4 out of 4 stars
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Zach Martin leaves his family’s farm in Vermont seeking adventure but ends up changing the entire course of his life in Randy Miller’s Deadly Waters: The Vietnam Naval War And Its Aftermath.
Zach finds good and bad in his tours of Vietnam. The good is the lifelong friends he makes and the new skills he learns such as navigation and how to steer a large ship. The bad are scenes of violence and destruction that he’ll never forget. Zach is fortunate because not only does he have good friends, he has something to look forward to when he returns home from the war. His sweetheart, Tally, who not only gives him a reason to survive the horrors of war but helps him to cope with the aftermath. Their relationship adds real warmth and hope to the story.
The word “aftermath” is an appropriate part of the title. Zach’s time in the Navy affects the rest of his life and his story, like those of actual people who lived through that time, shows that war doesn’t necessarily end when the fighting stops. Hardship and injustice can last a lifetime. There are real people, alive today, who are still coping with problems begun all those years ago. And as Zach points out in the story, he feels sorry not only for his fellow countrymen but for the many people in Vietnam who were caught up in a war when they just wanted to farm or fish and take care of their families.
Because of the vivid storytelling and compelling story, I give this book 4 out of 4 stars. Mr. Miller absolutely makes you feel like you are there. You can just about smell the story because it's written so well. I will say that if you are sensitive to violence this is probably not the book for you. Obviously, this story is about war and the author doesn’t sugar coat it. His storytelling is so superb you will be thinking about this book long after you’ve read it, and parts of it may even keep you awake at night.
If there was something that didn’t like about this book, it would be the choice of phonetic spelling to distinguish different characters accents, such as Chief McCoy’s Southern twang or Zach’s broad Vermont accent. I found that a bit hard at times and it would take me out of the story. But overall, this is a very impressive and powerful book.
Deadly Waters: The Vietnam Naval War And Its Aftermath
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