Remains: Non-Viewable

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When John Sacret Young's cousin, Doug was killed in Vietnam, Young learned that the remains of every Vietnam casualty fell into one of two official categories: Viewable or Non-Viewable. He also discovered that such categories applied to how his New England family faced its own history.

This compelling narrative is the haunting story of a man coming to terms with himself, with his family's past, with what he knows and will never know, and with ...

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When John Sacret Young's cousin Doug was killed in Vietnam, Young learned that the remains of every Vietnam casualty fell into one of two official categories: Viewable of ... Non-Viewable. He also realized that such categories applied to how his New England family faced its own history. This memoir is beautifully written and profoundly moving. It is a powerful and persuasive examination of fathers and sons, of war and remembrance, and of family and self. 272 pages. 8vo - over 7?" - 9?" tall. Read more Show Less

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Overview

When John Sacret Young's cousin, Doug was killed in Vietnam, Young learned that the remains of every Vietnam casualty fell into one of two official categories: Viewable or Non-Viewable. He also discovered that such categories applied to how his New England family faced its own history.

This compelling narrative is the haunting story of a man coming to terms with himself, with his family's past, with what he knows and will never know, and with his own future.

Remains: Non-Viewable traces the close-knit lives of four men in Young's family: his uncle George, his cousin Doug, his father, and the author himself. In lyrical yet pungent prose, it illustrates how their seemingly tranquil existence on the Massachusetts shore is affected over the years by war, alcoholism, fading friendships and shifting memories of events gone by.

Beautifully written and profoundly moving, Remains: Non-Viewable, a powerful and persuasive examination of fathers and sons, of war and remembrance, and of family and self.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The co-creator of the innovative Vietnam War dramatic TV series China Beach, Young offers a memoir that fugues around the death in Vietnam of his cousin Doug the week before Christmas in 1969. The results are catastrophic for Young's family: his father descends into alcohol-induced brain damage, Young abuses women (his ex-wife, his favorite female cousin and his former girlfriend Dana Delany) and his family suffers all manner of psychic pain after Doug's death. Young's stories, punctuated with extended episodes of reconstructed dialogue, are infused with grief-filled passages on death, loss, disconnection and broken relationships. "All of our lives are fragile nets that tragedy tears at as it sets loose a danger-the impact on the survivors and their relationships." And that is what we get: intimately rendered portraits of life at its most difficult. The odd title was inspired by the way the military classified the bodies of Americans sent home from the Vietnam War as either viewable or nonviewable. Doug Young's body, contrary to the title, was viewable. The aftermath, Young implies, makes for a more difficult spectacle. Agent, Kathy Young. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Young, a former co-creator, writer, and executive producer of China Beach, a TV series about Vietnam, and author of the novel The Weather Tomorrow, has written a finely crafted memoir about how the death in Vietnam of first his cousin, Doug, and later his father's death had a profound impact on his life and shaped him as a writer. The poignant title actually alludes to the two ways that the remains of Vietnam's casualties were designated: viewable or non-viewable. The story of Young's growing up with his cousin in Plymouth, MA, is filled with happy and heartwarming memories of their playing sports and sharing good times. Barely a year apart in age, they had much in common; in addition, both were relentlessly at odds with their fathers and wanted to escape their disapproval. In a compelling narrative that reads like a novel, Young explains that his cousin chose to flee by joining the military and considers how the impact of death forms one's identity, leaving behind memories that one cannot escape. Recommended for larger public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/05.]-Susan McClellan, Avalon P.L., Pittsburgh Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374249038
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 5/5/2005
  • Pages: 288

Meet the Author

John Sacret Young was co-creator, writer, and executive producer of China Beach, the landmark television series about Vietnam. He is the author of The Weather Tomorrow, a novel.
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