4 out of 4 stars
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Deadly Waters: The Vietnam Naval War And Its Aftermath by Randy Miller details the experiences of Zachariah Martin not only from the small farm in Vermont to the waters and war in Vietnam but also to life after the war. The kid who left school to join the Navy and fight the enemy in Vietnam becomes a man, a changed man at that.
The 60s and 70s were the years of free love and protests. In the short time from Zack's deployment, until his first leave, the war in Vietnam was no longer supported by many. It was hated. For others, like Zack and Tally, things had not changed just yet. They were madly in love, and they made the best of the long wait until he was home at last.
Vietnam is vividly described as a beautiful country. The lush forests, the plants, and birds, then the spraying of Agent Orange and the following devastation. The screaming of the bombs, the explosion, the aftermath, these details are included in such a way I felt I was beside Zack, watching. This is not a book for the fainthearted.
Early on in the narrative, the author gave us a taste of how much foul language was used. Fortunately, after the sample, he did not feel the need to continue in that vein. Readers can understand what is written between the lines. He also was able to write out the accents from different parts of the country! These were two features of the writer's abilities I appreciated.
The raw facts of the situation are presented with a touch of humor, such as: '(they supplied) everything they needed to wage this war: beans, bullets, and body bags.' And ' In reaction, the Air Force drenched the perimeter with Agent Orange...Fifty years later and still nothing is able to grow there.'
This book is a hard but honest look at what the Vietnam War did to people on both sides of the war, what it did to the land, and how harshly the returning vets were treated. The writing is tasteful, but it does cover a war, so it contains graphic violence, some foul language, and mild sexual content. It is well-edited, and the storyline does not have any detours or hiccups to distract from the flow of reading.
I give this book 4 out of 4 stars. It is excellently written. I enjoyed the writer's ability to paint characters so clearly, including the manner of speech and slang. I'd also like to thank the author for the glossary at the end for us landlubbers who don't know Navy terms. There is nothing I didn't like about the book; it just made me sad that it is so close to what happened to our vets that it is barely fiction. I would recommend this to history buffs, to those who like a good love story, and to those who are old enough to understand the emotions and pain involved in this troubling period of history.
Deadly Waters: The Vietnam Naval War And Its Aftermath
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