Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Cited by 2
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
October 2021
Print publication year:
Online ISBN:

Book description

Between 1981 and 2016, thousands of American and Australian Vietnam War veterans returned to Việt Nam. This comparative, transnational oral history offers the first historical study of these return journeys. It shows how veterans returned in search of resolution, or peace, manifesting in shifting nostalgic visions of 'Vietnam.' Different national war narratives shaped their returns: Australians followed the 'Anzac' pilgrimage tradition, whereas for Americans the return was an anti-war act. Veterans met former enemies, visited battlefields, mourned friends, found new relationships, and addressed enduring legacies of war. Many found their memories of war eased by witnessing Việt Nam at peace. Yet this peacetime reality also challenged veterans' wartime connection to Vietnamese spaces. The place they were nostalgic for was Vietnam, a space in war memory, not Việt Nam, the country. Veterans drew from wartime narratives to negotiate this displacement, performing nostalgic practices to reclaim their sense of belonging.


‘The return journeys to Vietnam of American and Australian war veterans raise complex questions involving memory, responsibility, and repentance. In this first-rate work of historical scholarship, Mia Martin Hobbs expertly addresses them. Perceptive, sophisticated, and engagingly written, Return to Vietnam is a book I've been waiting for years for somebody to write.'

Scott Laderman - University of Minnesota, Duluth

‘A thoughtful and impressive study of the varied attitudes of American and Australian Vietnam veterans towards the war, both then and now, the country and its people, and their individual places within that landscape. It will be essential reading for those interested in the aftermath of the war.'

Peter Dennis - Emeritus Professor of History, The University of New South Wales Canberra

‘An insightful book on the differing experiences, memories, and perspectives of American and Australian war veterans, and what Vietnam and the war symbolize. Dr Mia Martin Hobbs provides a nuanced exploration of the complexities and contradictions in the veteran accounts related.'

Nathalie Huynh Chau Nguyen - Monash University

‘Original, thought-provoking, and multi-dimensional, Return to Vietnam offers readers a comparative perspective on American and Australian veteran travels to Vietnam since 1975. Mia Martin Hobbs grounds this book in rich, and sometime searing, oral histories. She succeeds in achieving an impressive balance between presenting veterans' personal accounts and offering her own powerful analysis of memory, national commemoration, personal trauma, and war.'

Jana K. Lipman - Tulane University

‘Return to Vietnam is excellent and is a significant addition to our understanding of the veteran experience, the Vietnam War, and its aftermath in Vietnam.’

Tom Richardson Source: History Australia

‘This is a fine book that deserves a wide readership.’

Bruce Scates Source: Australian Historical Studies

‘a rich study of memory and the aftermaths of conflict that strengthens existing perceptions about the importance of the home front to both the literal battlefield on which combat took place, as well as the figurative post-war battlefield existing within veterans themselves.’

Effie Karageorgos Source: War in History

Refine List

Actions for selected content:

Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Save to Kindle
  • Save to Dropbox
  • Save to Google Drive

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.