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Seminar Topic: ''The Killing Zone'' pp.15-238.
Seminar Topic: ''The Killing Zone'' pp.15-238.

The Killing Zone: My Life in the Vietnam War
Frederick Downs

How does account affirm and/or complicate what you already know about the Vietnam War through popular culture, history classes, and family stories?

Pick a few themes and specific incidents from the reading that stand out to you. Why do you find these moments meaningful or surprising? How do they forward your understanding of the war?

Part 1
Why is Downs writing this account? (take a look at the preface for a hint)

What are expectations when he first arrives in Vietnam? How are these expectations challenged? Why does he go to war?

How would you describe early encounters with the Vietnamese people? (Keep in mind there are different categories of Vietnamese civilians, fighters, ARVN.) Why do the soldiers refer to the Vietnamese as or ?

What are some of examples of the daily trials faced by American infantry soldiers fighting in Vietnam? How did the environment itself fight against the American soldiers?

How did various soldiers deal with the strain of war?

What does Downs say about racial relationships in the platoons?

Part 2
How does experience at the bridges differ from his time in the jungle? How are they the same? Does his time in the jungle change him?

What kind of insight does account give readers into the American mission in Vietnam? What were these soldiers doing out in the jungle what was their overall mission? What was the American overall mission? How would you characterize the fighting?

What role does technology play in the war?

In your opinion, what was the most significant burden faced by American soldiers in Vietnam?

What does Downs see as his role in the war?

Downs has the opportunity to leave the jungle after death. Why does he stay?

This section ends with the sentence, platoon I took back was not the platoon I had brought (184). What does Downs mean by that?

Part 4
By the end of the book, how has Downs changed?

How do you think the book would be different if told from a Vietnamese perspective?

The war in Vietnam will become an unpopular one, for many soldiers as well as the civilians at home. Why do you think that is? What evidence from the book supports your claim?
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Seminar Topic: ''The Killing Zone'' pp.15-238.