4 out of 4 stars
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Deadly Waters: the Vietnam War and its Aftermath by Randy Miller should be required reading in any high school or college course that covers the history of the Vietnam War. I learned more about the Vietnam War reading this book than I ever learned about it in any history class. Considering that I was born during the Vietnam War (1965), the conflict was still fresh in people’s minds at the point when I was in high school, but we were never really taught anything about it. There seems to have been some desire to sweep the Vietnam War under the rug and pretend that it never happened.
As Deadly Waters reveals, it is not only the war as a whole that gets swept under the rug but the veterans who fought the war. The story centers around a fictional enlisted man named Zack Martin, who begins his journey as a “deck ape” aboard the USS Hawke in 1964 and works his way up to Quartermaster by the time of his discharge in 1968. Initially proud to do his duty for his country, Zack bears witness to both the brutality of the Viet Cong and his own forces as innocent civilians pay the price. Zack begins to internally question the honor of the U.S. military’s actions.
Zack is astounded by the hostility shown to the U.S. troops when they return home from Vietnam and dismayed by his difficulty obtaining care from the V.A. hospital when he experiences illnesses associated with exposure to Agent Orange. Deadly Waters unflinchingly addresses the lies told to the U.S. Military by the corporate chemical giant Monsanto regarding the toxicity of Agent Orange to humans. The book is equally uncompromising in its criticism of the Veterans Administration for their poor treatment of Vietnam veterans, particularly the “Blue Water Navy,” which was comprised of soldiers stationed on offshore watercraft. The V.A. claimed that these combatants could not have been exposed to Agent Orange, as well as making other spurious proclamations that prevented Vietnam veterans from obtaining the benefits to which they were rightfully entitled.
I give Deadly Waters: The Vietnam War and its Aftermath a well-deserved four out of four stars. The book was professionally edited and the formatting was concise. This is a book that everyone should read. I greatly appreciated the wealth of information it presented to the reader. Those who enjoy historical accounts generally and particularly readers who are interested in military history will appreciate this well-written book. Those who are likely to be disturbed by sometimes graphic descriptions of violence may prefer to give this book a pass.
Deadly Waters: The Vietnam Naval War And Its Aftermath
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