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Hanoi Journal, 1967

Hanoi Journal, 1967

Carol Cohen McEldowney
Suzanne Kelley McCormack
Elizabeth R. Mock
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Hanoi Journal, 1967
    Book Description:

    In the fall of 1967, Carol McEldowney, a twentyfouryearold community organizer living in Cleveland, embarked on a remarkable journey. In a climate of growing domestic unrest and international turmoil, she traveled illegally to North Vietnam with fellow members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) to meet the enemy facetoface. She was determined to understand the foe that had troubled America's leaders in Washington since the end of World War II. With an eye toward history and a recognition of the significance of her journey, McEldowney documented her experiences in the journal reproduced in this book. Through her words we bear witness to a political ideology that saw a connection between the struggles of the poor in America and the tragedy of wartorn Vietnam. McEldowney first gained the respect of her fellow activists as a student organizer at the University of Michigan. High regard for her intelligence, skill, and hard work with SDS's Economic Recovery Action Program during the years following her graduation in 1964 earned her an invitation to attend an international conference in Czechoslovakia and an offer to continue on to North Vietnam. Though her journal displays only traces of the feminist consciousness that would mark her later political activism, she recorded her observations of North Vietnam clearly aware that she was an outsider—a woman not subject to the military draft, not married to a soldier, and without the heartache of a brother or even a close friend serving in the war. McEldowney searched for glimpses of everyday life that would help her to better relate to women in Hanoi and the hardships they faced during wartime. As she traveled in North Vietnam, she sought a deeper understanding of the events of her time. Her journal provides readers with a unique lens through which to study those events and gain a new perspective on the Vietnam War era.

    eISBN: 978-1-61376-128-1
    Subjects: Sociology, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)
    (pp. xiii-2)
    Suzanne Kelley McCormack

    In the fall of 1967, Carol Cohen McEldowney, a twenty-four-year-old community organizer living in Cleveland, Ohio, embarked on a journey that few Americans would dare to take. Amidst a climate of growing domestic unrest and international turmoil, McEldowney traveled illegally to North Vietnam. As the Johnson administration sank the United States deeper into a conflict for which there existed no simple solution, McEldowney went to Hanoi to meet the enemy face-to-face, determined to understand the foe that had troubled America’s leaders in Washington since the end of World War II. With an eye to history and a recognition of the...

  7. Carol Cohen McEldowney’s Hanoi Journal

    • European Preparations and the Journey to Hanoi, September 9–29, 1967
      (pp. 3-20)

      9 September 1967, I think, was the date we learned about the Hanoi trip. By the evening of the 11thselections were formalized, and the following people were to go¹:

      Tom Hayden

      Vivian Rothstein

      Rennie Davis

      John Brown

      John Wilson


      Bob Allen (National Guardian)

      Norm Fruchter

      Ron Young

      Stoney Cooks

      The morning of the 13theveryone left for Prague, from Bratislava.² Nick Egleson³ and some of the other Americans from the conference came to Prague as well. I went to Vienna for a day to arrange airline tickets and the like.

      In a Vienna hotel room—a strange one!—...

    • Hanoi, September 29–October 17, 1967
      (pp. 21-116)

      Nous sommes arrivés!

      From the air could see many lights over the city—I was surprised. Also the bridge over the Red River which was bombed while the DRV delegation was en route to Prague and still not completely repaired. Therefore we came to the city from the airport (where we were greatly welcomed, with flowers and much warmth) on a road (route 5) and then a ferry. A symbolic beginning. Strong pungent smell in the air; shelter holes along the road; ferry-repair crews; U.S. floodlights searching for planes (2 more American planes downed today, we were told); many helmets...

    • Reflections and the Journey Home, October 18–November 3
      (pp. 117-151)

      Crazy crazy reactions to leaving Hanoi. Returning to the “Free World”—Laos, what a place, positively invested with an American presence. Immediately I became suspicious of everyone—saw conspiracies all over. And it happened so quickly—2 hours post-Hanoi, when we arrived at the airport here last night. Varied reactions: genuine confusion about where I am (geographically); keep hearing sounds which I think are air alerts; language problems (mumbling Vietnamese phrases—càm òn, dong chi, tam bièt) to the Laotians at the desk who think I’m crazy. The movement, the transition happened so quickly—just pummeled back into another world...

  8. Back Matter
    (pp. 152-152)