In The Ghosts of Vietnam, author Jim Stewart reminisces back on his life, which included 4 years in-country. It is not your normal combat action story but actually a warm and at times tender loving story of a young man seeking to find himself during the war and the years afterwards. It is about a journey and not just a diary of where he has been and what he has done. You get inside his heart, as well as his head.
There is a touching scene from his experience as an MP in the Saigon area when he witnesses a little girl on a bike get killed by a truck. He never forgot that little girl, nor the image of her lying on the ground with half her skull missing. It haunts him in the background of his heart; and in a strange twist of fate, that tragic scene gets played out again later in life when he seeks to find his own daughter whom he left behind in Vietnam.
This book is both funny and sad. It is at times, spiritual as well as being very worldly but it is always entertaining. It reads very easily and for people who do not like typical war books, this is the one to read. This is not one of those blatant “I am a hero” with blood and gore stories. This book shows a different side of the war—the kind where crime, black markets and life behind the battle lines in Saigon and the cities are the focus. It is also about love and the loss of love.
This is a story of a man who never really got to enjoy being a father to his daughter; a man who lost his youth many years ago in a far-a-way place that still dreams inside him at night. Yes, there are still ghosts of Vietnam within him but he is finally at peace.
Reviewed by: Bill McDonald (2005)
In 1970, after four years in Vietnam, Jim Stewart left behind his daughter, Phuong. It is estimated that fifty thousand Amerasians were left behind when America pulled out of the country for good in 1973. Jim carried this with him for years after the war. Join him on his journey through personal tragedy as a young boy in Maryland, his often humorous adventures in the Army, and the serious events that took place during his years in Vietnam and afterwards. Often humorous, with a wide array of memorable characters in his life, this is a story that will bring a smile to your face, a tear to your eye, and leave you with a sense of spiritual healing. All from The Angel from Vietnam.