From 1979 to 1989 a million Soviet troops engaged in a devastating war in Afghanistan that claimed 50,000 casualties - and the youth and humanity of many tens of thousands more. Creating controversy and outrage when it was first published in the USSR - it was called by reviewers there a "slanderous piece of fantasy" and part of a "hysterical chorus of malign attacks".
"Why a female narrator?"
The only man in Alpha Company to survive a cataclysmic Vietcong attack, Paco Sullivan is sent back to the U.S. with his legs full of pins, daily rations of Librium and Valium, and no sense of what to do next. One evening, he limps off a bus and into the small town of Boone, determined to find a real life; but no matter how hard he works, nothing muffles the anguish in his mind and body.
"Wanted it to end"
In the stripped-down, unsullied patois of an ordinary soldier, draftee Philip Dosier tells his story of the war. Straight from high school, too young to vote or buy himself a drink, he enters a world of mud and heat, blood and body counts, ambushes and firefights. It is here that he embarks on the brutal downward path to wisdom that awaits every soldier.
In 1966, just as the American military buildup in Vietnam was going into overdrive, a working-class 22-year-old from Chicago was drafted into the army. Larry Heinemann served one year of combat duty, most of it in the vicinity of Cu Chi. It was the most horrific and consequential year of his life, and it served as the raw material for his two classic war novels. This memoir chronicles a 1992 railway journey Heinemann took from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City as the guest of the Vietnam Writers' Association.
"Sarcasm, cynicism--and then more of the same"