A Bad Attitude:A Novel from the Vietnam Warby Dennis Mansker
Meet Farnsworth—reluctant soldier and world-class slacker... but is he also a cold-blooded murderer? And if he didn't kill the sadistic Sergeant Bragg, who did? See the other side of the Vietnam war: Draftees versus lifers, the Saigon black market, deteriorating race relations, and the deadly 1968 race riot at Long Binh Jail.
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This is a 621 page "story" that was so lucidly written in such concise language that it took me less than 6 consecutive hours to read from start to finish. Being a historian of the Vietnam War, I know when a historical novel bends the truth to make the book more interesting. Along with another book written by ex-Vietnam Vet Lennox Cramer entitled "Slow Dance on The Killing Ground", "Bad Attitude" has so many facts surrounding the truth that no history book will ever dare print. In many ways if you really want to learn the "nitty gritty" of that dirty war in S.E. Asia, do yourself a favor and order "Bad Attitude".Slow Dance on the Killing Ground I do not like to write a review where I spoil the plot and leave nothing else to read. You can read the other reviews for that. I will touch on subjects that Mansker sounds out that are unique. There is an expression Mansker claimed all G.I.'s used when talked to condescendingly by a superior officer. When ordered to burn feces as punishment, Mansker writes the famous retort: "You think I give a rat's ass? What are you going to do, draft me and send me to Vietnam?" Another symbol, unique to the Vietnam War, that Mansker mentions was the peace sign. Similarly to W.W. II where the "Kilroy sign" made it everywhere you looked, there were peace signs that graced helmets and walls everywhere you looked. Another issue Mansker brings up is the subject of "fraqging". This occurs to a character named "Sgt. Bragg" in "Bad Attitudes", and the book details exactly why this happens. Although "fragging" was more commonly used as a term to define friendly fire in Vietnam, in this case it's meaning was to assassinate an unpopular officer of one's own fighting unit (often by means of a fragmentation grenade, hence the term). A hand grenade was most often used because it would not leave any fingerprints, and because a ballistics test could not be done to match a bullet with a firearm. Usually, the grenade would be thrown into the officer's tent while he slept. A fragging victim could also be killed by intentionally friendly fire during combat. In "Bad Attitude's" case, Sgt. Bragg's death would be blamed on the enemy, and due to the dead man's unpopularity, the killer would assume that no one would contradict the story. Very few history books like to tarnish America's view of our troops, especially when it comes to killing our own men. There are other issues discussed in "Bad Attitudes", such as absurdities and contradictions in the military, Vietnamese racism towards Afro American G.I's,drug abuse, "anti-Semiticism", "dapping" and those that illegally profited from the "Black Market." In conclusion, this is a textbook of everything you can't get from the typical Vietnam nonfictional war story jammed into 621 pages. In America's longest war, where 58,209 Americans lost their lives, 153,303 were wounded, over 230,000 A.R.V.N. were killed, 300,000 were wounded, and between 2 to 4 million civilians died, this is an indispensable "primer" on what happened during the Vietnam war that is very hard to find. A very worthwhile read!
This was a fast moving, fun, easy read. Be sure to visit the web site listed on the back cover to see photos that will make this book come to life.