My Lai book coverLourdes University is pleased to announce its 2013 Distinguished Lectureship in American History & Culture, “My Lai: An American Atrocity during the Vietnam War” on Thursday, April 11, at 7 p.m. in the Franciscan Center. Guest lecturer is William T. Allison, PhD, Chair of Georgia Southern University’s Department of History.

Author to more than a dozen military history books and articles, Dr. Allison’s latest work My Lai: An American Atrocity in the Vietnam War was published last July by The John Hopkins University Press and includes much of the latest scholarly research on what occurred in My Lai.

The My Lai massacre
The My Lai massacre, which took place during the Vietnam War, is known not for its high death toll, but for the brutal nature of the killings that took place within the village, involving mostly innocent men, women and children.

For more than 40 years, My Lai has drawn the attention of Americans of various political avenues – the breadth of news reports and scholarly accounts on the subject highlight the difficulty of establishing fact and motive in an incident during which confusion, prejudice, and self-preservation overwhelmed the troops.

Dr. Allison’s My Lai prologue begins by describing the massacre, “On March 16, 1968, soldiers of Task Force Barker killed as many as 500 Vietnamese men, women, and children in a village complex in Quang Ngai Province called Son My. Of these soldiers, several from Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 11th Infantry, committed most of the killing in a hamlet identified on American maps as My Lai, known to Vietnamese as Xom Lang. The incident remained something of a secret for almost a year. Once revealed, it spawned investigations that implicated dozens of soldiers and officers in the killing and/or subsequent cover-up. Of these, however, only a handful ultimately stood before a court-martial, with only 1 convicted of any wrongdoing.”

About William T. Allison
Dr. Allison serves as a tenured Professor and Chair of the Department of History at Georgia Southern University. He is also currently serving (2012-2013 academic year) as the General Harold K. Johnson Chair in Military History at the US Army War College in Carlisle, PA. Previously, he served as a Visiting Professor at the US Air Force School for Advanced Air and Space Studies, and at the US Air Force War College.

He earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in history at Texas A&M University, and a PhD in history from Bowling Green State University.

Dr. Allison’s primary academic focus is on US diplomatic and military history – since graduating from BGSU, Dr. Allision has authored or co-authored a combination of 16 book and magazine articles on this subject. Dr. Allison also serves on the editorial advisory board for the Journal of Military History.

This program is made possible, in part, by the Ohio Humanities Council with support by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the program do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities, or of the Ohio Humanities Council.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

My Lai: An American Atrocity in the Vietnam War will be available for purchase and signing after the lecture. For more information, contact Dwayne Beggs, PhD, Assistant Professor of History, at 419-824-3648 or abeggs@lourdes.edu.