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Boots on the Ground: America's War in Vietnam



The Vietnam War directly involved four U.S. presidents and cut short the lives of nearly 60,000 American soldiers during more than a decade of fighting. It polarized and divided our country in ways that still have not healed.

The history of this era is complex; the cultural impact extraordinary. But it’s the personal stories of eight people—six American soldiers, one American nurse, and one Vietnamese refugee—that create the heartbeat of Boots on the Ground. From dense jungles and terrifying firefights to chaotic medic rescues and evacuations, each individual experience reveals a different facet of the war and moves us forward in time. Alternating with these chapters are profiles of key American leaders and events, reminding us of all that was happening at home, from Kent State to Woodstock to Watergate.

Viking Young Readers 2018


“A necessary, conscientious look at a factious time in American and world history.”
Booklist, starred review

“A personal, moving foray into the Vietnam War and its impact...Partridge’s narrative storytelling is incisive and masterfully woven together.”  Kirkus, starred review

“What makes the book powerful beyond the historical facts, though, is how the war irrefutably changed the people who were there.” School Library Journal, starred review

“This indispensable volume brings a wise and humane lens to a confused and brutal conflict.” Horn Book, starred review

“The tandem placement of well-written textbook-style information with soul-searing personal dramas makes this compulsively readable while putting events and terms often encountered episodically into context.” BCCB, starred review  

"Partridge fleshes out this riveting, clear-eyed military history with narratives drawn from extensive interviews with eight individuals, including a Vietnamese refugee, describing their time in country.'" Chicago Tribune

Partridge trains a lens on five men who fought on the ground, plus a medic, a field nurse, and a Vietnamese refugee. The chronicle vividly brings to light their daily lives, the discrimination some encountered, and their loyalties and moral sensitivity to the war’s unending brutality. Publisher's Weekly



Interview with the Mercury News in San Jose, CA.

Speed Interview at Children's Book Review

I did a series of radio interviews on AM and FM stations, conservative to liberal. Here's a ten minute one with Joe Donahue at WAMC.



Want to read interviews with other veterans? Go to the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress. Interested in interviewing a veteran yourself? Make an audio or video recording of a veteran and it will be archived at the Library of Congress. Head over to the same place, the Veterans History Project and click on How to Participate.