ROE: Rules of Engagement (The Philip Lawson Saga, Book Two)
Author: Bill Rambow
Publisher: Aperture Press (2012)
Binding: Paperback, 454 pages
The story of soldiers during the Vietnam War who served in mechanized infantry units, and participated in the invasion of Cambodia. “Rules of Engagement” manages to capture the broad sweep of events that characterized the common experiences of the men in that war that seemed to last forever.
A Vietnam veteran will quickly recognize the sounds, smells, landscape, lingo, and general tone of those distinct things that were shared by all who served in combat roles in Vietnam. It was a war of unique impressions and the author does a very nice job of capturing them through the fictitious lives of men who could have been very real.
Undoubtedly, these characters are recreations of the authors own experiences, and the faces around him during the story are certainly painted with the brush that is memory of his friends while serving.
Although a book of fiction, there is a lot of history between the covers. The fading echoes of Vietnam have been replaced with the noise of more recent wars, and the men who fought there are aging, and dying. But, thankfully, we have books like ROE to solidify the histories of the young men who fought in SE Asia so long ago.
Reviewed by: Bob Flournoy (2014)
With more than half of his tour of duty in Vietnam behind him Specialist Fourth-class Philip Lawson starts looking to the future, to a time beyond War. He begins to envision what awaits his life and with that greater questions emerge. He wonders what future he may have with Jane, the love of his life and where his post-war time may carry him. Although ever-hopeful with the image of Jane in his mind, he remains immersed in the hell that surrounds him where the ever-changing circumstances and seemingly randomness of combat continue to test his resilience. As his own fears are realized an old friend unexpectedly returns to the company after a brief stint in the world and his changed personality is unsettling. It haunts Phil and quickly threatens to plant the seeds of doubt in his mind. Fortunately however he is soon offered a brief respite; a chance to honor a friend he nearly lost and an adventure back to the World where a surprise finds him that makes certain his life will never be the same. But lurking in the jungle on the other side of the world one final test waits that will challenge all he has learned about the meaning of brotherhood, love, family, and sacrifice.