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Cherries: A Vietnam War Novel

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

War As Seen Through The Eyes Of Babes

Over the past 30 years, many accounts have been written of the brutal realities of the Vietnam War. Chronicling everything from the harsh conditions in which the soldiers were forced to live to the widespread death that surrounded them, said accounts have often spared n...
Over the past 30 years, many accounts have been written of the brutal realities of the Vietnam War. Chronicling everything from the harsh conditions in which the soldiers were forced to live to the widespread death that surrounded them, said accounts have often spared no detail in highlighting the grim circumstances of the monumental conflict.

Throughout the pages of Cherries: A Vietnam War Novel, though, author John Podlaski treats the reader to an up-close-and-personal look at a specific subset of the Vietnam War: its effects on the naïve young recruits who fought in it. Dubbed "Cherries" by their more seasoned peers, these newbies suddenly found themselves thrust in the middle of a nightmarish scenario for which not even their worst dreams could prepare them; as such, they were hardly ready to absorb the harsh mental, emotional, and physical toll that the conflict would eventually take on them. Literally forced to become men overnight, the Cherries had to learn quick to make life-or-death decisions, the consequences of which not only impacted their own lives - but also those of their fellow soldiers.

With striking detail and brutal honesty, Cherries is nothing if not compelling. Largely compiled from Podlaski's real life experiences, his eye-opening account offers the readers an in depth look into the everyday struggles with which the young recruits were forced to contend. The reader may find it surprising though, to learn that - despite the death, terror, and mayhem that surrounded them - the soldiers were often able to find humor in their situations, even to the extent of adopting quite self-deprecating ways of looking at their own fates. One can only assume that the tremendous psychological toll of war gives rise to this unexpected phenomenon, as being confronted with the glaring prospect of your own mortality every day surely fosters a profound, unique appreciation of the frailties of the human psyche.

Every bit as gritty and shocking as can be imagined, Cherries: A Vietnam War Novel is a refreshingly honest account of a life few of us would ever choose to live - and, thus, should feel fortunate that we don't have to. A highly recommended read.


Karynda Lewis
Apex Reviews

posted by ApexReviews on August 4, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

I gave this work 2-stars because it needed extensive rehabilitat

I gave this work 2-stars because it needed extensive rehabilitation by an editor before printing. It wasn't given that luxury and the result is a demeaning account of otherwise astonishing events as recounted in fourth grade English. I am old now. The sights and smells ...
I gave this work 2-stars because it needed extensive rehabilitation by an editor before printing. It wasn't given that luxury and the result is a demeaning account of otherwise astonishing events as recounted in fourth grade English. I am old now. The sights and smells of the Bassac River, Saigon, and the Mekong will forever be a part of me. One hundred eighty-seven days then 2 years of rehabilitation brought me the full distance from a Pan American landing at Tan Son Nhut to waking up in a hospital in Japan. There is nothing inaccurate about the content of Cherries. I did not hump the highlands, we haunted the rivers, channels and canals of the Delta in 1966-67. I just wish this tome was written better. It deserves it...

posted by wandererDE on November 3, 2014

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