Free with Museum Admission
Recommended for ages 9–12 and their adults
All weekend long we are exploring the Vietnam War in honor of our exhibition The Vietnam War: 1945-1975. This month, our Reading into History Family Book Club is discussing acclaimed author Russell Freedman's comprehensive look at the war, Vietnam: A History of the War. At the meeting, veterans Herbert Sweat and Barbara Chiminello join us to discuss their experiences and answer questions. After book discussion and Q&A, we'll explore the exhibition and take a look at an item donated by Ms. Chiminello.
About Vietnam: A History of the War
In this latest work, Freedman accomplishes the difficult task of contextualizing for middle graders one of America’s most confusing and fraught wars. Freedman takes readers through the origins of the conflict in the region through the major turning points in the war and ends with an epilogue about Vietnam today. “Only a nonfiction master craftsman can take such complicated history and craft a slim volume so clear, readable, and fascinating without sacrificing significant historical detail and nuance.” (Kirkus reviews, 2016)
Herbert Sweat was born and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn and served in the U.S. Army from April 1966 to October 1970. He earned honors and medals for his gallantry, bravery, and commitment. As a Veterans Service Officer, he assists veterans with medical, employment, and compensation issues, among other things. Sweat has also been a leader of the Black Veterans for Social Justice and helped their Veterans Action Group become one of the most powerful veterans' self-help groups in New York City. His work has been recognized by various community service organizations, the New York Press, and the Mayor of New York City. In 2013, Mr. Sweat was featured in Phillip Napoli's book, "Bringing It All Back Home and Oral History of New York City's Vietnam Veterans." He has eight children and 23 grandchildren.
Barbara Chiminello was originally a New Englander (born in Quincy Mass) but lived in various places as an "army brat" through her childhood. Chiminello served in in the U.S. Army in Vietnam as a nurse for two tours in Nha Trang and Pleiku, respectively. She retired as a health consultant with the Department of Defense in Heidelberg, Germany, and is currently living in NYC happily as a professional artist and grandmother of five. You can learn more about Ms. Chiminello and her late brother's stories in our exhibition, The Vietnam War: 1945-1975.
About the Reading into History Family Book Club
Every month families read a historical fiction or nonfiction book together at home and then attend a Book Wrap event, where they share reactions to the book, see cool museum artifacts and documents related to the story, and meet other history detectives and special guests! Past special guests have included authors Walter Dean Myers, Avi, Laurie Halse Anderson, and Jewell Parker Rhodes, plus museum curators, historians, and other experts.