Vietnam haunts Americans of a certain age. It does not matter where in Southeast Asia they served over those years in the 1960s, or in what capacity â€“ they returned to a life as normal as they could make it afterwards, still haunted by the accidental death of a child, the unmatched loveliness of an island in the Dragon Sea, the sudden and inexplicable death of a fellow soldier, the feel of flying low-altitude in a helicopter, the ghosts of the Alamo, and the beauty of an unapproachable woman. Vietnam was a place that was heartrendingly beautiful. But underneath that beauty . . . there was the black ugliness of war, betrayal, sudden and irrational death, the loss of friends and the loss of illusion, and memories which would never entirely fade, as Dick Stanley makes clear in this anthology of short stories. This version of the Vietnam experience seen through the prism of memories of Texas veterans is rather like one of those multi-sided dice . . . each memory different, depending on how the dice is thrown, and what each narrator experienced, then and after. The tone of the writing is quiet, meditative, and deeply sympathetic, and the descriptions â€“ especially in the final story, The Dragon Sea are sublimely beautiful.
Sgt. Mom is a free-lance writer and member of the Independent Authors Guild who lives in San Antonio and blogs at The Daily Brief. Her Adelsverein Trilogy, and her latest â€“ Daughter of Texas â€“ are also available through Amazon.com. More about her books is at her website www.celiahayes.com.