Monday, February 13, 2012

"Down South" in the midst of war

Fighting an unseen enemy in the dark, with death choosing comrades with seemingly random abandon.
That's the life described by WILLIAM H. HARDWICK in his war memoir, "DOWN SOUTH: ONE TOUR IN VIETNAM."
Hardwick was an artillery officer in the war and his memories surround some of the most intense fighting in the country, circa 1968-69.
His descriptive powers place you in the heart of the jungle, in the middle of the rice paddy and in the heat of the battle.
Hardwick also writes with the benefit of hindsight, as he proves in his preface:
"Perhaps we should have paid less attention to the similarities between Korea and Vietnam and more attention to their differences. Korea is a peninsula. We could seal and control three of the country's four borders, and no organized indigenous guerrilla movement existed in South Korea. Vietnam on the other hand has a long, difficult land border, and its guerrillas had been organizing, training and permeating the community for years before Americans arrived. The problems faced in Vietnam are more similar to the problems we face today in trying to stop the flow of drugs into the United States."
"Down South" has been a quick and interesting read. I recommend it for an "everyman's view" of war.


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