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Dean Ellis Kohler
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Rock 'N' Roll Soldier: A Memoir

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  69 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews

"During a time when none of us knew for sure if we would live or die, I came to know the true power of music."

Dean Kohler is about to make it big--he's finally scored a national record deal But his dreams are abruptly put on hold by the arrival of his draft notice. Now he's in Qui Nhon, Vietnam, serving as a military policeman. He keeps telling himself he's a musician, not

Hardcover, 288 pages
Published December 8th 2008 by Harper Teen
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Jase Maroszek
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was very interesting. This book tells the reader what it's like to be in the Vietnam war, but it doesn't have to be bad. Dean Ellis Kohler starts a band in the Vietnam war and performs in front of other soldiers. I would recommend this book to a friend because it's based on a true story. So you can actually feel what it's like to be in the characters shoes.
Mary Beth
Feb 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s 1966; Dean Kohler is going to Vietnam. He leaves behind a job, a girlfriend and a promise of a recording contract. After a year of basic training he lands in Qui Nhon as a member of the 127th Military Police Company. He patrols their camp, dubbed Dodge City; he guards Viet Cong prisoners at the EVAC hospital and visits with wounded American soldiers; he patrols in town cleaning up after explosions and accidents. CO, Captain Leadbettor, recalls a wailing good pre-departure concert in Fort Br ...more
Anthony G
Oct 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought my book was an interesting read, but I thought it was going to be different from what it turned out to be. The only memoirs that I have read weren't longer than a page long and they were probably in my old “Skateboarder Magazine”. So picking up a two hundred-eighty paged memoir was different, but entertaining.
In the beginning of the book I expected a hook like any other book. This one did not have a hook but more of an introduction to himself (Dean) and his situation. I liked that thr
When Dean Kohler was 19 years old he was drafted to Vietnam. While serving as an MP he was asked by his commanding officer to start a band, to help soldiers keep their moral up. This is the story of Dean's year in Vietnam and the band The Electrical Banana told in his own words.

The story is interesting and Dean does manage to give an idea of just how bad it could be in Vietnam; however I don't think he really manages to stress just how lucky he really was. There is mention of people he met who
Sep 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rock 'n' Roll Soldier, a 278 pages book written by Dean Ellis Kohler, is an autobiography talking about how he (Dean) got drafted to Vietnam to serve as an MP. It is a great story showing how music can make you escape the cruel reality- in this case, war in Vietnam. Dean was a musician, a guitarist to be specific, he has had a band before but had to give up his passion to serve for the army. A tragic experience for him. What he didn't know yet though, was that he would eventually find his future ...more
Jul 18, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dean was 19 when he was drafted by the Army to serve in Vietnam. Being drafted was like having someone hit the pause button on your life for nearly two years. Dean leaves behind a loving family, a girlfriend, his band, and a record deal to serve as a member of the Military Police in Qui Nhon. With the soldiers’ lives on hold and vicious fighting all around, Dean’s captain decides something needs to be done about troop morale. His solution: ask Dean to start a band. Rock’n’Roll Soldier is the sto ...more
Charlie Sherpa
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
[...] A straight-forward account of how one young man went to war and came back, and the people he met along the way.

As a guitarist, Ellis nearly had a record deal when his draft number came up. He shipped off to Vietnam as a military policeman. His unit found conditions rustic, but improved with hard work. After his quirky captain learns about Ellis' musical talents, he's tasked with starting a rock band.

Enter the (ahem) "Swinging Banana," later renamed "The Electrical Banana," in hopes of avoi
Feb 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well-written and poignant. The story of how the author grew up in the midst of the Vietnam War. The author was a high school classmate. I enjoyed the references to Portsmouth, Va. and our high school, Cradock High School. I was taken back in time--- much of it was not a pleasant return to a time when we watched a war play out across our television screens in black and white. How much worse it had to be for a nineteen year old young man to put his dreams on hold and go away to a strange land. Thi ...more
Feb 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this one a lot. I'm a fan of Vietnam War memoirs, and this one is an interesting story about life one step removed from the front line. not a literary masterpiece, but it reads fast and easy. I'm doubt it will have mass appeal with teens, since this war is ancient history, but with a little hand-selling it should find an audience.
May 04, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen, nonfiction
Kohler experiences the redemptive power of music even in war. I really, really wanted to like this book, but I just can't see it being relevant for most of today's teens. The constant 'Nam jargon makes it feel dated and irrelevant, although it might be right for a teen with close ties to military service.
Susan Adams
Great read! This was a very readable biography of a young (19 year-old) man who was drafted and sent to Viet Nam. He had just gotten a recording contract for his band but his draft made that impossible. This is the story of his time in Viet Nam where, at the urging of his commanding officer, he and several of his fellow soldiers formed a band that entertained troops there.
Chris Gross-Rhode
This story takes the reader to Vietnam with a musician who had to give up a record deal when he was drafted into the war. He and some friends form a band and entertain other servicemen. This is a good story that takes the reader into the jungles of Vietnam.
Bennett Rosner
Mar 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
If Goodread's had a 4.5/5 option, than this book would get it.
Jun 29, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: high-school
I completely agree with the review excerpt on the cover "A unique perspective to the Vietnam War. An easy and entertaining read." Can't wait to add it to the high school library collection!
Nov 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great, boy-friendly teen nonfiction.
Mar 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A classmate of mine recounts his time in Vietnam and how music kept his sanity.
Jul 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent memoir of a young man drafted into the Vietnam War discovering who he really is...
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