Fly It Home: Letters From Nam
by Joe Rhodes
Trafford Publishing

"The U.S. Army convinced me that in all actuality, we, in fact, needed to make more war and apparently less love."

Increasing less is heard about the Vietnam War anymore. With passing generations, our public consciousness gets farther and farther removed from the social turmoil and acrimony surrounding the United States' decision to involve itself the war in Southeast Asia. Now, many years removed from that divisive era, comes an account of day-to-day life on the battlefront. Fly It Home is a short but realistic recollection penned by a soldier who served with the 282nd Assault Helicopter Company in Da Nang from August of 1970 to August of 1971. It is in part based on letters from her son preserved by the author’s mother.

One might expect this to be an epistolary memoir, but though five of the author's letters home are reprinted in full at the end of the book, the bulk of the book is an internal monologue of an ordinary soldier. Rhodes' experiences range from trying to figure out Coordinated Universal Time, to spending seventeen hours a day watching a fence to make sure no one climbed over it, to a cherished reunion with his older brother, also serving in Vietnam, and the lonesomeness that hit when they had to part ways. The unexpected charm is in the author's narrative. Rhodes proves a gifted storyteller. As he rediscovers and reconnects with his service to his country, his memories stirred by the letters, the reader will feel an intimate sense of listening. This book is a brief, personal account of one soldier's year spent in combat in Vietnam, and will be enjoyed by fans of military history and 1960's Americana.

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