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Nam Book Review

Nam, by Mark Baker, Book Review



The Vietnam War. Over 50,000 Americans killed. Millions of Vietnamese dead. The greatest super-power the world has ever seen, defeated. A thousand questions about why is started, why the US lost, who was responsible, what went wrong.

What the debate about the Vietnam war misses is that 3 million US Service-Men & Women served in this terrible war, and their experiences need to be remembered, no matter whether we feel the war was right or wrong.

In his book, Nam , Mark Baker has interviewed dozens of Vietnam Veterans, and their experiences are written down verbatim, with little background or explanation, just in the order of their tours.

The accounts are harrowing, thought-provoking and emotional. We have no corroborating evidence that what we are reading is truthful or accurate, but nevertheless the accounts are compelling and give the reader an insight into this horrible war.

What comes across is the interviews is how the soldiers, airmen and nurses went to war with the best intentions, thinking they were supporting a good cause, which they well could have been, but as their time in Vietnam went on, and they were sucked into the confusion and chaos, their disillusion grows.

The tales of combat in the jungle are vivid, but I found the most disturbing were the stories of the soldiers returning home to the US , to a country that had changed since they had been away, where civilians publicly despised them, jobs were had to come by and dreams shattered.

I don't know if we'll ever truly understand the Vietnam war, but books like Mark Bakers Nam help us to see the human side of the conflict, and these accounts should never be forgotten.

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