Traveling to Vietnam is the first book to document the little-known activities of the American peace activists who traveled to Vietnam to meet with officials in Hanoi, and with the National Liberation Front. What began as an effort to provide information about the war to the American public encouraged travelers to organize mail deliveries between American prisoners of war in Hanoi and their families at home.
Activists included Mary Clarke of Women Strike for Peace, Staughton Lynd, former director of the 1964 Mississippi Freedom schools, Dr. George Perera of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons ( who researched the effects of defoliants that Americans used during the war), Elizabeth Boardman of A Quaker Action Group,
Joseph Elder of the American Friends Service Committee, and actress Jane Fonda.
Although Washington officials opposed their endeavors, seized their passports and bank accounts, and usually refused to issue licenses for medical equipment and supplies, the activists continued their efforts. By 1967, they averaged one delegation trip a month to Hanoi. They continued to bring back news from North Vietnam and won the release of some American pilots.
Mary Hershberger is instructor of American history at Capital University, Columbus, Ohio.
6 x 9, 292 pages, 7 black and white illustrations, 1 maps