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Rock 'n' Roll Soldier: A Memoir
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Rock 'n' Roll Soldier: A Memoir

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  48 ratings  ·  17 reviews
"During a time when none of us knew for sure if we would live or die, I came to know the true power of music."

Dean Kohler is about to make it big—he's finally scored a national record deal! But his dreams are abruptly put on hold by the arrival of his draft notice. Now he's in Qui Nhon, Vietnam, serving as a military policeman. He keeps telling himself he's a musician, no
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by HarperTeen (first published December 8th 2008)
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When Dean Kohler was 19 years old he was drafted to Vietnam. While serving as an MP he was asked by his commanding officer to start a band, to help soldiers keep their moral up. This is the story of Dean's year in Vietnam and the band The Electrical Banana told in his own words.

The story is interesting and Dean does manage to give an idea of just how bad it could be in Vietnam; however I don't think he really manages to stress just how lucky he really was. There is mention of people he met who
Rock 'n' Roll Soldier, a 278 pages book written by Dean Ellis Kohler, is an autobiography talking about how he (Dean) got drafted to Vietnam to serve as an MP. It is a great story showing how music can make you escape the cruel reality- in this case, war in Vietnam. Dean was a musician, a guitarist to be specific, he has had a band before but had to give up his passion to serve for the army. A tragic experience for him. What he didn't know yet though, was that he would eventually find his future ...more
Mary Beth
It’s 1966; Dean Kohler is going to Vietnam. He leaves behind a job, a girlfriend and a promise of a recording contract. After a year of basic training he lands in Qui Nhon as a member of the 127th Military Police Company. He patrols their camp, dubbed Dodge City; he guards Viet Cong prisoners at the EVAC hospital and visits with wounded American soldiers; he patrols in town cleaning up after explosions and accidents. CO, Captain Leadbettor, recalls a wailing good pre-departure concert in Fort Br ...more
Anthony G
I thought my book was an interesting read, but I thought it was going to be different from what it turned out to be. The only memoirs that I have read weren't longer than a page long and they were probably in my old “Skateboarder Magazine”. So picking up a two hundred-eighty paged memoir was different, but entertaining.
In the beginning of the book I expected a hook like any other book. This one did not have a hook but more of an introduction to himself (Dean) and his situation. I liked that thr
Dean was 19 when he was drafted by the Army to serve in Vietnam. Being drafted was like having someone hit the pause button on your life for nearly two years. Dean leaves behind a loving family, a girlfriend, his band, and a record deal to serve as a member of the Military Police in Qui Nhon. With the soldiers’ lives on hold and vicious fighting all around, Dean’s captain decides something needs to be done about troop morale. His solution: ask Dean to start a band. Rock’n’Roll Soldier is the sto ...more
Well-written and poignant. The story of how the author grew up in the midst of the Vietnam War. The author was a high school classmate. I enjoyed the references to Portsmouth, Va. and our high school, Cradock High School. I was taken back in time--- much of it was not a pleasant return to a time when we watched a war play out across our television screens in black and white. How much worse it had to be for a nineteen year old young man to put his dreams on hold and go away to a strange land. Thi ...more
Bennett Rosner
If Goodread's had a 4.5/5 option, than this book would get it.
Susan Adams
Great read! This was a very readable biography of a young (19 year-old) man who was drafted and sent to Viet Nam. He had just gotten a recording contract for his band but his draft made that impossible. This is the story of his time in Viet Nam where, at the urging of his commanding officer, he and several of his fellow soldiers formed a band that entertained troops there.
I liked this one a lot. I'm a fan of Vietnam War memoirs, and this one is an interesting story about life one step removed from the front line. not a literary masterpiece, but it reads fast and easy. I'm doubt it will have mass appeal with teens, since this war is ancient history, but with a little hand-selling it should find an audience.
Kohler experiences the redemptive power of music even in war. I really, really wanted to like this book, but I just can't see it being relevant for most of today's teens. The constant 'Nam jargon makes it feel dated and irrelevant, although it might be right for a teen with close ties to military service.
Chris Gross-Rhode
This story takes the reader to Vietnam with a musician who had to give up a record deal when he was drafted into the war. He and some friends form a band and entertain other servicemen. This is a good story that takes the reader into the jungles of Vietnam.
I completely agree with the review excerpt on the cover "A unique perspective to the Vietnam War. An easy and entertaining read." Can't wait to add it to the high school library collection!
Excellent memoir of a young man drafted into the Vietnam War discovering who he really is...
A classmate of mine recounts his time in Vietnam and how music kept his sanity.
Great, boy-friendly teen nonfiction.
An easy read, but a compelling one.
Emma Ball
Awesome awesome book.
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