This is one of the best pieces of war writing I have ever read, fiction or nonfiction and is an outstanding and terrifying piece of journalism. Michael Herr captures, distills and transmits to the reader the pure essence of the Vietnam War. It’s hypocrisy, it’s insanity, it’s music, it’s soul. The complete and utter, unadulterated complicated mess.
This is not a combat story nor it is a history book but manages to convey both. It is gonzo journalism at its finest showing a war that was covered, managed, hidden and mismanaged unlike any war before it or after it. It is non-linear, unstructured and narrow in scope yet manages to convey the experience of the war. It is the tonal base for other seminal works of the Vietnam War including Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket. It shows a war fueled by drugs and rock’n’roll where all the lines were fuzzy; the truth, the enemy, the whole point of it all. All of this is pinpointed by Michael Herr’s exceptional writing.
The glamour and horror, the courage and cowardice, the humour and sadness, the bravery and stupidity and the complete underlying tragedy is all exposed in a war that was full of contradictions from start to finish, and still is.
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Classification: Vietnam War , Asian history , Postwar 20th century history, from c 1945 to c 2000
Format: Paperback (198mm x 129mm x 19mm)
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publish Date: 1-Jan-2015
Country of Publication: United Kingdom