Memorial the

James Amos, Author Crown Publishers $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-517-56971-9
This first novel about a Marine lieutenant's five months with Alpha Company in Vietnam is based, Amos tells us, on facts. Unfortunately, they have yet to be fictionalized. He has all the material at hand--a telling cross-section of young Americans, the lived knowledge of jungle fighting--and he asks all the proper questions about that war. He also has attempted, in the tradition of Stephen Crane, to write matter-of-factly of war's horrors, using a small action to serve as exemplar--the novel details Alpha Company's role in the attack to cut the Viet Cong's supply lines through Laos--but Amos is more often inadvertently flat than evocative. His knowledge of details can result in eloquence: ``They each wore one dog tag strung around their neck and the other through one boot lace; in case either the leg or head was lost the remains could still be identified.'' But sentences too often expire in muddle: ``An NVA squad remained in the tree line on each side of the fire support base to lay down suppressing fire as the others attempted to compromise the perimeter by penetrating the lines.'' (June)
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-380-71195-6
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