John Steinbeck's "Dispatches from the war"

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John Steinbeck's "Dispatches from the war"

Postby Jim Sheppard » Sat Mar 24, 2012 10:28 pm

Normally I would wait to review the book I am reading until I have finished...and I intend to do that in due time...but was just so thrilled at what I have read so far by this wonderful author. A new collection of stories he wrote in Vietnam in the year before he died in 1968 has just been released & I am reading a copy of the book in the Hardback variety.

It is refreshing to read intelligent descriptive writing by this man...and even more rewarding to find he took an entirely anti-communist view to his pen and paper! (Unlike the majority of the press in Vietnam). I can only recommend this book very highly...and this after reading just the beginning pages!

A sample follows:

"Suddenly, up ahead there is a burst of purple smoke, our landing signal, and we loop over to a chopped out clearing so small that our rotor blades barely clear giant bamboo. Out of the undergrowth, thicker than any I have ever seen, faces, or really only eyes, appear. Mottled helmets and fatigues disappear against the background. Faces black or white from sweat and dirt have become a kind of universal reddish gray. Only the eyes are alive and lively. And when we settle and the rotor stops, their mouths open and they are men, and what men. Can you understand the quick glow of pride one feels in just belonging to the same species as these men? I suppose it is the opposite of the shiver of shame I sometimes feel at home when I see the dirty clothes, dirty minds, sour smelling wastelings and their ill-favored and barren pad mates. Their shuffling drag-ass protests that they are conscience-bound not to kill people are a little silly. They're not in danger of that. Hell, they couldn't hit anybody. I think their main concern is that a one-armed half blind 12-year-old VC could knock them off with a bunch of ripe bananas."
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