I was in walking past the Boston Public Library last week and found a book about Southeast Asia by Tillman Durdin sitting outside in a box marked “FREE”.  I ended up reading part of it on the train and thought I should comment on some of the information regarding the social climate of the 1960’s during the Vietnam War since it relates to the example* (*regarding Daniel Berrigan’s robbery at the draft office) I gave in some of my metaethics essays recently. (I have yet to read the late Michael Herr’s “Dispatches” but now that I am halfway through the book I think this is a great book to read first…If you can get over the sexism in the book.)

Sexism in the 1960’s

Durdin makes some generalizations about women’s bodies that I thought deserved discussion. If I was an editor I might edit out the comments about female ethnicity that Durdin makes. (I found them mildly offensive.) I think it is interesting that these comments have made it into a book that is otherwise a realist depiction of culture in Southeast Asia during what I have called in other essays “internecine conflict” in Vietnam. Internecine conflict means that the war with Vietnam was bad for everyone involved and that many people and animals were killed.

Social Climate of the 1960’s in American Universities according to Tillman Durdin

Although the United States never voted on whether they should send troops to Vietnam or formally declared war there were still attempts to educate students on the issues involved with a Communist takeover. Durdin discusses teach-ins on college campuses that were intended to spark debate on the United State’s foreign policy. He singles out two professors, Dr. Hans J. Morgenthau of the University of Chicago who was against the war in Vietnam and Professor Robert A. Scalapino of the University of California who thought the United States should help the South Vietnamese population fight against “Communist tyranny”.  Durdin mentions that there was a political party in South Vietnam that wanted to have a Communist government. He also outlines some of the work that the Peace Corps was doing in an effort to build the school systems, medical facilities, road systems and agriculture.