There Was No Music
by Michael Peters
Proisle Publishing

"The edge is our comfort zone."

Both gruesome and tender, this memoir is well worth reading. Peters first describes his civilian life and then his military life during the horrors of the Viet Nam War. The writing is superb, and the reading is jolting.

To read this memoir is to get a live-action history lesson, circa 1967. But this is no dry history book. Peters' descriptions about going to war and killing are masterful. For example, he skillfully captures the scene after SEALs take out a tax collector: "The message was in the form of a gruesomely inert figure lying contorted and askew inside the hootch." Perhaps what is best about the book is the stark and frank descriptions of some service members' post-war mindsets and difficulties in relationships. Everyone hears about post-traumatic stress disorder and nightmares, but readers don't often get the blunt and nitty gritty details that Peters bravely provides. The author also chronicles polo matches he partakes in and encounters with gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson.

Even discounting the war stories, any reader could honestly assess that Peters has led a full and riveting life. Though the author could use this memoir as a political soapbox as many others do, he chooses not to. He does, however, state his opinion on politicians' decisions to go to war: "It continues to vex me that so few of the current political cadre have not had actual exposure to the carnage of combat, yet are positioned to determine the fate of those who will fight the battle...." No matter one's political opinions, this autobiography should be at the top of their reading list.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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