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The Road Home

(Echo Company #5)

4.56  ·  Rating details ·  483 ratings  ·  82 reviews
Lieutenant Rebecca Phillips had come to Vietnam to heal and give comfort, but found that nearly impossible. The war had torn her family apart and she wanted to know why. But there were no answers for her in Vietnam--only more questions.

When Rebecca returns to the U.S., her war still isn't over. For only when she's home is she able to confront the horrific realities she exp
Paperback, 469 pages
Published November 1st 1997 by Scholastic (first published January 1st 1995)
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4.56  · 
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 ·  483 ratings  ·  82 reviews

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This is one of my all-time top comfort reads. I know. Minutely researched Vietnam War novel=comfort read? What can I say? My favorite characters tend to endure mountains of suffering before attaining (hopefully) a modicum of happiness. Lt. Rebecca Phillips is no exception. A Radcliffe-educated nurse, Rebecca comes from stalwart, intellectual New England stock. She's the last person anyone expects to enlist in the Army and voluntarily get herself shipped off to Vietnam. But after the boy she love ...more
Jul 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Michelle by: Angie
I haven't read a book that I enjoyed this much in a long time. I say enjoyed, but really it was more like being swept away on the emotional hurricane that is Lt. Rebecca Phillips. The Road Home made me bust out laughing, had me on the edge of my seat with fear and dread, and even made me cry a few times. I hardly ever cry over a book but this one had such an emotional impact I couldn't help but feel every moment of heartbreak, turmoil and even happiness in Rebecca's story.

After losing the love o
Anne Osterlund
Dec 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Rebecca has been in Vietnam long enough to acquire nightmares, a bullet hole in her shoulder, and an affinity for chugging alcohol. She is also fully aware of the hazards of making friends. Though somehow she has become chosen recipient of almost daily letters from a grouchy, stubborn private named Michael. Who walks point in the jungle and who she has to constantly worry will be flown into her ER tent during the next round of casualties. And who has taken to signing his letters with the word, “ ...more
Jul 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
8/2013 I had to come back to this and re-read it after reading the four Zack Emerson Echo Company books. I love it more, now that I've read them. I'm flummoxed as to why it's not packaged as part of the Echo Company series, and have been engaged in some fairly robust debates as to whether it truly IS part of the series. When I read it first, I thought it could stand alone. Now that I've read the Echo Company books, I think it's much more satisfying, more complete. The backstory is there, and thi ...more
Melissa McShane
This review contains spoilers I couldn't put behind brackets because they come so early in the book and affect so much of what happens later. If you haven't read it, and you intend to, (and you should), stop now. Fair warning.

The Echo Company series has been building toward this final volume, and it is a phenomenal ending. I don't know if I'd say that no war story is complete without an account of what happens when the war is over, when the soldier goes marching home, but it's certainly the case
Jul 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, favorites
Well. I first read The Road Home right after reading The Grapes of Wrath, and both books illuminated their time periods in the same way for me. This book is unflinching and brilliantly evocative and fiercely resilient. It's shattering and wonderful and despairing and ultimately hopeful. It's a very difficult read - but it's worth it.

What to look for when you do read this: "You like Dennis" and "All my dates are with Richard" and every single moment with the cerebral major. Ellen Emerson White,
laurel [suspected bibliophile]
There are just so damned few fiction military books, YA or adult, written by female veterans that I've clung to the very few that I can find--particularly amazing ones like this.

Long time coming, particularly since I haven't read it in six years, but this is probably one of my most favorite books in the world.

And I haven't read the other four books in the Echo Company series.



This can absolutely be read as a stand alone. Maybe there's more nuance that I'm missing, but honestly I don't wa
I'm judging this one for the YA/MG Battle, so no thoughts for you! (Yet.)

This was really good.

Sometimes I want to call a book "realistic" and I stop short because I don't know. The Vietnam War was before I was born and I don't really know much about it. But it made believe it was exactly like this.

And I like the end. It was the right amount of hopeful. They're still screwed up, but they'll be okay.
Aug 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Holly by: Angie Thompson
Shelves: young-adult
Ha! I bet none of you would've predicted that I would be reading a book about Vietnam - including myself. But this out-of-print YA historical novel turned out to be a hidden gem and well-worth tracking down.

Lieutenant Rebecca Phillips' life as a nurse in Vietnam is unimaginable. Not only has she treated hundreds of dying men, but she has watched her only two friends die, endured the battlefront firsthand while MIA, and struggled with her own gunshot wound and other injuries. While Rebecca's mos
Aug 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Chachic by: Angie
Originally posted here.

I don't usually go for books set during war time. More so for this one because it's about the Vietnam war, a time in history which I know nothing about. However, if a book comes highly recommended by someone I trust, I can't help but give it a try. Plus, Angie sent a copy already so the least I could do was read the book, right? :) The Road Home has two sections: the first part deals with Rebecca working as a nurse in Vietnam and the second part is about her coming back ho
Jul 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. It is my all-time favorite. I read it pretty much every year since reading it for the first time over 15 years ago. It is terrific and has something for everyone. Even though I've read it about over a dozen times (and can quote whole sections!), I always find something new. It's smart, funny, and exciting, and yet manages to eloquently portray an era in American history that was politically and culturally loaded.
Lady Susan
Nov 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
I was surprised that my library had this book. It is a very good YA book set during the Vietnam war. That being said, it was surprisingly gritty for being a YA book. Although not necessarily surprisingly gritty for the subject matter.

The characters were well developed and the plot line quite realistic. I would be interested in reading more from this author but I don't think my library has anything more.
Feb 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Lately , in most books ,if the girl has not been raped or tortured she is not interesting, so it was very refreshing to have an heroine suffering from something she did instead of being done to her.
The only reason it's not a 5 star it's because it is a very painful book to read and on top of that they spoil any book read after :( .
Jul 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Review (of sorts) will follow, when I'm sure I won't do something stupid that causes me to lose what I've written. (*This* stupidity was forgetting to go to a new tab to find an image of the Memphis VA hospital - which I will now add.) looks just as I remember it - explanation will also follow
Kate Quinn
Apr 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is going on the "to be reread" pile. I LOVED it. LOVED. I wish there was another book in the series after this one, because this was one of those books where I just did not want to let the characters go.
Nov 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Wow, this book was fabulous:
Five stars. All the stars. All the stars in the sky.
Jul 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Carla by: Angie
astounding. FO REALZ.
Meg Powers, Army Nurse!

Such a good story, even clunky writing couldn't ruin it. Thoughtful and smart and compelling. Absolutely recommended for fans of Ellen Emerson White.
Jul 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I've spent some time in my "adult" life searching for information and stories about the Vietnam-American War in hopes of understanding more about my Dad's experiences as a Marine. I've wanted to know more so that I can more fully comprehend my Dad's reluctance to speak about his experiences and I believe that the more I know, the more I can know without opening up his war wounds. Up until about a month ago, I had found one source that really helped me start to understand what it was like to be a ...more
Feb 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It has been a few years since I read this book and I know my memory isn't good. However, I remember enough about this book to know just how much of an impact it had on me.
The author didn't make things hapoy, cheerful and hopeful. Instead, what I would imagine a realistic picture was portrayed about a brutal war and the impact it has on people directly involved. Emerson took, what I believe were often the forgot heroes-the woman as often war literature and media focuses on men involved.
Because o
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this book years ago and then around 2005 began looking for the Echo Company books. They were very difficult to find initially and very expensive. They also looked like books for middle school boys, so I wasn't too excited to pay so much for a beat-up paperback. Then I re-read The Road Home and re-read it again and started looking for Echo Company again. This time they were easier to find and less expensive (though not terribly cheap either). I took the chance and am so very glad I did. Al ...more
Jun 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: youngadult

I picked this up because a few YA blog I read had mentioned it as being one of the most romantic YA books. I was pretty sure I read it as a kid (I was a big fan of Ellen Emerson White and I liked army nurse stories for some reason... probably for the gore), but I only had vague memories of the story. It explores one woman's experience of the Vietnam War, her time there as an army nurse in an ER unit and the challenges she faces when she comes home. It is a really interesting perspective on the w
5/11 - Just bought my third copy, I need to stop loaning these out (replacements are getting harder and harder to find on-line)

I think LONG MAY SHE REIGN has edged out THE ROAD HOME as my favorite Ellen Emerson White book. Compared to Malibu Bobby, Michael is on the mean edge of "grouchy." There is still such a beautiful redemption to both Rebecca and Mike's journeys. You don't get the impression that things are going to be easy, but they're certainly going to be interesting.

3/12/12 - Every tim
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017
I will ALWAYS have a soft spot for Ellen Emerson White. While growing up some of my favorite books that I re-read A LOT were "The President's Daughter" series and "Friends For Life" I really enjoy her rhythm when it comes to character conversations and everything. That being said - this wasn't that book. It was long - Vietnam, a very serious subject, and the characters were flat. It had the ending you would expect when it really shouldn't have and not the investment in the protagonist to make it ...more
May 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I've read this book so many times that I can open it to any page and be instantly immersed in the story. A great look at a young woman's experiences in and after the Vietnam War.

5/14: Now that I've read the first 4, all I can say is, Mike is such a motherfucker for what he does to Snoopy. The kid used to read his letters because he didn't have any!!!! I can forgive almost anything except for a slight to Snoopy. That always upset me, but now it's 100x times more.

Also, this is really a brilliant,
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Why am I reading a YA book about Vietnam the closing night of 2016? Besides it being some of the finest writing I've read this year? Hmmm. Well, I like nihilism. Hm, what else?

America's history and politics had never felt that up close and personal. Much too busy caring about what's for dinner, spf and text chains. That's Changed. This series is said to be YA. You gotta be kidding me. Those are some hardcore readers. It's intimidating to read writers who have war experience, combat nurse lingo
Jun 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Agree with Laurie that this resembles China Beach, or for slightly older people like me, perhaps MASH. Great details (as far as I know) about the hospital work in Vietnam; also deals with the aftermath -- coming home from Vietnam to many unsympathetic people as well as memories to deal with.

The first half seemed a little slow to me; more a depiction of Rebecca's life than a story that was going somewhere. I also felt like I was missing something - I gathered that Rebecca is a character from a bo
Jamie (ReadsinTrees) Dacyczyn
Maybe I should have read the companion books to this, but I didn't know they existed when I started. Possibly because of this, I wasn't won over by this book. It definitely felt like I missed the action, and the whole of this book was just the after effects of the action. I wasn't impressed with the main character's ever-depressed mood and self destructive attitude. I understand that these were because of the (not included in this book) trauma from before....but I kept waiting for her to rise ab ...more
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This talented writer attended Tufts University (and published her first book, Friends for Life, while a senior there) and currently lives in New York City. Ms. White grew up in Narragansett, Rhode Island. Many of her novels feature characters who reside in or around Boston and are fans of the Boston Red Sox (as is Ms. White). In addition to novels, Ms. White has published several biographies. She ...more

Other books in the series

Echo Company (5 books)
  • Welcome to Vietnam (Echo Company, #1)
  • Hill 568 (Echo Company, #2)
  • 'Tis the Season (Echo Company, #3)
  • Stand Down (Echo Company, #4)
“On Christmas morning, Rebecca lost her moral virginity, her sense of humor - and her two best friends. But, other than that, it was a hell of a holiday.” 2 likes
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