4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Deadly Waters, The Vietnam Naval War And Its Aftermath by Randy Miller, is a historical fiction novel based on the actual events that took place during and after the Vietnam War. It is told through the eyes of Zach Martin, a young sailor from a small rural town in Vermont. The book is divided into three parts. Part one and two cover Zach’s time serving in Vietnam where he is stationed on two navy destroyers. It details how he grows from inexperienced sailor to a skilled Helmsman. It describes his feelings as he as experiences, for the first time in his life, what war is really like. He also begins to question for the first time in his life, the justness of war while remaining loyal to the Navy.
Part three covers Zach’s transition to civilian life. After being discharged, he returns to Vermont, buys a farm and gets married to his high school sweetheart Tally Goodwin. He settles in for what he hopes is a quiet civilian life. However, then Zach gets sick with a form of cancer caused by a chemical sprayed by the United States Government, Agent Orange. Together Tally and Zach must face not only cancer but also an enemy more ruthless than anything Zach every faced in Vietnam, the cruel and unjust benefit policies of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
There are many things that I liked about this book. The main character Zach Martin is the perfect protagonist. He has many compelling qualities like being very loyal. Even while being introduced to many attractive women he remains faithful to his only true love,Tally. He continues to do the jobs the navy asks him to do even while questioning the wisdom of the Vietnam War. Other characters are also interesting and well developed.
The way the author describes the relationship between Zach and Tally is especially moving. Through deeply personal letters to each other, he shows their true commitment to each other. I
appreciated the way they stick together through Zach’s Illness, their fight against the US
government, and many other obstacles.
The only thing I did not like about the book is the language. Conversations include a lot of slang words and border line profanity. This makes the dialog between characters hard to follow in a few spots. However, this is a minor flaw and does not distract from the overall quality of the story.
Overall this is a great book that will make you think, while filling you with conflicting emotions The kindness and love between shipmates and family tugs at your heart strings. One the other hand, reading about the VA’s attempt to cheat deserving veterans out of possible compensation for Agent Orange illness will make you angry. The book is very well edited. I noticed no grammatical errors. I would recommend it to anybody who enjoys reading good fiction. I am rating it four out of four starts.
Deadly Waters: The Vietnam Naval War And Its Aftermath
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon