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Death Angel: A Vietnam Memoir of a Bearer of Death Messages to Families
     

Death Angel: A Vietnam Memoir of a Bearer of Death Messages to Families

by Harry Spiller
 

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The author enlisted in the Marine Corps at 17, with dreams of becoming a hero. Two years later, a disillusioned young sergeant returned from a tour of Vietnam, his new assignment, recruiting: finding a “few good men” for the Corps—and soon, too often, delivering death messages to the families of those he had recruited. Here are gut-wrenching

Overview

The author enlisted in the Marine Corps at 17, with dreams of becoming a hero. Two years later, a disillusioned young sergeant returned from a tour of Vietnam, his new assignment, recruiting: finding a “few good men” for the Corps—and soon, too often, delivering death messages to the families of those he had recruited. Here are gut-wrenching memories of a Marine’s service in Vietnam, the grief of the parents, and the burden of guilt suffered by the bearer of the news.

Editorial Reviews

The Spokesman
a grunt-level view of Vietnam and its aftermath
From the Publisher
“recommended”—Library Journal; “a well-written, often gripping account...vivid...intriguing...deeply emotional”—Military; “a grunt-level view of Vietnam and its aftermath”—The Spokesman; “details the torment of being both a Marine Corps recruiter and a ‘death angel’”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch Magazine; “vividly relates the horrors seen and felt by serviceman, parent, and recruiter”—Heartland Writers’ Conference; “shows the horror experienced by Marines, the nightmares suffered by parents and the burden of guilt suffered by a recruiter who ‘lost heart’—The Illinois Sheriff.
Library Journal
Memoirs like Spiller's are in short supply. His story unfolds with his initiation into the Marines at age 17 in June 1963. He returns home over a year later, unable to connect with his family, and eventually reenlists. For the next six years he is assigned to the Cape Girardeau, Missouri Recruiting Office. His duty: to notify personally the relatives of wounded and dead soldiers, including some of his own enlistees. Spiller's unemotional narrative is effective here, and we are moved each time the predictable panic erupts in the face of a mother or father on the other side of the screen door as the ``death angel'' in uniform approaches their home. Told in the third person, Spiller's story is simple, unsophisticated, and detached. While the technical flaws are distracting (uneven indexing; the arbitrary placement of five photographs; and occasional trivial details), this work begins to flesh out an important aspect of Vietnam War history. Recommended for subject collections and for public and high school libraries.-- Pamela J. Peters, SUNY-SICAS Ctr., Oneonta
Military
a well-written, often gripping account...vivid...intriguing...deeply emotional

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786467419
Publisher:
McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date:
12/13/2011
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
1,303,073
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Harry Spiller served two tours in Vietnam with the Marine Corps. A retired professor of criminal justice and former sheriff of Williamson County, Illinois, he lives in West Frankfort, Illinois.

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