Monday, December 24, 2018

Book Review: 'Our Vietnam Wars: as told by more veterans who served, Volume 2' by William F. Brown

Our Vietnam Wars by William F. Brown
More testimonies from those who served and survived

Florida author William F. Brown has penned nine suspense novels and four award-winning screenplays. His specialty is thriller stories that step into the arena of espionage – a very popular topic at this particular time. William is a native of Chicago, received undergraduate and graduate degrees in History and Russian Area studies and City Planning from The University of Illinois, and served as a Company Commander in the US Army. He then raveled widely in the US and abroad as a Vice President of the real estate subsidiary of a Fortune 500 corporation. William is also a landscape artist.

After the widespread success of William’s initial OUR VIETNAM WARS Volume 1 it was expected that there would be more volumes coming, especially as so many veterans wished to share their experiences. So here is Volume 2, a continuation of the Vietnam War from 1955 to 1975 reported in article format by more veterans of that war. The articles are brief but pungent and are accompanied by the photographs of the veterans at present and at the time of service. The result is a survey of all phases of that too long and miscalculated war in Vietnam that drew such negative attention from not only the Vietnamese but also from the global communities – such as France who had just left the Vietnam landscape as we arrived. But even more pungent is the crisis at home – the flowerchild protestors who greeted returning veterans with disrespect, an aspect of returning home to the very people for whom they were protecting that simply compounded the rampant PTSD and Agent Orange illnesses that resulted from serving in Vietnam.

This second book is important to read for the descendants of the veterans and perhaps it will help communicate the too often buried thoughts about the Vietnam conflict. For those of us who served in that war (this reviewer was a Battalion Surgeon assigned to the USMC directly out of Internship during the peak of the war) this book provides a sense of camaraderie – a relief that some are addressing that contentious war from the stance of 60 of those who were directly involved – Navy corpsmen, combat medics, A-6 pilots taking out bridges and SAM sites in North Vietnam, machine gunners in I-Corps, mechanics working on the rolling deck of a big carrier on Yankee Station, squad leaders on infantry sweeps in “the Arizona Territory,” truck convoys under fire, riverine patrol boats in the Delta, Coast Guard “Jolly Green” search and rescue helicopters pulling downed pilots from the jungle, tank platoons in an all-out armor assault, Loach pilots in hunter-killer teams, and many more -- from the Delta to the DMZ.

And as we continue to drudge through the incessant wars in the Middle East (and at home) perhaps Brown’s book will provide some insights into the mental strain and scars that war in general inflicts. As Wilfred Owen stated, ‘My subject is War, and the pity of War, The Poetry is in the pity.’ Recommended reading. 

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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