If you like books that are so artfully written that reading them is like you're just hanging out talking to the author, Lance's books are for you. He'...moreIf you like books that are so artfully written that reading them is like you're just hanging out talking to the author, Lance's books are for you. He's either had a hell of a life, or has a hell of an imagination. Or both. G & A is just plain funny. Great memorable characters. The situations keep you uncomfortable which is just how Carbuncle evidently likes you. Warning: This is not Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. Real gutsy stuff by a terrific writer. (less)
A great book that 'reads like a spy novel.' I read it in one night. Just enough info about the holocaust to set the stage, and then a blow by blow des...moreA great book that 'reads like a spy novel.' I read it in one night. Just enough info about the holocaust to set the stage, and then a blow by blow description of the preparation and frustration of finding and capturing a man who was truly asocial, amoral, and evidently simply had no feelings whatsoever about the death of millions. God Bless the Israelis. (not a five star only because I try to keep that for great literature. This is truly a wonderful read, however). (less)
The subject is an important one as the U.S. seems to be finding itself in a series of wars where the population is 'neutr...more Serious crap, April 9, 2009
The subject is an important one as the U.S. seems to be finding itself in a series of wars where the population is 'neutral' and the fighting is frustrating and tedious to the point of rage.
But there are three things one should consider when reading TWBM, by Ms. Nelson. One, she is hardly a decent investigative reporter. I've read high school "what I did last summer" reports that are more interesting and informative. Her questions to the participants were more Barbara Walters than anything else. "How do you feel about atrocities?" "Did you see anyone else commit atrocities?"
Two, she begins her book with the case of a 19year old self-described hippie who was arrested for dodging the draft board, jailed for a time and then sent to Vietnam as a Conscientious Objector/medic. Is there ANY reason to believe this guy would be a credible source of information about the military folks he evidently didn't like or respect?
Three, Ms Nelson seems to think that repeating the sheer volume of incidents should make us believe that our troops were just a step above the Gestapo. Here are a couple of 'charges': "Antiwar activist reported he had seen a photo of a mutilated body of a girl." Wow, let's get some investigators on that one. Or this one: "POW reported he was forced to shave off mustache." I can just see Brando sitting in the dark rubbing his bare head-The horror. The horror. Or a more maddening one: "Deliberate bombing of a Cambodian hospital." Pure drivel. Never happened. Listed in Ms Nelson's book are 56 incidents/charges/investigations having to do with killing civilians. All serious. All should be investigated. (Is that about one every two months? In a country that suffered hundreds of thousands dead including maybe a million ARVN by the North Vietnamese who were just passing through a sovereign nation)But "every day occurance?" Give me a break.
Were there atrocities? Every rape, every beating, every death, diminishes us all. We, the veterans, were ashamed of them and incredibly angry at the perpetrators. But in my three years in theater, I heard of maybe five or six. I've spent years and years writing about the war and studying it. Battle-field atrocities were not a significant issue in the war. Yes, yes, I know. One is too many. What about the innocent civilians who died? Horrible.
Look, if someone of you think you know a way you can send 18 and 19 yearold kids to a foreign land with guns and absolute power over the natives and not have any trouble in ten years, you better get yourself down to boot camp and start the training. AND think about it before you launch the next few hundred thousand into combat!
The book stinks because it is so poorly constructed that there is nothing to refute. She makes no real claims. She raises no new issues. I assume she just wanted to strike her little blow against the Vietnam Vets and those nasty American troops in general.
We need to drill and drill our troops about the angst and frustration of operating with civilians in the middle of combat. Books like this won't help. They just make people (people like vets and people who have a lick of common sense) angry and feed the garbled mind of someone on this page who thought every student should read this book. Lord help us.
The "thiness" of the book and the lack of any interpretation or contextualization of the incidents, comments on combat in general, the Vietnam War in particular, leave this book in the propaganda pile.
A last thought. Take out the phrase "body count" and this book is about fifty pages shorter. That issue as a cause of atrocities, and in fact as a cause of anything, has been written about and discredited a long time ago. Ms. Nelson had ample reason to research the issue if it was to be such a prominent part of her book.
VVAW? Kerry? It is to laugh.I personally know one of that fraudulent group.He is still lying to everyone he meets.Do NOT take any bets that those boys can back up any of their charges.
Okay, can't resist one more. I have never heard of a live Vietnamese being thrown from an aircraft of any kind. And I know a hell of a lot of pilots. Just one more 'catch phrase' that the antiwar crowd fell for. (less)