House of Purple Hearts: Stories of Vietnam Vets Who Find Their Way Back

Paul Solotaroff, Author
Paul Solotaroff, Author HarperCollins Publishers $22 (205p) ISBN 978-0-06-017076-9
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
Paperback - 978-0-06-092729-5
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There are an estimated half-million veterans on the streets of America, a third of them Vietnam vets. In downtown Boston, the extraordinary New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans houses, feeds and rehabilitates some of them. Founded in 1969 by three combat vets--Ken Smith, Mark Helberg, Peace Foxx--the shelter offers drug and alcohol detoxification programs, post-traumatic stress disorder therapy, job training and assistance in obtaining benefits. Freelance journalist Solotaroff's compelling book--his first--is largely a portrait of five Vietnam vets who have been salvaged by the shelter's rigorous program, ``a humane version of the Army,'' demonstrating that broken vets can be healed in the supportive community of their peers. Solotaroff's book has done for these men in peacetime what Michael Herr's Dispatches did for them when they were grunts in Nam, i.e., described accurately, artfully and compassionately the lingering trauma of combat. (May)
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