Valor in Vietnam is a compelling book about the lives of 23 individuals, including the author, who served in Vietnam between 1963 until 1977. The stories unfold chronologically, and sometimes overlapped with a person from a previous story continuing on with his own. The last chapter revisits a love story in which a civilian worker and his Vietnamese fiancé finally reunite after years of separation due to the fall of Saigon. Most of the personal accounts are by Army personnel, including one Army nurse who details the horrors of working with wounded personnel in conditions not suitable for non-problematic injury care. There were also chronicles from Air Force, Marine, and Navy personnel as well as a POW story. All in all the book makes for interesting reading, especially with narrative by the author that explains the progress of the war through the introduction and historical overview, an epilogue of reflections, and within the narratives themselves. If you are interested in military history and personal stories of honor, courage and commitment of military personnel, then you will be well served in reading this book.
Reviewed by: Darlene M Iskra (2014)
Every war continues to dwell in the lives it touched, in the lives of those living through that time, and in those absorbed by its historical significance. The Vietnam War lives on—famously or infamously, depending on political points of view—but those who have “been there, done that” have a highly personalized window on their time of that history. Valor in Vietnam focuses on nineteen stories of Vietnam, stories of celebrated figures in the veteran community, compelling war narratives, vignettes of battles, and the emotional impact on the combatants. It is replete with leadership lessons and valuable insights that are just as applicable today as they were forty years ago.
This is an anecdotal history of America’s war in Vietnam composed of firsthand narratives by Vietnam War veterans presented in chronological order. They are intense, emotional, and highly personal stories. Connecting each of them is a brief historical commentary of that period of the war, the geography of the story, and the contemporary strategy written by Lewis Sorley, West Point class of 1956, and author of A Better War and Westmoreland.
With a foreword by Lt. Gen. Dave R. Palmer, US Army (Ret.), Valor in Vietnam presents an overview of the war through the eyes of participants in each branch of service and throughout the entire course of the war. Simply put, their stories serve to reflect the commitment, honor, and dedication with which America’s veterans performed their service.