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Comments

Caroline

We really agree on this one.
Those questions whether the 60s culture wasn't influenced by Vietnam or the other we way around where on my mind as well but according to comments on my blog, Herr's depction of the war was a bit misleading. the majority of the soldiers didn't do drugs nor was the fighting as intense. He went where "the action" was, so to speak.
I've read the book Letters Home from Vietnam, years a go and loved it. See if you can find it.

litlove

I think you are very brave and tenacious to get to the end of books like this. I think I would struggle even if I were loving them! But the tough reads often bring out the best in us - they force us into interpretations and areas of knowledge that we'd never reach without a fight. So good for you for finishing it!

Kathy

The excerpts you shared were quite striking--I see why you continued on until the end. Sometimes in a challenging read, the quality of the writing keeps me going when I would have put the book aside otherwise. As a writer, I think I should immerse myself in as much good writing as possible, and hope it rubs off on me! I need to do better about reading outside my comfort zone, however, and your forays outside yours are inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

Stefanie

This seems like a book that will be hard to forget in many ways. That you think you might read it again sometime says a lot.

Danielle

I think it was your post that put the idea in my head about the war and the Sixties--as I was reading it really struck me that they are so intermingled. I was interested to when you wrote that had the war occurred in the 80s say it would have been a very different war--I think you are right. I didn't read all the comments on your post--so I missed the one about Herr's descriptions--I guess it all has to be read as the war from one man's perspective. His war was not necessarily the same one that others experienced--another interesting thing to think about and keep in mind with these sorts of books. I was thinking this felt sort of like a memoir, though I know it's not quite that either. It makes sense that as a journalist/writer he would want to be where the fighting was most intense. Is the book of letters Herr's book, too? Letters would be really interesting and I will have to look for it--my library might have it. I really do want to read more about Vietnam now--maybe more by Tim O'Brien or some more straightforward history. Even though this was a challenge, I think it helps lay some groundwork for reading more--maybe more things I read about it will feel more familiar now.

Danielle

This was more challenging in the way it was written rather than the content--though there were some disturbing things. Some war books are hard going indeed, and I am almost surprised at myself for mostly having stuck them all out (the two I didn't finish were only partially read--and maybe I'll go back to them eventually--due to the length--very chunky books I just didn't manage to finish). I agree that difficult reads can be very good and well worth the effort--the during may be hard but after all is said and done the stories really remain in my mind and leave me with lots to think about.

Danielle

The first half of the book was really hard--especially the first section, but either I became more familiar with the writing style, or the later sections had more of a narrative to them. This is definitely well written--a different sort of reading I am used to, but I'm glad as reading outside my comfort zone is a very good thing!

Danielle

I don't think I'll go back and read it anytime very soon, but I wouldn't mind revisiting it again once I've read more books about Vietnam. Somehow I think it would be an entirely different sort of book if I knew more about the war and the era!

Caroline

I will have to retunr to my old posts and the comments. A few people suggested a lot of great sounding books about Vietnam. Non-fiction included.
The letters are not edited by Herr. They are heartbreaking. And since they are from so many different men, soldiers, officers, pilots, infantry, it gives a good impression. I loved them, as weird as that may sound.
I have a few non-fiction accounts of soldiers somewhere. And I really want to read Marlantes, his fiction and non-fiction.

LizF

I must admit, I wasn't that sure about reading this but the excerpts have intrigued me and I will have to look out a copy.
War reporters are a rare breed and always want to be where the heat of the action is so I suppose there will always be a slant to their work especially as they are writing as it happens and can (should) only report what they see.
The book of letters sounds fascinating too - I know shamefully little about the Vietnam War apart from what I remember from newspaper and TV coverage when I was a child so it would be good to find out more.

Danielle

I looked at Anna's blog--for her War Through the Generations list of books for Vietnam and she has a pretty extensive list, so I'll look there as well. I have looked up Marlantes and added his books to my wishlist (I had already wanted to read Matterhorn). I like the sound of letters since you get a more personal view and a varied one. Despite being sad I can understand why you would love the book--I will search around for it!

Danielle

It is good--butI had to sort of keep reading even though I was feeling a little lost. I think if I read some other books, get more knowledge and then go back to it again sometime later I will get more out of it then. His writing style was interesting--not sure if I would want all the books I read to be like that, but it was nice to expand my reading horizons. I'm going to search about for those letters--I am sure I can find something. My library has a whole section that I might browse. I also know very little and feel like I should know more since it is my own country's history--it's been so long since I studied it. I was pretty little at the tail end of it all and only remember my older sister had a POW sticker on her bicycle--not sure if I even understood what it meant then.

Kathleen

Having studied history in college I am always looking for good books that are rooted in a historical time period. Vietnam is still such a confusing war for me and I've studied it pretty extensively. This book sounds like it lends a good perspective.

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