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The Alphabet of Vietnam by Jonathan…

The Alphabet of Vietnam

by Jonathan Chamberlain

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4515256,992 (3.44)7



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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I knew two brothers who both fought in the Canadian armed forces in World War II. One had a gentler personality in peace time than the other. Two individuals with unique personalities. Not surprising.
I am sure they were already different from each other before the war and during the war. Obviously.

What happens when one brother stays at home during war (in this case the Vietnam War) and the other one goes? After the death of the soldier(by suicide) the surviving brother receives the suicide note with instructions to go to his forest hideaway to visit his war buddy. there is a task to fulfill. The girl that both returning vets have sharing as a sex slave in captivity for quite some time (the girl and her girlfriend initially came out to the forest for what they expected was to be a one night party after which the would be free to go back home, but the one ended up being murdered within a very short time) has given birth to a son.
The task is to rescue this boy and get him to civilization. The main character, the non-soldier will be curious, as is the reader, about who is the biological father of the boy.

It is no mystery to us now when we read about post-traumatic stress disorder to see that the violence of war does not evaporate from a returning veteran. But it is still shocking to read about it in this book. We who stayed home must offer our support and resources.
  libraryhermit | Mar 24, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is not an A, B, C of a concept, a war, or a time of American history. This is a hard as nails, jagged as broken mirror of the evil we avoid, live with, and sometimes willingingly/unwillingly participate. Presented in several voices, I occasionally faltered as to whose time and experience I was reading, but I could not stop reading. No matter how insanely harsh or sublimely sweet, I had to know where we would all wind up. Jack has inherited his brother Joe’s personal box of war rantings, letters and self loathing and is compelled to upset every principle he has ever previously understood as good and true to seek an ultimate understanding that can never be obtained but will jumpstart his stalled out life. ( )
  catscritch | Sep 10, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Through the first person narrator and the story, the author discusses the Vietnam War, its dire consequences to both the Vietnamese people and to the American soldiers who were there. The book mentions the atrocities in My Lai and the guilt and despair of some returning soldiers because of what they might have witnessed and perhaps even done during the war.The book is told from an American's point of view. The story is also a story of love as well as of the war and it brings up a lot of questions about the past. ( )
  Harvee | Jun 28, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I don't know exactly why I requested this book. I don't feel a lot about Asia and even less about the war that was in Vietnam. Most likely I've seen more than enough movies about it when I was younger.

Still I was curious for this book. It is about Jacks brother Joe. Joe died and although it looked like an accident, it is not the case as Jack receives a package with Joes dairies. Based on what he read he leaves to find the cabin where Joe stayed the last couple of years, together with Wash. Hes has to save a pregnant woman there. Jack also visits Vietnam, hoping to find and feel the spot where Joe suffered during the war.
All the story lines are bunched together and it took me some time to understand which story I was reading about. But thas was only at the beginning of the book.

The events in the book and its language are quite coarse. Not everyone will appreciate this. On the other hand, it makes clear how devastating that war can be for the soldiers who must fight it.

Eventually I found it an impressive story, although sometimes I just could bear a few pages. The variation in storyline however makes that there's something funny in there as well at times.
This book is really not for everyone but I gave me some insights in world where I might prefer not to know that also exists.

http://boekenwijs.blogspot.com/2012/05/alpabet-of-vietnam.html ( )
  boekenwijs | May 21, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was a fairly depressing story. The overall premise of a letter from a recently deceased brother leading the central character to attempt to rescue a girl from a remote back woods cabin sounded entertaining. However, and as many of the other reviewers mentioned, this book has far too much graphic violence to fall into the 'entertaining' category.

The author does a good job of weaving several different strands of the story: the present; a recent trip to Vietnam; the rescue itself; and Joe's writings from his journal. As a result the story unfolds in an interesting way and the violence that has its roots in the Vietnam war is juxtaposed neatly with the modern Vietnam of Jack's travels and a Vietnam very few Westerners would recognise from the poetry that Jack discovers while he is there.

If you are not bothered by the violence then this is an interesting read, but not for the squeamish. ( )
  jhoddinott | Mar 8, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 988190028X, Paperback)

There is a darkness in men's hearts that war sets free. When their war is over, they bring that darkness back home with them. It's a short trail from the jungles of Vietnam to the forests of the Appalachian Mountains. A complex tale involves a journey back to Vietnam and into the dark past: a past where Clausewitz, the philosopher of war, meets de Sade, the philosopher of man's own individual evil.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:23 -0400)

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