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Forty years ago, for the first time in history, ordinary families were directly confronted with the horrors of war even though they might not have had any relatives involved. As the new technology of television became common in family homes, the events of the Vietnam War could be seen daily as part of the evening news bulletin - suddenly the war was in everyone's lounge room.
In previous conflicts in which Australians were involved, the news came through newspaper articles, photographs and movie newsreels and it was often weeks old. Because of Australia's isolation, people viewed these news items in a detached way and, by and large, went about their daily lives, perhaps inconvenienced but not confronted.
Many of those who returned from the war, did not talk about what they had seen and done - to do so would recall horrors best forgotten.
But now, with the flick of a switch, they could see the conflict and carnage, the destruction and death and the war became real again. In this context, war was no longer perceived as an exciting adventure where young men could prove their manhood, and throughout the USA, Australia and New Zealand there was a huge groundswell of protest that divided families, communities and nations.
In Red Haze, author Leon Davidson examines the causes and the combatants of the war and the key events of 1959-1975 which tore nations apart, both on the battlefield and at home.
Leon Davidson was born and raised in Christchurch, New Zealand.
He moved to Australia for six years, living and working in Melbourne before returning to his native country. Leon has worked as a dishwasher, a house painter, in a call centre, and in a chicken factory.
Red Haze is Leon Davidson's second book. His first, Scarecrow Army, was published in 2006.
Although Leon has always had an interest in war, it was not until he was exposed to Australia's interest in Gallipoli that he started to investigate New Zealand's part in that conflict. His childhood dreams of becoming a soldier have now changed and he is actively opposed to armed conflict.
Researching Australian Military Service: Vietnam War
Vietnam War 1962-1973
Vietnam 30 Years On
Roll of Honour
Australian War Memorial Kids HQ
Department of Veterans' Affairs
ANZAC Day Commemorative Committee of Queensland
Australians at War
Vietnam Veterans' Association of Australia
Vietnam War Songs
Before reading the book
During and after reading the book
To find the Vietcong, a country was torn apart. In questioning why they were there, Australia and New Zealand almost tore themselves apart.