The Best Vietnam War Audiobooks, Fiction and Nonfiction

History is often complicated, biased, or missing key information, especially when it comes to war. Arm yourself with comprehensive knowledge of the conflict with our selection of titles detailing the Vietnam War.

The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, was a long, costly, and divisive conflict in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia that endured from November 1, 1955, to April 30, 1975. This was a war that saw the Communist government of North Vietnam fighting against South Vietnam and its principal ally, the United States. During the Vietnam War, more than three million people were killed, including 58,000 Americans. More than half of those casualties were Vietnamese civilians, including children. Ultimately, the war ended in 1975 when Communist forces seized control of South Vietnam and established the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. 

The effects of the Vietnam War were devastating, and the war itself was extremely controversial. In the United States, sentiments about the war created fierce divisions. As the war continued, more and more citizens began to question our country's involvement. By 1970, only a third of the US population believed that our troops should have been sent to Vietnam. The high-profile oppositions to the war lead to mass protests, not only in the United States but around the globe.

Over the past four decades, many people have written about the Vietnam War in an effort to make sense of the raging debates, the staggering death and destruction, and the lingering trauma. Here are some of the most notable audiobooks about this complex and problematic war, from fiction to nonfiction, personal stories to histories.

 

Best Historical Fiction Vietnam War Audiobooks

The Mountains Sing

The Mountains Sing

The Mountains Sing tells a multigenerational story of the Trần family against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. The saga starts with Trần Diệu Lan, a woman who was forced to flee her family farm with her six children when the Communist government began to rise in the North. The family is further torn apart by the war, and as members head off on the Hồ Chí Minh Trail to fight, Trần Diệu Lan's granddaughter Hương comes of age in Hà Nội. This sweeping novel depicts the heartbreak of war from the perspective of one family utterly destroyed by it.

The Sympathizer

The Sympathizer

The Sympathizer is a beautifully crafted, Pulitzer Prize-winning debut novel from author Viet Thanh Nguyen. In April 1975, Saigon is in chaos. And while the general of the South Vietnamese army and his compatriots are planning to start a new life in Los Angeles, they are unaware that their every word is being observed and reported back to the Viet Cong. This novel unfolds a gripping tale of high-stakes espionage, while capturing the tumultuous political climate in Vietnam at the end of the war.

The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried

When you think Vietnam War fiction, The Things They Carried is likely the first book that comes to mind. In this exclusive audiobook version of Tim O'Brien's enduring classic, the stories of American soldiers in the Vietnam war are narrated by three-time Emmy Award winner Bryan Cranston. This audiobook also includes an exclusive recording, “The Vietnam in Me," in which O'Brien himself recounts his trip back to Vietnam in 1994.

 

Best Historical Vietnam War Audiobooks

We Were Soldiers Once... and Young

We Were Soldiers Once... and Young

We Were Soldiers Once... And Young is an intense look at one of the most savage and significant battles of the Vietnam War: the Ia Drang campaign in 1965. For this book, General Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway interviewed hundreds of soldiers who fought in Ia Drang Valley, including the North Vietnamese commanders. The result of their research and interviews is a crushingly vivid depiction of what those days were like on the ground during the fighting.

Vietnam

Vietnam

What led the United States to intervene in the war in Vietnam? And why were the decisions the US government made in regards to the war so controversial? In Vietnam: A History, American journalist and historian Stanley Karnow looks at the realities behind America's war in Vietnam. Karnow argues that America's leaders entered into the fray without having a clear understanding of the situation in Vietnam. As a result, many individuals needlessly suffered and died. For this comprehensive history, Karnow draws from secret documents and exclusive interviews with hundreds of participants on both sides of the war.

Fire in the Lake

Fire in the Lake

Fire in the Lake is a thoughtful history of not just the war in Vietnam but of the entire country. American journalist Frances FitzGerald offers a compassionate look at Vietnam, drawing from years of research and travels. Taking listeners back to the traditional ancestor-worshipping villages of Vietnam's past, the audiobook traces the conflicts caused by Communism, the religious upheavals, the years of French colonialism, America's ill-fated intervention in the war, and much more. Originally published in 1972, Fire in the Lake was the first history of Vietnam written by an American, and this listen continues to stand out for highlighting all the ways Americans misunderstood Vietnam during its years at war.

The Vietnam War

The Vietnam War

It's been 40 years since the Vietnam War ended, and still its horrors continue to haunt the United States. The war divided our country and fueled large debates about US intervention in foreign conflicts, arguments that exist to this day. This listen draws on interviews from people involved at all levels of the Vietnam War on both sides to provide a thoroughly researched and nuanced look at the chaos and intensity of the war. While a font of information on its own, The Vietnam War: An Intimate History is the companion audiobook to the major multipart PBS documentary that aired in September 2017 and is well worth checking out.

 

Best Vietnam War Memoir Audiobooks

When Heaven and Earth Changed Places

When Heaven and Earth Changed Places

This brutally honest memoir is a look at the Vietnam War from the perspective of a civilian in Vietnam who experienced the effects of the war firsthand. Le Ly Hayslip was only 12 years old when US helicopters landed in her village. She was sexually assaulted by the Viet Cong and imprisoned and tortured by the South Vietnamese. Eventually, she fled to the United States to escape the horrors of the war, and it wasn't until 1986 that she was reunited with her Vietnamese family. In this memoir, Hayslip tells the story of her return to Vietnam while reflecting on the terrors of her past.

The Sorrow of War

The Sorrow of War

Originally published against the wishes of the Vietnamese government, The Sorrow of War has since become a best seller and gained critical acclaim. It is an honest, searing memoir of the Vietnam War from the perspective of a former Vietnam soldier, Bao Ninh. This is Ninh's story about how the war not only changed his life but the lives of everyone he knew and the fate of his country.

A Rumor of War

A Rumor of War

A Rumor of War is a deeply personal account of the experiences of one American soldier—a platoon commander in the first combat unit sent to Danang—fighting in the trenches of the Vietnam War. But on a more universal level, Philip Caputo's memoir offers an unflinching view of the atrocities committed in Vietnam by ordinary men all in the name of survival and also speaks to the horrors of war in general.

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