The Year of the Monkeyby William W. Lewis
Marine Sergeant Michael Warner. After barely surviving his first tour of duty in Vietnam, the tough Marine has just returned. Warner has all the reasons in the world not to come back-but they only
Vietnam, 1968. The start of Tet, the lunar new year, is only weeks away. The new year will bring the Year of the Monkey, and soon the lives of four people will collide.
Marine Sergeant Michael Warner. After barely surviving his first tour of duty in Vietnam, the tough Marine has just returned. Warner has all the reasons in the world not to come back-but they only matter to him.
Frank Monin. As regional supervisor for the CIA, Monin has been in Vietnam for more than five years. Now Monin has a mission to implement the Agency's newest plan to eliminate the Viet Cong infrastructure-and he prays it will work.
Wally Brumsfield. As bureau chief for the Associated Press in Saigon, Brumsfield is an experienced journalist adept at finding the story behind the story-and he is about to discover the biggest story of his life.
Tran Van Ky. A barber at the American base in Phu Bai, Tran is also one of the highest-ranking Viet Cong cadres in Vietnam-and Tran and his cohorts are planning a Tet surprise for the Americans.
Four strangers. Four agendas. All caught up in the most controversial plan of the entire war-the Phoenix Program.
Cover Design Concept: Clayton Thomas
- iUniverse, Incorporated
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.80(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >
William Lewis has written a very solid novel with The Year of the Monkey. It is set in the backdrop of early 1968 before the Tet Offensive and features the usual list of Vietnam War story characters: The veteran who gets returned to the front after have tasted life again back home. The undercover government aid program worker who is really working for the CIA on a counter insurgency project. A savvy, knowing war correspondent who has none of the markings of a professional journalistic license but rather goes by intuition, his nose for news. And then there¿s the mole. The Vietnamese barber who seems like the simple, steady servant yet is actually the highest ranking Viet Cong member in the province. With all of this set in motion William Lewis weaves and interesting tale of cat and mouse which ends very tragically. His story is a euphemism for the intractable fruitlessness of the Vietnam War. Once the war was over neither country was the better for it but there were only the stories to tell. Yet Lewis¿s story didn¿t have winners they all negated one another¿s gains. There were no real heroes only anti-heroes. So William Lewis left The Year of the Monkey in the end to be told by the one natural observer: the journalist. If you like novels of action and war then I believe you will like this book. I wouldn¿t look for much new from the book in terms of understanding the tragedy but the author does have a good, tough style of storytelling that will definitely appeal to military literature enthusiasts.
Full disclosure: I am a Viet Nam-era veteran (Navy), but beyond seeing Apocalypse Now and The Deer Hunter, I have been content to put the whole unpleasantness of that time out of my mind. Evidently, the great majority of my fellow Americans feel the same way. That's more than a shame: in view of current events, it's a tragedy. Now more than ever we need to be reminded of how important it is we know where we've been as a nation, where we've gone wrong, and, if we can only gain a few glimmerings of wisdom, where not to go in the future. Some think democracy is the great wave of the future. There's probably a better argument to be made that stupidity is the wave of the future. That's why The Year of the Monkey, by William W. Lewis, is most timely. For me, it brings back memories long forgotten, and in sharp detail. It rings true. The story is set at the time of the Tet Offensive, when Communist forces mounted a surprise counterattack against Hue, a supposedly safe city in South Vietnam. The attack failed in the short run, but the political ramifications it caused are viewed by many historians as the beginning of the end of our ill-advised and bungled adventure in Indochina. To tell his story Lewis interweaves the lives of four characters: a Marine Sergeant, a CIA operative, a journalist, and a seemingly humble Vietnamese barber, who is really a double agent and a devoted patriot. These threads are brought together with great skill and grace in cleanly-written, convincingly detailed prose. The resulting tale is one in which the reader cares for the characters, imperfect though they all are. At the end one can only shake one's head at the waste, the stupidity, and the cruelty which make savages of us all, including the ignorant and uncaring back home. That sounds terribly somber, but the book is not, really. The editing is nearly immaculate. It's a page turner in the good sense: fun to read despite its serious subject matter. For those with super-delicate sensibilities, I should mention that the language of most of the characters is rough indeed. It is also accurate: I know! See the first sentence, above. The Year of the Monkey is a terrific example of an independently-published book that is outside the norm, not below it!