A profoundly moving story that vividly captures a view of American history through the reflective mind of a 19-year-old Vietnam Marine who heroically fought the tragic war. The aging author once left a small town and patriotic family to almost instantly enter a gigantic and chaotic struggle for survival. He trudges through each day of unimaginable carnage. John Nutting later returns home again -- forever altered by the graphic horrors experienced. Nutting ties in personal images of fellow Marines, the sixties culture, and family in this page-turning recollection of events that will capture the reader. Pictures effectively portray the book's content.
The author uses an easy-to-read style to describe scenes from the unfathomable to the humorous. His script helped me feel what it was like to laugh with a friend and a few minutes later be gathering his body parts up in a body bag while still under fire... or to fall in love in a foreign land and leave without closure to catch your flight back to the other side of earth. Nutting describes his experimentation with marijuana, after entering the Marines.
Back stateside, he gets caught with a joint and describes a breathtaking court martial. With it all in the rear view mirror, the author dedicates this story to his family or it might have been forgotten. The result is an incredibly well-written blend of thoughts remembered forever. His endless bloody fights in Vietnam, the confusion of this war, many dead and living friends, and his own two medevacs due to malaria and shrapnel injury are brought into colorful focus. I left impressed by the author's ability to perfectly depict a tormented but functioning mind, weary of war. I give this book my highest recommendation for ANY audience!
Review by Hodge Wood (February 2019)
John Nutting is nineteen years old in 1966. Raised in small-town Idaho, to a family that could trace its military roots back to the Revolutionary War, Nutting knows he’s going to fight the war as a Marine. On the day of his high school graduation, he swears into the US Marine Corps and boards the plane to boot camp. All too soon he’s in the jungle, a greenhorn member of “F” Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Division. Firing on an unseen enemy, burying friends killed by booby traps, and struggling with the notion that many people back home were totally opposed to the war, Nutting begins to wonder what are his odds of coming home? During a rescue mission gone wrong, a mortar round explodes beside his team, digging shrapnel deep into his leg. Aboard the surgical hospital ship, where he is sent to recover, he sees the indescribable injuries of Marines who had been captured and tortured by the North Vietnamese Army, and makes the decision to join the 3rd Marine Regimental Scout/Snipers at Camp Carroll. After the locals betray the scout/snipers assigned to help their village, resulting in the death of two of Nutting’s buddies, Nutting finds an escape to sanity in marijuana. This begins his continuous recourse to the drug that lasts throughout his tour, done only in the bunker or when away on R&R—never in the field and never on duty. Despite his proven record, when he is caught in possession of marijuana, his arrest and the ensuing court martial changed his life and his reputation forever.
ISBN/ASIN: IBSN-10:162914-424-X, IBSN-13:978-1-62914-424-5
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Kindle, Audiobook
Review Genre: Nonfiction—Memoir/Biography
Number of Pages: 186