3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Deadly Waters: The Vietnam Naval War And Its Aftermath by Randy Miller is a historical fiction novel. Zachariah Martin is a farmer from Vermont. He is tired of his life and joins the Navy for a reprieve. This seems like the most reasonable option for him since he comes from a long line of servicemen. He is assigned aboard the Hawke, a destroyer ship. The longer he is at war, the more homesick he becomes. He is especially eager to get back home to his betrothed, Tally, who awaits him while in nursing school. Though Zack is the main character, there are several chapters with different narratives.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I did not give a perfect score because there are more than ten errors. However, this is a longer book (402 pages) so it is spaced out and does not detract from the story. Most errors were mild punctuation misuse. I am confident that another round of editing will polish it. Every other aspect of the book is strong. The dialogue is rich and genuine. There are developed, complex characters, exciting war/fight scenes, and heartwarming moments.
The best thing about this book is Zack. There are parts of him that remain unchanged, such as his humbleness and sense of duty. He remains faithful to Tally, unharmed by temptation. He reminds me of Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump: a simple man who is underestimated by the world, yet gifted with intuition. He is sharp and self-aware. Zack’s accent also does not use any “Rs”, so when he says “theyah” (there), I can hear it in my mind plain and clear. To add to his complexity, he realizes that others will always make fun of his diction, so he makes the conscious effort to pronounce every letter. Reading through this transformation is moving.
There is honestly nothing that I disliked about the book. It opened my eyes and I have learned quite a bit. For example, I had no idea what Agent Orange was before reading this book. It is a highly toxic defoliant that the US military sprayed to spot their enemies easier and to promote famine. It was only supposed to harm the plants, not the people. Sadly, that was not the case. It gave both civilians and soldiers cancer, mutilating them and destroying Vietnam’s lands in the process.
I recommend this book for readers who love history, politics, and maritime travel. There is a great deal of seafaring vocabulary. Though it is unfamiliar to me and sounded like another language altogether, I know there are readers out there who will appreciate its authenticity. Also, be aware that war scenes can get quite gory and there are numerous fight scenes. There is also quite a bit of profanity, but it is used for style rather than vulgarity. How do you feel about the Vietnam war? After reading this book, you will find that the answers are endless.
Deadly Waters: The Vietnam Naval War And Its Aftermath
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon