My Detachment: A Memoir

Tracy Kidder, Author . Random $24.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-375-50615-4

The author of The Soul of a New Machine put in a year during the Vietnam War; he was a reluctant warrior. Kidder joined ROTC in his junior year at Harvard as a way of avoiding the draft's uncertainties. Two years later he was taking part in a war that he found "unnecessary, futile, racist," serving as a lieutenant commanding an Army Security Agency detachment of eight enlisted men inside a well-fortified infantry base camp. As a shaved-headed ROTC cadet and later as an army officer, Kidder felt "separated from my social class, from my student generation"; in Vietnam, he detached himself emotionally from the mind-numbing army bureaucracy, from his ticket-punching career officer superiors and from his iconoclastic, work-shirking enlisted men. For Kidder, there are no heroes, and, in fact, few "war stories"; he presents, instead, realistic day-to-day reports on what happened to him at his posting: the mission was to interpret enemy troop movements using raw intelligence data supplied by eavesdropping technology. His account is an introspective, demythologizing dose of reality seen through the eyes of a perceptive, though immature, army intelligence lieutenant at a rear-area base camp. War isn't hell here; it's "an abstraction, dots on a map." Agent, Georges Borchardt. (Sept. 13)

Reviewed on: 06/13/2005
Release date: 09/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-0-7393-2165-2
Downloadable Audio - 1 pages - 978-0-7393-4604-4
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7393-2164-5
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-8129-7616-8
Ebook - 132 pages - 978-1-58836-458-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-4159-2424-2
Hardcover - 303 pages - 978-0-7393-2554-4
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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