Title: Cat Lo, A Memoir of Invincible Youth
Author: Virg Irwin
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Reviewer: Bill McDonald
ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): ISBN / EAN
Cat Lo is a story of young men who volunteer for Swift Boats in Vietnam and about war's indelible lesson for those who survive: life is too precious to waste.
Thirty-six years after Vietnam, Virg Erwin sits with a disfigured marine convalescing from Iraq and asks, "Do you want to talk about it?" It is a question no one has ever asked Erwin. "It was hard to know who were civilians--who were bad guys," the marine says as he describes being caught in a violent ambush.
For Erwin, the marine's story resurrects memories of sailors patrolling narrow rivers and canals, their naive sense of invincibility shattered by Viet Cong patiently waiting in bunkers with rockets. Cat Lo is about conflict of compassion for the South Vietnamese who are caught in the middle of war without option of neutrality, and confusion by the question: Who is the enemy and who is not?