For our current students, soldiers from the Vietnam War are their grandparents’ ages, much like how my grandparents were in the World War II generation. Chris Lynch’s Vietnam series puts the war into perspective in an approachable manner.
The set-up is that the four books in the series follow the experiences of four friends from the same small town in New England. Each friend serves in a different branch of the military, so the reader gets to see the war from four vantage points. Morris, the protagonist of the first book, is in the Navy. What’s great is that students can see what life was like on a cruiser, see how distant the war was, and then follow Morris as he’s tranferred to a river runner on the Mekong River. He never knows where the next attack will come from and his eyes are opened to the darker parts of war.
What I appreciate about the book is that it’s not too preachy. With a tagline like “If friendship has an opposite, it has to be war”, you know that it will have some anti-war sentiments. For the most part, though, that’s Morris worrying about his friends. There is action that military or history enthusiasts will appreciate the detail down to the last C-123. The book does not glorify combat, though. This is not Call of Duty. People die unexpectedly; those left behind grieve as they spend the hours of tedium waiting for the bursts of chaos. This is war from an enlisted soldier’s eyes.
It’s a great book and a strong start to a series. It’s definitely worth having in your library.