This is a book that every veteran who saw combat in Vietnam should read. It gives the other side and points up so poignantly the universal suffering o...moreThis is a book that every veteran who saw combat in Vietnam should read. It gives the other side and points up so poignantly the universal suffering of all soldiers. It helped me to come to an understanding that none of the anger and resentment I feel about my service in Indochina had anything to do with those we called the enemy but towards those who put us where we were;who trained us to fight and steel our hearts towards those who were always referred to as "gooks, dinks, or nogs";those who cynically betrayed us over and over again from beginning to end and who continue to betray us as they seek to limit what they must give in compensation for wounds suffered, physical and mental,to keep their position, their benefits their reputations and what they see as their rightful slice of "the pie". They try to gloss over the depth of their betrayal and their absolute lack of morality with fine words about the flag and sacrifice and tradition and by passing out a few more medals 40 years too late but they fail to understand the depth and breadth of the impact of their actions, then and now. Bastards; may they rot in hell! I feel much more for the enemies they set up for us, more compassion, more in common with them. I wish with the same breath that I use to curse our politicians to hell, that those who were my enemy may rest or live peace in peace.(less)
This book is useful. It is pretty simple and straightforward and hence will be fairly accessible to its intended audience. In that it serves. The impo...moreThis book is useful. It is pretty simple and straightforward and hence will be fairly accessible to its intended audience. In that it serves. The importance of a soldier returning from combat to note the details of what they experience as a normal and common response to arduous and sometimes traumatic experience is of paramount importance. Otherwise the sense of being different and alone and somehow flawed develops into an inward spiraling vise that will ultimately destroy the individual and anything much that is worthwhile in their life. It expands beyond the parameters of what was experienced in combat drawing negatively reinforcing experience into its vortex as the decline progresses.
Things are not today as they were after Vietnam, when almost nothing of the effects of trauma on combat veteran's was acknowledged. there is a plethora of information available today not all of it good. The gushy emotionalism that seems to be so much part of the American character when it comes to military service these days (overcompensation for the responses given post Vietnam) sometimes obscures what may be of worth to the individual. That could be a fatal flaw, from what I hear there are few returning service personnel, particularly if they have experienced combat who subscribe to that particular hallelujiah chorus. Most are hard nosed experienced soldiers if they have been in combat. That tends to cut away the bullshit and the self serving emotional drivel that evidences from time to time in this book. Most are simply looking for a way to make things work, to integrate their experiences into a functioning person, they are not so much inclined to the view that there is wrong that needs to be fixed. parts of this book could help in that though it is very thin on detail and could onl;y conceivably ever be a starting point.
Each of us has to make their own way through this particular maze, and the institutionalization of the very human capacity to cope with extreme experience and the involvement of do gooders who think they have the answers just complicates life for those who are negotiating that maze and sometimes saddles them with a sense of being broken that is just not necessary for their recovery but very necessary for the continued thriving of institutionalized care with all its hangers on who have popped up on the tail of this particular skein of human experience.