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The Fourteenth of September

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  160 ratings  ·  114 reviews
On September 14, 1969, Private First Class Judy Talton celebrates her nineteenth birthday by secretly joining the campus anti-Vietnam War movement. In doing so, she jeopardizes both the army scholarship that will secure her future and her relationship with her military family. But Judy’s doubts have escalated with the travesties of the war. Who is she if she stays in the a ...more
Kindle Edition
Published September 18th 2018 by She Writes Press
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4.46  · 
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 ·  160 ratings  ·  114 reviews

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Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There will be some readers who will consider this book historical fiction. Other readers, like me, who lived through this tumultuous year, will consider this book as a reminder of what life was like. The country was divided like never before - there were many people who felt that the war was justified and that people who spoke against it were traitors to America. There were others who felt that the government was sending soldiers to be slaughtered in a totally useless war. In the Fourteenth of S ...more
Jul 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaway
The Fourteenth of September by Rita Dragonette is rooted in Dragonette's personal experience in 1969 and 1970 when daily body counts from Vietnam and the looming Draft Lottery was met by youth anti-war protests, culminating in the horror of the Kent State massacre.

The protagonist is a young woman on a WRAIN scholarship to become an army nurse, her meal ticket out of her dead-end town. But Judy decides she must understand the war and her values first by becoming involved with the campus Freaks i
David W.  Berner
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This period in American history is one of the most tumultuous, troubling, and defining. I'm old enough to remember Kent State, the protests, the incredible divisions in the country. It still lingers and defines our country and many of us individually. This novel takes a unique and long-overdue take on the times—a woman's perspective. And it's more than historical fiction, more than a coming of age story. The Fourteenth of September sears its way into the heart and soul with the story of a young ...more
John Ruane
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Fourteenth of September is the story of a young college student, Judy Talton, and her experience on the campus of a Midwestern college during the Fall of 1969 when the Vietnam War was sending American soldiers home in body bags at a very high rate. In a country filled with rebellion as a result of the war, and just a year after the 1968 riots during the Democratic Convention in Chicago, Judy enters the chaos and anger on the campus with an ROTC nursing scholarship. Coming from a family with ...more
Ellen Notbohm
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How well I remember the moment my husband and I looked at each other with the sinking realization that the younger generation viewed the Vietnam War and its particular horrors only through the lens of history, as happens with all wars whose immediacy fades with time. This accessible novel lifts some of that soft focus with a believable unlikely heroine, nineteen-year-old Judy Talton, whose Army nurse mother has railroaded her into joining the Army as the supposedly only means of financing colleg ...more
Cathleen Johnson
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I think of my days at college during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s like a powerful dream – shrouded in marijuana smoke, vivid fragments of action and emotion, but elusive when I try to piece them together in any detail. I’ve heard soldiers describe combat that way, my parents talked of World War II that way, we speak of 9-11 that way – times that we would never want to live through again, but would never give up because they represent life at its fullest, however harrowing.

Thanks to Rita Dragone
John Sanhamel
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having experienced, along with the author, the turbulent times this story covers, I was looking forward to this read with great anticipation. I was not disappointed, and find that this tale accurately portrays the era and the conflicts and emotions we experienced as young college students. It was a time of rapid societal and cultural change when teenagers and young adults seemingly faced major life decisions on a daily basis, even on a relatively quiet Midwestern university campus like the ficti ...more
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I honestly have not read much Vietnam era fiction. I’ve always been drawn to WWII historical fiction and older. I simply thought maybe it was because of my grandparents and so I had a draw and connection to that time. My dad was still just a little too young for Vietnam, so I never really had a tie to that time other than to look at my parents’ silly old pictures.

So when I was given The Fourteenth of September, I was intrigued. Being from NE Ohio, what happened at Kent State University was taug
Mary Nee
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This author is a great talent and has integrity. This book is a compelling, original book and a great read. Worth reading!
Holly Vlachos beaty
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This exceptional debut novel is a time travel of sorts, back to the late sixties, 1969 to be exact, and captures the multi dimensional turbulence of the times. Even if you didn't live through those times, as I did, it will take you back to the VietNam War and the horror of the Massacre of Four students at Kent State University.
This book will introduce you to several characters whose daily lives were impacted by these events, as well as their entrance into an era of free love, easy access to hal
Barbara Laken
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Past as Prologue

The federal government has identified a malignant force that must be stopped before it spreads its dark shadow over the world. A game of lots, based on date of birth, is used to determine which young men will be impressed into military service to combat it. In this game, those born on The Fourteenth of September are randomly selected as the first to arrive on the battlefield, where survival averages six minutes once the enemy is actively engaged. In this novel, that battlefield i
Barbara Shoup
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Set in the months before and after the 1969 draft lottery, Rita Dragonette’s The Fourteenth of September tells the powerful story of Judy Talton, a young woman who must decide whether to risk her military nursing scholarship to protest the Vietnam War, which she has become convinced is morally wrong. Dragonette brilliantly depicts how the urgency of political commitment complicates the self-absorption of adolescence, the intense bonds of family, friendship and love—often with devastating conseq ...more
Barbara M
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommend "The Fourteenth of September" by Rita Dragonette
For anyone who lived through the late 60's in college under the shadow of the Viet Nam draft.
Great read. Depicts a time period in our country of great tumult and angst. Well-developed characters, right out of Woodstock. Anyone who experienced the Vietnam Nam years will love this book. A page-turner.
Patricia McNair
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This debut novel deftly captures a generation on the cusp of an uncertain future. The characters choices are difficult, their solutions complex. At times charming and funny, at others intense and heartbreaking, Dragonette depicts a complicated chapter in our history with precision and depth, and renders it with compassion, understanding, and grace.
Ellis Goodman
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Rita Dragonette has crafted a compelling first novel about the Vietnam War era, when successive presidents and administrations continually covered up the true military situation in Vietnam, and numerous military advisers to three presidents were overly optimistic about the US capabilities of winning that war. There is a morbid similarity to those events in today’s world. Ms. Dragonette paints a picture of the unrest in the student body across many universities, and their gradual realization tha ...more
Gary Wilson
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rita Dragonette’s novel, The Fourteenth of September, reveals what I have known for a long while—that she is a writer of great talent and integrity who infuses this debut work with an energy and vision that lifts it far beyond the ordinary coming of age story. This is an important book, not to be missed.
Candi Cross
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A primer on the Vietnam War revolving around an intimate group of college students, Dragonette's story is heavy on characterization and light on dramatization. I appreciate that this author traded in the research dump found in a lot of historical fiction for compact emotional scenes, choice setting depictions and literary/lyrical nods to this important era. With THE FOURTEENTH OF SEPTEMBER, I received a perfect and engrossing overview of events I've always been curious about but never took the t ...more
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing

I eagerly devoured The Fourteenth of September, by gifted author, Rita Dragonette. Talk about a vivid flash from the past! Having lived near UC Berkeley during the Vietnam era, this book was right up my alley. Set on a college campus during the late ’60s, the novel’s protagonist (Judy Talton, lovingly developed by the author) comes into her own. For me, it was her coming of consciousness that was the most compelling – it blossomed amidst the uncertainty, chaos and political polarization of the e
William Bates
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This story had a profound effect on me. I was a junior on a campus very much like that of the setting for this book. Although the story is fictional, many of the places and events described in the book I remember. The writing was convincing and I found myself transported back almost fifty years to the campus political intrigue, the counter-culture, and the anti-war protests of that year. This book conjured up a critical phase of my own personal and political development. That magic aside, the st ...more
Nancy Chadwick
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What would I have done? I asked myself while reading Dragonette's account of a nineteen-year-old college woman torn between her committment to fulfill an army scholarship and the anti Vietnam war movement fueled by persuasive demonstrations on campus. Dragonette's novel leaves no avenue untraveled as she narrates Private First Class Judy Talton's inner dialogue as she experiences the influences and consequences of her shifting obligation. A questioning of conscience forces a decision that Judy w ...more
Eileen Sanchez
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved the unique perspective of the Vietnam era, yet you will recognize the parallels of today. As I read it I was back in my college days immersed in the lives of the characters. It’s a great book for Babyboomers since you will recognize each of the well-developed authentic people as they face the days of campus protests, the draft lottery, the friends that were in Vietnam and the ones that protested. Readers from other generations will find their own comparisons to more recent wars and the rea ...more
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hisorical

The Fourteenth of September is a glimpse into the life of a co-ed during the tumultuous draft lotteries of 1969-1970. At Central Illinois University, Private First Class Judy Talton has a lot to consider as she walks in her mother’s footsteps. An army nurse who served in World War II, Judy’s mother pushes her oldest daughter into the one avenue that would get Judy out of their narrow lower middle class lifestyle and into the bigger and better world. Their timing is terrible, as Judy, scheduled f
Mollie Wright
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
From the moment I began reading this novel, I was captivated. I found having the novel take place during a school year at a university during the Vietnam War was a point of view that I was not anticipating, but thoroughly enjoyed. I really enjoy historical fiction and this book did not disappoint.

The plot contained several stories centering around the main character Judy: the overall relationship between Judy and her mother; deciding whether her future will be dictated by her mother or Judy hers
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Fourteenth of September and connecting with Judy Talton and the small group of students during their 8 months at CIU. They with others were trying collectively to end the American involvement in the war in Vietnam. The time covered was from September 1969 through May 1970. They were tumultuous times for the country and baby boomers of college age of 18 years and older. This book was easy to read, written from Judy’s point of view and relatable in the way the hist ...more
Robert Berliner
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Although this is apparently the first published novel by this author, the style and insight suggest a far more experienced storyteller. While the novel is set in a particularly turbulent place and in particularly turbulent times that most of us of a certain age remember only too vividly—a college campus in 1969-1970, when student activities directed at the Vietnam war were at their peak and the draft lottery was instituted—this work is far more than a historical period piece. The author astutely ...more
Good Book Fairy
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-read
The Fourteenth of September sets you smack dab in the middle of the Vietnam era. Set in the months before and after the 1969 Draft Lottery, the book offers an original perspective, a woman’s, on the Vietnam War.

Judy Talton, the protagonist of the novel, is at Central Illinois University with a scholarship from the US Army. Although the Army is providing her with an education, she gravitates towards the anti-Vietnam movement going on at school. This conundrum is what creates a tension within Judy
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For the many of us affected by the U.S. military's decision to implement a series of lotteries to induct young men into the Vietnam War, this is a gut-wrenching, true-to-life account of this tragic period in our history.

Rita Dragonette's debut novel is a rare find in that it delves into the tumultuous times on college campuses during the Vietnam War from the perspective of Judy Talton, an ROTC nursing student who finds herself opposing the war. In addition to exploring the vital support role wom
Sue Doederlein
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As a woman who lived through that time in the very place in which Rita Dragonette sets her work, I was drawn to the book as a reminder of the life I led so long ago. We were only beginning to learn then that “the personal is political,” and Dragonette’s Judy Talton personifies that discovery. From the time she enters the Tune Room, the principle campus hangout, and sits for the first time on the side of the “freaks,” Judy learns that her every day will involve choices, choices that might cost he ...more
Linda Gartz
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Fourteenth of September is a love story to 1969, with all its pain, confusion, unbridled youthful idealism, and the politics that are bound to insert themselves into any group. It recreates a fully realized immersion into the tumultuous era of the 1960s, with its conflicts of loyalty and conscience.
The novel’s point of view is especially meaningful given the protagonist, Judy, is both a woman (just as the women’s movement was about to take off) and an ROTC scholarship recipient at the heigh
Jennifer Truex
My parents came of age in the Vietnam Era and I was born in the years most boomers were just starting their adult lives. To me, the Vietnam War was a distant "other time", a vision I contrived from the stories I had heard: stories of men lucky enough to get deferment, the tragic stories of the men who did not, even the draft itself was always a man's story with a footnote only of the women they left behind. But there was a story missing from the picture and Rita Dragonette tells it beautifully i ...more
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