Warrior for Peace

Steve Mason, Author Simon & Schuster $6.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-66384-1
The author of Johnny's Song (which earned him the title of National Poet Laureate of the Vietnam Veterans of America) attempts to reconcile his Vietnam experiences with his return to America. These poems are a veteran's raw, heartfelt pleas for lasting peace and for a reevaluation of patriotism, nationalism and a government that wars ``as a solution to economics/or as a perpetuation of social justice.'' Verses shift from jarring, often graphic accounts of the atrocities Mason witnessed to strangely peaceful images of his childhood, family and friends. These juxtapositions would be more effective were they not so explicitly spelled out; Mason explains rather than illustrates, and he frequently lapses into didactic sermonizing. Although his message is certainly worthy, Mason's tendency to rely on political rhetoric rather than craft (in ``A Living Memorial,'' for example, he writes, ``It is the courage of America/ and the strength of our world/ that the essence of our patriotism/ is not nationalism,/ it is humanity'') makes his work more appropriate to forms of expression other than poetry. The introduction by film director Oliver Stone adds nothing of value to this volume. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1988
Release date: 06/01/1988
Genre: Fiction
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