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Medic!: The Story of a Conscientious Objector in the Vietnam War
     

Medic!: The Story of a Conscientious Objector in the Vietnam War

4.2 16
by Ben Sherman
 

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A conscientious objector who served as a medic during the Vietnam War offers an unflinching, compelling account of his experiences on the battlefield, describing his work with the injured and dying in the heart of combat.

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3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In 1969 Benjamin Ray Sherman was sent to Vietnam classified as I-AO status, noncombatant duty. His tour followed two years of petitioning his local Selective Service Board, serving four months in a secured holdover barrack, a successful letter writing campaign to the Pentagon, and training ten weeks as a field medic. Medic: The Story of A Conscientious Objector In the Vietnam War explores the experiences of a young working college student who refused to kill in the name of loyalty to country. Although Private Sherman was not supposed to be assigned to a combat zone due to his classification, within his first two months in the 9th Infantry stationed at Dong Tam near the Mekong River in South Vietnam, Sherman was exposed to blood and carnage and listed as killed in action (KIA). On his third day at his new post, Sherman was confronted with a near death situation. He was assigned to the morgue where the work entailed the meticulous cleaning and preparation of dead soldiers for return to their families. An irate soldier, striped of his corporal rank following questionable behavior, brutally beat Sherman. He was assisted by two fellow soldiers then whisked off to serve on a Navy ship by his superior officer, Sergeant ¿Smitty¿ Smith. With Smitty as his mentor, Sherman assisted with surgery on the Nueces, ¿humped the bush¿ attending to casualties of Viet Cong snipers, and provided medical support to the severely damaged at a make-shift, outdoor hospital. Throughout his time in Vietnam, Sherman¿s status as a conscientious objector was tested. He endured a barrage of ¿What would you do if¿?¿ questions, but consistently stood his ground. Sherman was not against serving, but believed he should be allowed to do so in a way that did not compromise his personal beliefs: ¿I felt that every young male and female in our country should serve in some capacity, choosing from a wide variety of options, including the military or the Peace Corps or countless other service oriented endeavors.¿ Although judged by his comrades for his position against bearing arms, ultimately Sherman was respected for standing up for his convictions. Sherman recounts his time in Vietnam in vivid, fast moving detail, putting the reader right next to him as he dodges death, saves and loses lives. The author is candid, challenging standard ideas of manhood and patriotism. Medic is an excellent read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Like the best of stories, this one is intensely personal, and like the best of stories, this one is also universal. Ben Sherman exposes his intense experience as a conscientious objector serving as a frontline medic with a vivid sense of visual and visceral detail. The story is of one young man's brutal immersion into the reality of war, and it is also story of wide reaching significance of human connection and the stunning human cost of war across borders, cultures, and eras. Every Viet Nam vet has his or her own story; many are left untold, relegated to the bottomless black hole of suppressed war memories. No one could have faulted the author for choosing such a path; bringing memories of war horrors to light is painful. But Sherman offers his story as a gift of grace, an opportunity for healing, and as an imperative to seek other ways to resolve conflict. Paul Ferrini says, 'When you have the courage to approach the wall of your fear, it turns into a doorway.' Sherman has opened this doorway for himself, and his doorway offers an opening for others. Wars are fought by individuals, but are entered into and supported by our collective identity, by nations. If we are ever to learn a different way of resolving conflict, essential for the human story to continue, then we must have full understanding of the reality of war, not the propagandized unreality we're usually fed. Sherman's book tells a story we all, young and old, need to know. We especially need to know this story together, and 'Medic!' provides a powerful vehicle for the most important of intergenerational conversations. This is not light reading; it is important reading about some of the deepest --both hardest and best -- of human experiences. I was drawn in, engaged, and changed by this book like no other. Sherman's unique perspective as a CO medic is a story we all need to hear.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book a total letdown. I had such high hopes that this memoir was going to be one that challenges the reader and the author, I thought it being written by a CO who was a medic in the Vietnam War (or as the Vietnamese call it the American War) was going to be relentlessly eye-opening from the body bags of the sons of poor and working-class families, to the many My Lai's and perhaps the hardly ever talked about GI Resistance Movement. Instead of any of that, I found him taking part in blowing up parts of the countryside (even if he himself didn't pull the trigger) and taking part in 'massage parlors' with underage Vietnamese girls who service US soldiers and officers. I guess I thought a CO meant not taking part in or supporting a war effort, but after this I can see it sometimes just means standing behind those who shoot.