelon personnel. He co-authored along with Craig Werner the book We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War, explores how music wove through the experience of those who served. Today he lectures and teaches lessons of the war through the music and media of the time in a course called “The U.S. in Vietnam: Music, Media and Mayhem.
BTN LiveBIG asked Bradley the following questions:
- Are there themes or similar stories that people that you served with all cite?
- There’s this widely accepted canon of Vietnam-era songs that come up often: Doors, Buffalo Springfield, Creedence. Mostly white rock bands, aside from Jimi Hendrix. But I’m curious about songs or artists that were descriptive of the war experience for black or Native American or Latino soldiers.
- Why is it that music, in particular, seems to be a really instructive way to reveal the history of a particular time?
- For students taking this class now, this was more than 50 years ago. Is music a way to help them contextualize this and not have them think of it as history, but as something that has current resonance?
- Is there a lesson from war that we keep forgetting or has been left unexplored?
Listen to episode 1037 of this podcast to discover Bradley’s thought provoking responses.