Operation White Star

Richard O. Sutton, Author Daring Books $18.95 (296p) ISBN 978-0-938936-91-6
The lighthearted tone of this first novel distinguishes it from most fiction about the Vietnam war. Central character Lt. Ed Meadows, whose career parallels the author's, graduates from West Point in 1960, volunteers for the then-relatively unknown Special Forces, and promptly finds himself part of a secret U.S. ``advisory'' mission to Laos--Operation White Star. Sutton's depictions of stateside training, culture shock and combat are conventional but refreshingly free of the melodrama that often seduces beginning authors. Set early in the conflict, the novel seems almost quaint by later military standards: helicopters play a marginal role, weapons are WW II vintage, characters still speak of the enemy as the Viet Minh. Attitudes seem correspondingly dated. Meadows and his comrades see themselves as professional soldiers fighting a policy war directed by men in Washington who presumably know what they are doing. Sutton's artless reconstruction of a simpler place and time gives his novel a curiously elegaic quality that transcends limitations of plot and dialogue. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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