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Cherries - A Vietnam War Novel - Revised Edition
     

Cherries - A Vietnam War Novel - Revised Edition

4.1 28
by John Podlaski
 
When a soldier leaves for war, those left behind often wonder what their loved ones are experiencing. Letters home are always cheerful and vague - no sense in worrying the family. Then upon returning home, these young soldiers do not want to talk about their experiences. Family and friends allege they are now distant, changed, and not the same person they remember

Overview

When a soldier leaves for war, those left behind often wonder what their loved ones are experiencing. Letters home are always cheerful and vague - no sense in worrying the family. Then upon returning home, these young soldiers do not want to talk about their experiences. Family and friends allege they are now distant, changed, and not the same person they remember from several months earlier. What causes this?
Although the backdrop for this novel is the Vietnam War, "Cherries" exist in every war. They are the young "Newbie" soldiers, who are trained for war. However, most are not ready to absorb the harsh physical, mental and emotional stress of war. Once they come under fire and witness death firsthand, a life-changing transition begins. This eye-opening account offers readers an in-depth look into the everyday struggles of these young infantry soldiers. You'll feel their fear, awe, drama, and sorrow, witness the bravery and sometimes laugh at their humor.
No two war experiences are the same, but after finishing "Cherries - A Vietnam War Novel", readers will have a much better understanding as to why these changes occur and why our military heroes are different upon their return home. Veterans will relate!

Editorial Reviews

Terry Rizzuti
This is an amazing book that I could never have written. When I told my story I had to fill it full of the emotion I felt but never expressed in Vietnam. Podlaski, on the other hand, managed to stay true to the original experience by telling his story with little or no emotion. The effect is that Cherries is an excellent primer for students of the Vietnam War that are interested in the grunt experience. The last chapter alone is well worth the price of this book.
karynda Lewis
With striking detail and brutal honesty, Cherries is nothing if not
compelling. 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.
Bernie Weisz
I am not quite sure where to start with John Podlaski's blockbuster book "Cherries", a fictionalized account of his 1970 to 1971 tour as a foot soldier in South Vietnam. As an avid reader of many historical memoirs, both fiction and autobiographical, rarely have I found one as in depth and revealing as Mr. Podlaski's work...Regardless of the aspect of fiction being the backdrop, this story is so real, with nothing missed. Cherries is more accurate than 100 memoirs combined.
Karynda Lewis
With striking detail and brutal honesty, Cherries is nothing if not
compelling. 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781452477947
Publisher:
John Podlaski
Publication date:
03/20/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
453
Sales rank:
253,191
File size:
437 KB

Meet the Author

John Podlaski served in Vietnam during 1970 and 1971 as an infantryman with both the Wolfhounds of the 25th Division and the 501st Infantry Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division. He was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star, two Air Medals, and a Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He has spent the years since Vietnam working in various management positions within the automotive industry, and he recently received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. John is a member of both the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 154 and The Great Lakes South East Michigan Chapter of Harley Owners Group (HOG) and lives with his wife, Janice, in Sterling Heights, Michigan. This is his first novel.

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Cherries - A Vietnam War Novel - Revised Edition 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Commander10 More than 1 year ago
I've read alot of Vietam Novels. Great Read.
Rob_Ballister More than 1 year ago
John Podlaski's CHERRIES details the events surrounding a young, scared eighteen year old's arrival and survival in Vietnam. Though "grunt" novels about the Vietnam war are common, this book is unique in that it views the war solely through the eyes of a single new arrival, called a "Cherry," as he moves through all the emotions that go through an indoctrination into war. From arriving "in-country" to receiving initial training, being wounded, going on that first "R&R," and finally "getting short," the author does an excellent job of conveying the new emotions of almost every experience. The main character is John "Pollack" Kowalski, who arrives in Vietnam as an infantryman and sent to the Wolfhounds of the 25th infantry division. Later he is transferred to the 101st Airborne Division. In both units, he finds leadership and cowardice, laughter and loss, and learns who and what he is inside. I particularly enjoyed how the author was able to illustrate the "newness" of everything Kowalski experienced. That ability absolutely separates this book from most every other infantry novel this reviewer has read. There's no doubt that the author called upon his experience as a grunt in Vietnam while writing his first novel, because it's too real to be otherwise. The author was a young soldier of Polish descent when he went to Vietnam to serve with the Wolfhounds and the Screaming Eagles, and he wrote about what he knows. And, he wrote it well. Vietnam vets and anyone who has been a young soldier in any war will appreciate the sentiments here.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Matterhorn please that book cant stand up to how good this book is! This book is the best war book I've ever read even know it is fiction it still gives good detail on the vietnam war. great for people who love books about the vietnam war.
VietVet More than 1 year ago
As a combat infantry veteran of the Vietnam War (1st Cavalry 1968-69) I found this novel a compelling read. Originally I was a bit wary of a novel, as some like The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien tend to get a bit "carried away" with the story-telling aspects, leaving very large doubts about any reality of the content. But within the first fifteen minutes of Cherries I was totally "hooked". While a novel is by definition fictitious, this book meets that criterion only in the use of fictitious names and perhaps a bit of license in the narratives. However, it is totally evident the author is describing events he actually experienced.. You cannot hide that from a fellow "grunt". The book is entertaining, colorful, educational, highly descriptive and convincing. The author delivers his story with such style and realism you feel you are standing alongside him throughout his transition from a young draftee "Cherry" to a seasoned combat veteran of both the 25th Infantry Division Wolfhounds and subsequently the Screaming Eagles of the 101st Airborne Division. This "dual service" was the result of the time period known as Vietnamization, or the process of turning military responsibilities back over to the ARVN (Southern Vietnamese) troops as American forces withdrew. When the 25th left, soldiers with less than a predetermined time in service were transferred to other units. What makes this book exceptionally interesting to another veteran is the comparison of serving with both divisions, as operating procedures in the two areas (the South vs. the rugged Central Highlands)were significantly different. While events can be communicated in various ways by different authors, Mr. Podlaski is an artist, creating a detailed illustration as opposed to a rough sketch, adding the appropriate narrative to bring the entire story to life. His accounts are highly accurate in their description of not only the infantry soldier but so much more. To summarize this book in a one-liner.. It grabs you by the belt buckle and pulls you as close to a war experience as you can get, without having been there. I highly recommend this book to all readers - veterans, non-veterans, students, history buffs, and anyone else interested in the Vietnam War era. You will learn many things you likely didn't know, or have your dimming memory from forty - some years earlier refreshed. David B. Simmons - Author Our Turn to Serve - An Army Veteran's Memoir of the Vietnam War (Xlibris 8.15.2011)
dogWY More than 1 year ago
as a vet enjoyed reading.
C_Jackson 19 days ago
I will echo other reviewers in stating if you are looking for an exceptionally written novel with character development and a progressive theme, then this is not the book for you. However, if you are looking for a GREAT historical fiction, which brings to light the terror, sacrifice, and heroics of the Army field troops during the Vietnam War, then you need to read this one. John Podlaski took his personal experiences serving as an Army draftee and told a story that enlightened the reader to the realities of the Vietnam War. It is told from the viewpoint of the ground troops (Grunts) expounding on the personal terror for daily survival. We now know Vietnam was a political war where the military commanders were required to put their troops in reckless jeopardy to satisfy the demands of the leaders in Washington. This book brings to light the grotesque reality of the Vietnam War. A must read for any Vietnam Veteran.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a modern Iraq war vet, I usually can’t relate to these old Vietnam War stories. Until this book, that is. Wow! It’s not just the “smack the magazine on the helmet” attention to detail, but the timeless realism that roped me in. If it weren’t for the jungle and mosquitoes, you could be crawling around with soldiers in Afghanistan or Iraq. My only complaint is the story’s length. While there’s no apparent “filler,” cutting the less important details would really pick up the pace. Since the war was before my time, I can’t speak to the accuracy of the novel… but that doesn’t matter. Fiction, memoir or a little of both, Cherries still makes my top 10 list of best war novels. Whether a veteran or civilian, this is one great adventure tale.
jorge1711 More than 1 year ago
I enjoying reading what the soldiers are saying about their experience in the RVN; I hope that the Generals, then and now, are reading these stories and learning, because until General Abrams took charge of MVAC, most generals and colonels were just as Cherry as the rest of us. Fighting the last war. Everyone that enter the RVN was a Cherry regardless of rank, position, and amount of prior Army service. We all went through the "What the hell have I gotten myself into". The lesson here is not the early stage of deployment, the lesson is that when the soldier got his skill levels up and running he was reassigned or DEROS. Therefore, the same misstakes were made over again, and again, and again. The NVA didn't do that, therefore their skills just kept improving, and improving. Under Westmoreland we wasted a lot of lives, time, energy, money, fighting the wrong war. Make for promotions. good PR, and of course, lot of KIA - WIA.
GrifGG More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book very much. It was very true because I was there in 1967 and 1968 also in the infantry and I had some of the same experences that the Cherries had. Good book to read. It brought back a lot of memories
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I thought this author had a good story to tell, but I was a little disappointed in the his style. The dialog just didn't ring true.
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