4 out of 4 stars
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War is never pretty, and there are parts of war -- like all of it -- that civilians will never really know. What it takes to be at war, and even more what happens when soldiers return can get caught up in a swirl of imagination, broken memory, and untold tales. Deadly Waters -- The Vietnam Naval War And Its Aftermath by Randy Miller gives the reader a glimpse into the mysteries, politics, loss, and pain of war told through the eyes of many characters we feel we could know just as if they’re our own brother or sister. The love story between Zack and Tally left me emotional and disgusted (at the war’s effect on people’s lives, long after it was over).
What I liked about the book were the factual and believable snippets from the Vietnam War. The war itself, a dark time in America’s history, had an enormous shift on the morality of being patriotic. Miller does an excellent job conveying both sides of the war with characters that come alive and a dialogue that keeps you engaged. The book was easy to read and hard to put down -- a recipe for a great read. Some passages are difficult to get through, like the account between the Hawke and their direct face-off with the enemy, which ended in a total annihilation, or when the “victory” of America on the village resulted in a complete wipe-out of everything alive, including vegetation. If it were only fiction, it might not have been so heart-wrenching. Knowing this story is only an isolated recall of many like them that actually occurred in real life made the truth that much more sobering.
What I liked least about the book wasn’t much, to be honest. It was a fascinating story. I’m glad the love tale between Tally and Zack didn’t end in a fairytale, but was very real and felt accurate. The aftermath of the war is still affecting people today, long after the last defense orders. The call to action in the author’s note is enough to spur anyone with a beating heart into action after reading this story.
This book would be ideal for history lovers, with its factual presence of events surrounding the Vietnam War; fiction lovers, who enjoy getting into a good story, with a solid plot and relatable characters; perhaps also family members of servicemen and women, who may have the opportunity to help war survivors open up about their experiences.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It’s beautifully written with evidence of professional editing. The grammatical errors were few. Even with the broken dialogue (it added to the appeal of reading Zack’s Vermont accent, for example), the passages weren’t a difficult read.
Deadly Waters: The Vietnam Naval War And Its Aftermath
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