My Fall 2020 Course

HIST. 4200 Oral History Theory & Practice
Course Code: 5182
Tuesday and Thursday 6:05 PM-7:45 PM
For course permission, email

This course is an investigation in to the processes and procedures of oral history, and the ways this technique can be employed in the study of history. Together we will learn how to conduct interviews and create appropriate archival records about them and discuss the various ways oral testimony can be used.

Because oral history is a technique, this is a project-based course in which you will be learning theory and method, not “facts” about a particular time or place. Additionally, this is a ‘hands-on’ course. You learn by reading, certainly, but also by doing.

You will design and run your own oral history project and create a presentation that demonstrates your skill at collecting, interpreting and sharing oral history. The assignments along the way are designed to move you toward that goal by having you read, think and write about both about oral history broadly and about the particular oral histories you collect.

John Jay African American Military History Luncheon

Today I am speaking at John Jay College, stepping in on behalf of my good friend Anthony Wallace. Wallace was the scheduled speaker but he is ill. This is the Annual African-American Military Heritage Luncheon.

Wallace served as a sergeant in 1st Cav Division of the United States Army in Vietnam in 1970. He was wounded April 15, almost 50 years ago.

#vietnamwar #militaryhistory

Guest Lecturer

On 2/18, I gave a guest lecture in Emily Horowitz’s class @StFranciscollege. An engaged bunch of students. I loved having two Vietnam veterans in the class with us! Thank you for this opportunity and privilege!

Reader Mail

I don’t often receive email about Bringing It All Back Home, so when I do, it is a treat. I found this in my Facebook messages this morning:

“Good Morning Phil, So I thought I had read “Bringing it all Back Home”. I hadn’t, I was wrong. I finished it last night at about 2:00 AM. I found myself in your book, such commonalities as to be creepy. The event that stirred me to activism was the Welcome home parade for the Iranian hostages. I also went on a 25-year bender, drinking myself into oblivion nearly every night. I joined the VVAW and left because they became too radical. I “Found” VVA at a street fair in Queens I was covering for a local newspaper. Pat Toro recruited me. Clean and sober since 2003, I got really active in VVA. I still have nightmares (Sleeping and waking) but I’m in a group at the Vet Center that meets weekly. I thank you for writing “Bringing it All Back Home” and I’ll be telling others about it. If a Vietnam Veteran Can’t see himself in the book, he isn’t looking. Thanks once again.”

Oral History and Moral Injury

Academic publication frequently means “print.” The @oralhistreview has given me the opportunity to share some of the audio recordings that shaped my understanding of moral injury. Listen here: … #moralinjury #oralhistory

New Mini-Documentary

Brooklyn College has posted a mini-documentary featuring me and two women who served in Vietnam. (Gotta say, I ain’t a TV natural!)

This was shot over a year ago, and it highlights two amazing women. Sue O’Neil was a nurse at the 27th Surgical Hospital in Vietnam, and Dr. Jeannie Christie served as a Red Cross volunteer in Vietnam – a ‘Donut Dolly.’

We did this because it is my opinion that the Ken Burns epic documentary on Vietnam that airs in fall 2017 severely slighted the stories of American women in Vietnam. As Dianne Carlson Evans, the founder of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial frequently points out, perhaps 260,000 American women lived worked and served in Vietnam during the war years.