The Vietnam Worm by James E. Johnson, III

 Click on cover image to purchase a copy

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

This is a great reading adventure for those who are seeking novels that deal with the Vietnam War in a slightly different fashion.  First time author James Johnson, gives us an inside look at the men of that famous unit “The Wolfhounds.”  He allows the reader to observe the mental and emotional states of these veterans through the eye of a fictional story and characters; however, it runs so close to the author’s and his former unit member’s actual experiences, that it gives the storyline a very high intensity impact.

This is the best novel about the men who fought the ground war in Vietnam that I have read in the last 5 years.  It captures the area, the sights, sounds, smells and feelings like an emotional digital camera.  I flew most of my helicopter missions in this same area and time period where this story unfolds, so I had little trouble visualizing where he was at and what it was like.  The descriptions and action come off as believable and real.  Readers will be taken on an emotional ride.  You will be changed in some way after reading this book.  It will be difficult to forget some of the people and stories.

Johnson uses great word and phrasing skills to capture the emotional and spiritual moments that his cast of characters goes through.  “The Worm” refers to that mental process that slowly eats away at these combat veterans—eventually becoming infected with a bad case of PTSD!

The book is given the MWSA highest rating. It is recommended reading for all mature age groups.

Reviewed by: Bill McDonald (2005)


Author's Synopsis

The Vietnam Worm” is a collection of stories based on the actual experiences of the author and the men he served with. The central character is Sergeant Tom Danville, a man fighting not only the Vietcong, but the combat sickness, ‘The Worm’, that is slowly and secretly invading his brain. From cobras and man-eating tigers, to dealing with incompetent officers and booby traps, the book tells of the daily life ofDanville and his men as they strive to survive not only the horrors of war, but the transition of returning home to a country that neither appreciated nor understood the suffering and sacrifices they had made.

The Vietnam War is all but forgotten now except by the thousands of men who were called and went, or volunteered because they truly believed it was the right thing to do. Many of these men still suffer now because they saw their duty and did it.