4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Most of us have no concept about the realities of war. Even fewer of us have any idea what the Vietnam War was like. In Vietnam Memoirs: Part 1: My Experiences as a Marine Platoon Leader, author Don Bonsper gives us a glimpse into the reality of war.
From an idealistic young man, eager to embark on the Vietnam adventure to the seasoned platoon veteran ready to take on his new challenge as advisor, we follow in Lieutenant Bonsper’s footsteps through the jungles of Vietnam. We experience with him the tedious marches with their inherent stops and starts, we suffer through the heat, damp, rain and insects, which become as much of an enemy as the Viet Cong. This is the reality.
Without pulling any punches, he examines his own actions and reactions as he matures through the trials in the war zone. Throughout, he keeps us involved in the narrative, although there are times when he digresses into statistics and information which takes us out of the immediate action. At first, I found this was a detriment to his storytelling, but as I continued reading, I realized this was a part of his narrative voice, and it serves the story well in the long run. In fact, if this book was written with a more emotional voice, it would be almost impossible to wade through the difficulties this man and his platoon faced.
For the most part, the book was well-written and professionally edited, with the exception of a few minor errors, none of which interrupted the flow of reading. As is my habit, I read through the book completely without considering what I would comment on during a review, then read again with notebook and pen in hand. Even the second time reading through, I often had to stop and remind myself that I needed to take notes, as the narrative pulled me in time and time again.
The voice of the author is robust and unlike many memoirs, it did not feel like there was decades between the time of the story and the time it was written. Often, it felt like I was sitting across from the author listening to him tell stories, although this is much better, as we all know how a storyteller can drift off into side stories. Don Bonsper writes with a compelling and confident voice.
If I have any criticism, it would be that the end seemed to be tied up too quickly, but given that, it just makes me want to read part two of this adventure even more.
Mr. Bonsper has written a winner for those reader who want to know more about the Vietnam experience, and I would recommend that young people should be encouraged to read this as a part of understanding the history of this time.
I rate Vietnam Memoirs: Part 1: My Experiences as a Marine Platoon Leader 4 out of 4 stars, and I am eager to read the second part.
Vietnam Memoirs: Part 1
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon
Like Katherine E Wall's review? Post a comment saying so!