BETHANY, W.Va. – A Vietnam War historian and author of Rolling Stone’s top music book of 2015 will speak during Bethany College’s annual Homecoming weekend.

Doug Bradley PortraitDoug Bradley, Bethany class of 1969, will present “We Gotta Get Out of this Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War” at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 28 in the Academic Parlour on the second floor of Old Main. Anyone interested in music and the Vietnam era is encouraged to attend this free lecture.

Bradley was drafted in 1970 and served a year as information specialist at the U.S. Army Republic of Vietnam headquarters near Saigon. After graduate school, he moved to Madison, Wis., where he helped establish a community-based service center for Vietnam vets.

Co-written with Craig Werner, “We Gotta Get Out of this Place” explores how and why U.S. troops turned to popular music as way of connecting with other soldiers and people back home and of coping with their war experiences.

Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’,” Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze,” Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools,” Country Joe and the Fish’s “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son,” and The Animal’s tune that lends the book its title are just some of the personal anthems adopted by U.S. soldiers.

We Gotta Get Out Of This PlaceThe book explores the personal reflections of all classes of Vietnam veterans – black, white, Latino and Native American, men and women, officers and “grunts.”

In addition to the book’s praise by Rolling Stone, “We Gotta Get Out of this Place” was the 2015 Paste Best Nonfiction Book, and the 2016 Choice Outstanding Academic Title and Community College Top 75 Titles, both by the 2016 Association of College and Research Libraries.

Bradley also is the author of “DEROS Vietnam: Dispatches from the Air-Conditioned Jungle.”


Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.