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Don't Mean Nothing

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  48 ratings  ·  8 reviews
In this debut fiction collection--the first by a nurse who served in Viet Nam--Susan O'Neill offers a glimpse into the war from a female perspective. These stories are about women, and men, who served in three combat hospitals in 1969 and 1970. They are interconnected, peopled by one-time "stars" and recurring characters, and they deal both with both the minutia of everyda ...more
Paperback, 254 pages
Published March 1st 2001 by Serving House Books
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Larry Bassett
I served as an army operating room nurse in Vietnam from May of 1969 to June of 1970. I joined the army for the money and the travel, and because I was naïve and had no idea what I would be getting myself into. It was one of the biggest learning experiences of my life.
. . .
The government doesn’t have hard figures for how many women it sent to Vietnam, but trust me: We were vastly outnumbered by men, and it defined us and governed our existence. We could have been ugly as toads; we could have dr
I just finished this book a couple of weeks ago and I'm still staggering under the weight of so much beauty, tragedy, and truth. Every story is a gem, and they are all polished to perfection. This is near the very top of my list of best books I've ever read.
I had a hard time getting through this book- not because of disturbing subject matter, or anything like that- I was simply bored. O'Neill was a nurse through the Vietnam War, and I suppose I expected this book to be more of a first person account of nursing in Vietnam. She states in the introduction that it is a collection of stories of pure fiction, and I think it felt very fictional to me. LIke there was something left out. Events she described that would normally cause a lot of emotional reso ...more
Remember the opening of the television show M.A.S.H., and the stoic, angelic grace with which the nurses ran toward the medevac chopper? That's just how Sue O'Neill's stories of Vietnam made me feel.
Anna Graham
From the beginning to nearly the end, I was mesmerized by these stories and characters linked by three different places in Vietnam. The tales were charming, others terrifying, nearly all sucking me in, not allowing me to be anywhere else but exactly where the story put me. The last two fell a bit short, but those were small blips; overall this collection stands with some of my favorite novels, as it feels like a novel, not just many brief tales. It's not only that characters wind from one hospit ...more
Loved this book. Had it on my TBR list for a while on the sole basis that it was about Vietnam and at the same time my parents were working/living/serving in the country. I didn't realise until I read the intro that it is fictional but based on an American nurses time in Vietnam. The basis is very similar to Tim O'Brien's books about Vietnam, there is a fine line between fiction and the truth and thye best stories have some sort of truth intertwined somewhere. The fact that it is fiction takes n ...more
I don't know why I didn't expect these stories to be as good as they are, but Ms. O'Neill, I apologize. This is an excellent collection!

May 03, 2008 Hulananni rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone looking for a 'personal' view of the war and how it affected nurses in Vietnam.
Interesting reading about three different 'war zones' during the American War in Vietnam from a female's perspective, i.e. a nurse.
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“Vietnam is still, as it was thirty years ago, a poor country of rice paddy farms and sandy harbors, where fishermen cast nets from boats with eyes painted on the bows. It is overcrowded, prey to floods and sweatshops, dotted by modern cities and tiny hamlets of thatched huts with TV antennae. It is not a great capital of industry, or an international oil field or bread basket. There is nothing in Vietnam, now, that America truly needs. And there was even less thirty years ago. This country, these people, posed no real threat to us. It was a strange place to send our youth - not to learn a new culture or to enjoy the beaches, but to kill and be killed, to be maimed and to patch up the maimed. I am convinced that, to our government, Vietnam really, truly Didn't Mean Nothing.” 2 likes
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