My Detachment My Detachment
Kidder joined the army ou ...more
I like Tracey Kidder and his writing, based only on his book _The Soul of a New machine_, and my intention to read his book about Paul Farmer. This book, a memoir, confirmed my hunch that he is an excellent researcher and writer as well as an honest self-reflective person.
While I wouldn't rave about the book (eg. give it five stars) I thought it an important memoir to read, especially due to interests in writing, literature, and issues of integrity and duty. I am guessing he ...more
At its best, My Detachment resembles classic wartime satires like Catch-22 and M*A*S*H in its demonstration that the worst battles many soldiers face are against boredom and mindless military bureaucracy. Critics appreciated Kidder's eagerness to probe his lack of valor and his candor in disclosing his habit of inventing combat experiences to compensate for his unglamorous army career. It's an honest account of his military life. Yet it's also one that some critics considered pointless, as thoug...more
Quite a bit in the vein of how it changed him from a naive, idealistic child of privilege into a realist. Into someone who disagreed with a useless war begin with, and grew even more disillusioned at the incompetence of upper echelon and the body bags filled wi ...more
Like most who went to Vietnam, I was in a non-combat role like Kidder's. This book rings true to me. He catches the nuance that many of us experienced: an evolution from annoyed detachment to an unexpected involvement. But i was an em not an officer, and we had little sympathy for guys in roles like Kidder's. They came across to us as a little too privileged and arrogant. There were a lot of Panchos who enjoyed toying with them. But Kidder gets that too, and I give him credit for that.
Thankfully it was a short book, as I rarely quit reading a book and might have struggled to finish this one.