Best Time to Set Vietnam Era Coming of Age Novel?

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  1. BethFairweather profile image82
    BethFairweatherposted 22 months ago

    Can I pick your lovely brains?  I am currently working on a rough draft of a novel set sometime during the Vietnam war in America.  I can't decide the best time to set it, it will be over one year.  I need a time when the war was in full swing and protests were in earnest BUT I am really not fond of the later years like when everyone was a hippie.  For the story I'm writing I need the mood in America to be torn between tradition and current events.  I am leaning towards 64 or 65, but I am worried that would be too early for the protests?  Would I be better to go to 66 or 67?  Later?  I don't want to go further than 69 if at all possible.  Anyone on here who experienced it as a teen or young adult?  I know I can do research but I'm having trouble finding what I'm looking for.  I did watch the Ken Burns doc so I have that insight.  Thanks for any suggestions!  (the main character is only 16 and I want him to be kind of on the edge of being innocent and not so innocent, not a radical but wanting to know more about the current situation)

    1. GA Anderson profile image93
      GA Andersonposted 22 months agoin reply to this

      Hi Beth, my suggestion would be 1968 into 1969. I think it was a transitional period both in the national and political mood of our nation. Politically the baton was passed from a president that supported the war, Johnson, and a new president who wanted out of it, Nixon. Nationally, it was also the time when the war really burst into our national  consciousness.


  2. BethFairweather profile image82
    BethFairweatherposted 22 months ago

    Thank you!  The more I have read it does have me leaning more towards that time period.  The whole thing is so fascinating!

  3. mactavers profile image93
    mactaversposted 22 months ago

    If you get a chance to watch the Ken Burns Vietnam Series, it will give you a comprehensive,unbiased view of the start, middle and end of that sad era.  For those of us who lived through it, I learned so many things I didn't know.

    1. BethFairweather profile image82
      BethFairweatherposted 22 months agoin reply to this

      Yes I have watched it, I loved it!  I guess that's what started my subconscious traveling in this direction, because initially it was just going to be this story about a 16 year old boy with an older brother, then suddenly the older brother became a wounded war veteran.  Isn't it funny how things just come to us?  That character to me just had to be this guy who was wounded in Vietnam.  I love documentaries on this era because I was born in 1969 and know so little about it.

  4. Bill Yovino profile image89
    Bill Yovinoposted 22 months ago

    I would say that 68-69 would be ideal.

  5. Bill Yovino profile image89
    Bill Yovinoposted 22 months ago

    Btw - I was 16 at that time.

    1. BethFairweather profile image82
      BethFairweatherposted 22 months agoin reply to this

      That's so cool!  I was born in 1969 and so I know zilch, aside from what I've gleaned in my research so far.  I'm sure some of my friends must have had fathers who were in the war but no one really talks about it. They didn't even cover much of this in school when I went.  Can I ask you a little bit about what it was like then, at 16?  What was high school like in those days, was everyone a "hippie" or were there more traditional students?  Hope you don't mind my asking, I'm having trouble finding info on this, the internet tends to lump everyone into the "protest" group and not talk about other groups.  Thanks for anything you can share!


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