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Wandering Souls: Journeys With the Dead and the Living in Viet Nam
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Wandering Souls: Journeys With the Dead and the Living in Viet Nam

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  28 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
On March 19, 1969, First Lieutenant Homer R. Steedly, Jr., shot and killed a North Vietnamese soldier, Dam, when they met on a jungle trail. Steedly took a diary—filled with beautiful line drawings—from the body of the dead soldier, which he subsequently sent to his mother for safekeeping. Thirty-five years later, Steedly rediscovers the forgotten dairy and begins to confr ...more
Hardcover, 376 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by Nation Books (first published September 8th 2009)
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Larry Bassett
Dec 23, 2011 Larry Bassett rated it really liked it
Recommended to Larry by: terry schaaf
Shelves: war
Two young men meet on a jungle path: one American, one North Vietnamese. The American is quicker to react and kills the Vietnamese soldier. A diary from the soldier makes it way eventually to the attic of the American’s mother where it is left for three decades. The deadly event on the path remained in the mind of the American who rediscovers the diary and sets out on a journey to return to Viet Nam to find the family of the young man he killed and to seek their forgiveness. This book is a inten ...more
Julian Tan
Nov 11, 2010 Julian Tan rated it liked it
An engaging read, the author describes the fateful meeting of two men on opposite sides of the war on a secluded jungle path. One died, and the other lived with the heavy burden and guilt for 30 years, before embarking on a journey of reconciliation with the family and relatives.

It's not often that one walks in the shoes of one's enemy, and the author does exactly that - meticulously describing the background and past of the two men, their upbringings and ideals and what motivated them to make t
Mar 12, 2014 Blake rated it it was ok
Shelves: war-holocaust
I found the first half of this book completely engaging as we follow Homer through his tense battles in Viet Nam and the unfortuante death of the young North Vietnamese medic Dam. However, the pace of the book slows down when Homer's tour of Viet Nam finshes. The book then turns from a week-by-week battle diary into a soft, philosophical and 'emotional' review. It becomes quite heavy and drawn out until the inevitable meeting of Homer and Dam's family many years into the future. While uplifting ...more
Mar 14, 2014 Armatstorage rated it liked it
It was fascinating. I only skimmed it tho, and didn't read many of the words.
Feb 21, 2011 Caitlin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Follows the story of a US soldier who killed a Vietnamese man in the war, stole the guy's diary and then 30 years later returns to Vietnam to give the diary back to the man's family. This book is almost kind of like 'I can't belive that really happened' kind of twist here and there, and is a fascinating look at Vietnamese culture, history and post-traumatic stress for the US soldiers over the decades.
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Wayne Karlin has been called by Tim O'Brien "one of the most gifted writers to emerge from the Vietnam War." He has written four previous novels in addition to his books with curbstone: Crossover, Lost Armies, The Extras and US. Karlin co-edited the first anthology of Viet Nam war veteran fiction, Free Fire Zone, and in 1995, he co-edited The Other Side of Heaven: Post War Fiction by Vietnamese an ...more
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