Sunday, December 26, 2010
Tim O'Brien - If I Die In A Combat Zone
While the storyline has become a fairly standard structure for the Vietnam film or novel (or indeed many other war stories), here it works because of the authors brutal honesty. He documents his plans to run to Sweden - researched in detail and planned in depth, because of his terror at going. He talks about the ineptness of one of his commanders and he admits to barely seeing the enemy during his tour of duty.
The power of the book, apart from its honesty, is the way in which we see reflected the greater struggles that take place. Hindsight gives us a particular set of images when we hear the name Mai Lai, but for Tim as he moved around there it was simply another place.
Definitely one of the classics that came out of that war, it'll help clarify the fears and emotions of those soldiers who went to Vietnam but also fueled the struggles against the war and against Imperialism.
Marlantes - Matterhorn