A Personal War in Vietnam

Robert Flynn, Author Texas A&M University Press $24.95 (139p) ISBN 978-0-89096-407-1
Flynn, novelist ( Wanderer Springs ) and ex-Marine, spent two months of 1971 in Vietnam as a correspondent. These five previously unpublished essays investigate so-called ``pacification'' teams--mixed units of American Marines and Vietnamese Popular Forces members who labored in the villages to win the ``hearts and minds'' of Vietnamese peasants to their political way of thinking. Clearly, Flynn believes that in day-to-day personal contact with Vietnamese of uncertain loyalties, such Marines faced the ambiguities and anguish of Vietnam with courage. And the author sympathizes with these Americans, noting that in their place he might have behaved as they purportedly did--for example, testing villagers' loyalties by asking a child to open a potentially booby-trapped trash can. With all the recent books on Vietnam, little in this cogent, complex account will come as a surprise. Much, however, is memorable--as when one young soldier holds conscientious objectors responsible for the massacre at My Lai. ``If everybody who has a conscience runs and hides,'' the soldier demands, ``who do you have making moral decisions?'' (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
Paperback - 160 pages - 978-0-89096-418-7
Open Ebook - 156 pages - 978-0-585-17471-6
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