This book was given to me. I didn't think I wanted to read it. Perhaps watching my own brother’s spiritual disintegration take place over a period of twenty years after his “return” from The Vietnam War and his eventual suicide allowed me to convince myself I knew what was going on. I didn’t need any more of “these stories.” I had seen it play out firsthand.
But I was wrong. From the first page I was mesmerized, absolved of all else. Each story is totally engaging. I was gripped by the teller’s descriptions of actions but more by the weight of honesty in the telling. I expected repetition and found none. Certainly common themes emerge and episodes in the lives of soldiers are similar but each individual story is unique in the telling and takes the reader to a different truth and a new place of understanding.I really thought I wasn’t going to care about this book. And I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s impact on me has and will be profound; the same will be so for many others.
Jeb Wyman has done a great service in bringing these stories from the once-locked hearts of these remarkable young men and women. Everyone who reads this book, both warriors and draft-dodgers like me, will come away with a better idea of what it means to go to war and how hard it is to come back.
Wyman's essay in the Afterward section of the book is as good as anything I've read on this subject or, for that matter, any other.