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Citizen Soldier: Enemy in the Vietnam War

Renown authors and Vietnam veterans, Tim O’Brien and Karl Marlantes, discuss the difficult moral questions that go hand-in-hand with military conflicts as well as the concept of dehumanizing the “enemy”.

TIM O'BRIEN grew up in Worthington, Minnesota, graduating from nearby Macalester College in 1968 with a BS in political science. After college, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in the Americal Division in Vietnam, from 1969 to 1970. O’Brien has received numerous awards for his writing, including the National Book Award in fiction for Going after Cacciato in 1979 and the 2013 Pritzker Literature Award. His other works include the acclaimed novels The Things They Carried and In The Lake of the Woods.

KARL MARLANTES grew up in Seaside, Oregon. Upon graduation from Yale University, he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University. In 1969—after just one semester at Oxford—Marlantes decided to forego his scholarship and enlist for active duty with the U.S. Marines. After the war, Marlantes began to write about his experiences in Vietnam. His novel, Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War, was published in 2010 and became one of a New York Times top ten best sellers. In 2011, Marlantes published his first non-fiction work, What It is Like To Go To War.