A two-part symposium on the Vietnam War will be held March 9-10 at the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt based on They Marched Into Sunlight, a book by David Maraniss. The events are free with limited seating available for the public on a first-come, first-served basis.
March marks the 50th anniversary of American combat troops entering the Vietnam War.
They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967, published in 2004, won the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize. In the book, Maraniss explores the Oct. 17, 1967, Battle of Ong Thanh in Vietnam and a simultaneous protest against Dow Chemical at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Maraniss, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt this semester, will participate in the symposium as will other figures featured in the book, including Clark Welch, the hero of the book, and Consuelo Allen, daughter of battalion commander Terry de la mesa Allen, who was killed in the Battle of Ong Thanh. Tom Schwartz, a Vanderbilt professor of history who is teaching a seminar on the Vietnam War with Maraniss this semester, will also participate.
The first event will be 7 p.m. Monday, March 9, and feature choreographer Robin Becker, associate professor of drama and dance at Hofstra University. Becker will introduce and narrate a video of the Robin Becker Dance Company performing “Into Sunlight,” a modern dance inspired by Maraniss’ book. Following the video there will be a discussion with Becker, Maraniss, Welch and Allen.
At 1:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 10, Maraniss and Schwartz will lead a discussion about the events in They Marched Into Sunlight and issues of war and peace. Portions of a C-SPAN documentary about the reporting for the book will be screened during this event, presented by Book TV’s Connie Doebele, who traveled to Vietnam with Maraniss.
Maraniss, an associate editor at The Washington Post, has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize three times, and won it in 1993 in the national reporter category for his newspaper coverage of then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton. He also was part of The Washington Post team that won a 2008 Pulitzer for the newspaper’s coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings.
Maraniss has written biographies of Al Gore, baseball player Roberto Clemente and football coach Vince Lombardi. His other books include Barack Obama: The Story; First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton; Rome 1960: The Summer Olympics that Stirred the World; and Into the Story: A Writer’s Journey through Life, Politics, Sports and Loss.
The First Amendment Center is at 1207 18th Ave. South.