A Guide to the Home to War/Vietnam Veterans Archive, 1960s-2000s
Home to War: A History of the Vietnam Veterans Movement has been referred to as the definitive work on Vietnam veterans’ recovery, healing, and readjustment, 1960s to the present. Written by Gerald Nicosia and published in 2001, the book contains interviews and details gathered through 20 years of Nicosia’s work with Vietnam veterans, studying and documenting them as well as aiding in their recovery from the Vietnam War. The Los Angeles Times bestowed it the honor of one of the "best books" of 2001, and the Bay Area Book Reviewers Association nominated it for the best nonfiction of 2001.
Gerald Nicosia (1949-), born in Illinois, received his B.A. (1971) and M.A. (1973) in English and American Literature, with Highest Distinction in English, from the University of Illinois, Chicago. He is renowned for his biography of Jack Kerouac, Memory Babe (1983). He also edited and published Jan Kerouac: A Life in Memory (2009), about Jack Kerouac’s daughter, the novelist and poet. Nicosia has worked as a freelance journalist, interviewer, and literary critic. Additionally, he has been a professor of creative writing and journalism, a scriptwriter and narrator for public television, and a poet and fiction author.
Source: Gerald Nicosia. "Biography of Gerald Nicosia." Gerald Nicosia. http://www.geraldnicosia.com/html/geraldframeset2.html (accessed July 15, 2010).
The Home to War/Vietnam Veterans Archive, 1960s-2000s, contains tapes and transcripts of interviews, drafts, manuscripts, galley material, photographs, correspondence, notes, contracts, paintings, artifacts, and printed material related to the preparation, authorship, publication, and aftereffects of Home to War: A History of the Vietnam Veterans Movement. The collection includes various iterations of the book, from drafts to galleys, showing several transformations of the text as it made its way through four different publishers. Found in the archive is material written on Prisoners of War, Vietnam veterans’ connections with Russian veterans of the Afghan War, and other sections that never made it into the final draft.
The archive contains interviews Nicosia conducted during the research and writing of the book. Included are about 700 90-minute tapes interviews with over 600 Vietnam veterans, veterans’ rights activists, and others connected with the Vietnam veterans’ movement. Specific interviewees of note are Ron Kovic, John Kerry, Bobby Muller, and James Webb. Additionally, the collection contains about 20,000 pages of transcribed interviews with approximately 300 of the interviewees for the writing of the book.
Nicosia’s notebooks, comprised of notes taken during interviews with veterans as well as address books with contact information for many interviewees, can also be found in the collection. The collection contains general files, constituting materials used by Nicosia to write the book, such as articles and studies related to veterans and correspondence with veterans. Also in the archive are files requested by Nicosia from the FBI via the Freedom of Information Act in the course of putting together the book.
The archive further contains photographs, publications, and books that Nicosia utilized while researching and writing Home to War. Specifically, the photographs include both black and white and color prints taken by Nicosia of interviewees, Vietnam veteran symposia and conventions, and others. The publications consist of newspapers and magazines published by veterans groups, including some that are rare and may not exist elsewhere. Finally, books written by veterans and covering veteran-related topics can be found in the archive, many inscribed by the authors to Nicosia. Some exist only as photocopies.
Also present in the collection is a large amount of correspondence with veteran leaders and writers, including Ron Kovic, Larry Heinemann, W. D. Ehrhart, Jan Barry (founder of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, known as VVAW), and post-traumatic stress disorder pioneers such as Sarah Haley and Chaim Shatan. Furthermore, the collection documents Ron Kovic’s unpublished autobiography, After the War, co-written with Nicosia ca. 1990-1992, including drafts, notes, contracts, editorial correspondence, and the complete final draft.
This collection is open for research.
Gerald Nicosia retains copyright to any material that he authored or created. Contact repository for details.
A portion of this archive is stored remotely. Advance notice required for retrieval. Contact repository for retrieval.
Home to War/Vietnam Veterans Archive, 1960s-2000s, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers