By Michael Stewart Foley
At the peak of the Vietnam conflict, hundreds of thousands of usa citizens wrote relocating letters to Dr. Benjamin Spock, America’s pediatrician and a high-profile opponent of the struggle. own and heartfelt, considerate and unstable, those missives from center the USA offer an fascinating glimpse into the conflicts that happened over the dinner desk as humans wrestled with this divisive warfare and with their consciences.
Providing one of many first transparent perspectives of the house entrance through the warfare, Dear Dr. Spock collects the easiest of those letters and provides a window into the minds of normal american citizens. They wrote to Spock simply because he used to be accepted, reliable, and arguable. His booklet Baby and baby Care used to be at the cabinets of so much houses, moment in basic terms to the Bible within the variety of copies offered. beginning within the Nineteen Sixties, his activism within the antinuclear and antiwar activities drew combined reactions from Americans—some wondered, a few supportive, a few indignant, and a few desperate.
Most of the letters come from what Richard Nixon referred to as the “silent majority”—white, middleclass, law-abiding voters who the president notion supported the conflict to comprise Communism. in truth, the letters display a complexity of reasoning and feeling that strikes a long way past the opinion polls on the time. One mom of children struggles to visualize how Vietnamese ladies might suffer after their village was once napalmed, whereas one other chastises Spock for the “dark shadow” he had solid at the state and pledges to instill love of state in her sons.
What emerges is a portrait of articulate american citizens suffering mightily to appreciate govt guidelines in Vietnam and the way these regulations did or didn't mirror their very own experience of themselves and their country.
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Additional info for Dear Dr. Spock: Letters about the Vietnam War to America's Favorite Baby Doctor
You see, she is apprehensive of my participation in “demonstration” or things like that. She doesn’t like to “rock the boat” I guess we might say. And yet I cannot give up my interest in these things for a number of reasons. I would be a traitor to the university system who gave me some of the insight into the problems of our day. I owe it to my children to help to prepare a world they can live in with peace but I also feel responsible for children I do not even know, in Viet Nam or any other country that is torn by war.
Rockaway, New Jersey April 29, 1966 Dear Doctor Spock, My heart compels me to write and thank you for you article in Post. In raising our “three men,” I have often dragged out the book. How wonderful it was to have a friend. Your thoughts have been so like mine that I was amazed there was another nut in the world. Our boys are not perfect, heaven forbid! We have just loved them and really enjoyed growing up together. We do hope that you will lecture in a place where I have the courage to drive.
If we feel that injustice is being done in Vietnam, we should report the matter to the United Nations. N. S. to punish the North Vietnamese. “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” saith the Lord. We should trust Him, and the United Nations to try to make it work. One can argue that we fight to protect democracy. I sympathize with President Johnson in his persistent upholding of the traditional presidential helpful gesture that President Eisenhower started in 1954, because he preferred democracy to a communist government in Vietnam.
Dear Dr. Spock: Letters about the Vietnam War to America's Favorite Baby Doctor by Michael Stewart Foley