More than 58,000 American troops and military personnel died in the humid jungles and muddy rivers of Vietnam during the 20-year conflict called the Vietnam War. Why? What were they fighting for? And how could the world’s most powerful and technologically advanced military be defeated by a small, poverty-stricken country? These questions have haunted the U.S. government, the military, and the American public for nearly a half century. In The Vietnam War, kids ages 12 to 15 explore the global conditions and history that gave rise to the Vietnam War, the reasons why the United States became increasingly embroiled in the conflict, and the varied causes of its shocking defeat. As readers learn about how the fear of the spread of communism spurred the United States to enter a war that was erupting on the other side of the world, they find themselves immersed in the mood and mindset of the Vietnam Era. Through links to online primary sources, including speeches, letters, photos, and songs, readers become familiar with the reality of combat life for young American soldiers, the frustration of military advisors as they failed to subdue the Viet Cong, and the empty promises made by U.S. presidents to soothe an uneasy public. The Vietnam War also pays close attention to the development of a massive antiwar movement and counterculture that divided the country into “hawks” and “doves.” In-depth essential questions help middle schoolers analyze primary sources and develop their own evidence-supported views on a range of issues. The Vietnam War also fosters critical thinking skills through projects such as creating antiwar and pro-war demonstration slogans, writing letters from the perspective of a U.S. soldier and a south Vietnamese citizen, and building arguments for and against the media’s coverage of the war. Additional learning materials include engaging illustrations, maps, a glossary, a bibliography, and resources for further independent learning. The Vietnam War is one book in a set of four that explore great events of the twentieth century. Other titles in this set include Globalization: Why We Care About Faraway Events; World War II: From the Rise of the Nazi Party to the Dropping of the Atomic Bomb; and The Space Race: How the Cold War Put Humans on the Moon.