On Oct. 17, 1967, 61 U.S. soldiers died in an ambush near Lai Khe, Vietnam. At the same time, student protesters at the University of Wisconsin clashed with police in one of the era's first violent antiwar demonstrations. In his finely detailed history of both events, veteran journalist Maraniss conveys the troops' abject terror, the palpable rage of the student mob, and the panicked response of the cops -- not to mention the desperate hand-wringing of the Johnson administration and the utter apathy of grad student Dick Cheney. ''Sunlight'' is more than just another Vietnam rehash, though. It's a vivid portrait of the individuals whom the war left dead or damaged, at the precise moment when they realized there was no glory in fighting in it or against it.