3 out of 4 stars
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His Last Mission by William Clifford Brown is a work of fiction that follows the life of Will Brandon, a young American who returns home after fighting in the Vietnam war.
The book opens with Will at his high school reunion. He reminisces about the good times and contrasts his turbulent time in Vietnam to his friends' mundane lives. He is nervous about reuniting with a long lost love since he hadn't replied to her letters. The plot alternates between past and present and walks readers through Will's childhood, his teenage years, his time in Vietnam, and his reintegration into society.
I like that Will appreciated the calmness of his hometown although he noticed it after spending time in a warzone. I, however, didn't like the book's format since the scenes changed drastically. One moment Will would be catching up with a friend, and without warning, he would be traversing a Vietnamese jungle. I was often confused when different events occurred in the same chapter. Readers who prefer chronologically narrated stories might be put off by the drastic change of scenery. Although the scenes shifted, the third-person narration and the vivid descriptions made me feel like I was a bystander examining the characters' lives.
The camaraderie between Will and his fellow soldiers is admirable, and their dedication kept them alive. I was surprised at how humanely they treated the locals and formed solid friendships with them. I, therefore, cheered on when the soldiers retaliated against the Viet Cong, who reigned terror on their sympathizers. There are gory scenes that detail the brutality that Will witnessed, and I wondered whether he would get over the killings (albeit necessary) that he orchestrated. The author also touched on bullying, and I could see how such an experience could scar a child. I admired the tenacity and dedication of Will's grandmother, who raised him single-handedly and instilled good morals. She will inspire modern parents to set good examples for their children.
The book's events moved at a moderate pace, and the well-developed characters kept me engaged amid the chaos. There were, however, many spelling errors which appeared on almost every page. These dampened the reading experience, lowering the rating to 3 out of 4 stars. The cover and title left me confused when I started reading, but I can report that everything summed up toward the end. I would recommend this book to lovers of war stories and fans of historical fiction. However, readers who can't handle gore should avoid this book.
His Last Mission
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