Title: Cherries - A Vietnam War Novel
Author: John Podlaski
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Reviewer: Rob Ballister
ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1452879818
A book chronicling the experiences of eighteen year-old Army Infantry soldiers during their tour in the Vietnam War. During the draft years, scores of naive, frightened, and awed young soldiers arrived daily in Vietnam; they were immediately branded "Cherries" (slang for virgins) by their in-country peers. Thrust into an unpopular war, these new recruits had much to learn before being accepted and fully trusted by their brothers. These boys were forced to become men virtually overnight, learning the ropes quickly to make life or death decisions, while depending upon one another to survive. The first few months in country served as an intense learning experience where they saw, heard, and endured things never thought to be humanly possible - providing they lived that long.
There are 2.5 million existing stories from soldiers having served in Vietnam. Cherries is unique in that it is told from a "Cherry's" point of view. The story follows a group of teenaged soldiers throughout their transitions from Cherries to war-hardened veterans. Their experiences are at times educational, horrific, comical, and tragic, in their never-ending search for the enemy through the dark, wet, bug-infested jungles and mountains of South Vietnam.
Though Vietnam serves as the setting for Cherries, this story could take place during any war.