THE HORSE SOLDIERS of VIETNAM is based party on fact, but is primarily a work of fiction. It is factual in the sense that a specific individual well known to me disappeared after Vietnam and has never been seen since returning to the states from that emotionally devastating conflict.
The specifics of that young man's trials are completely unknown to me. The fiction begins with speculation as to the kinds of events that would so totally alienate a veteran from his family and friends to the point that he would refuse all contact with them. Then, he seems to have completely disappeared from the face of the earth.
In fiction Carl Steiger faces the increasing psychological turmoil of war and lost love, and becomes addicted to heroin-- a drug which has also been called HORSE-- hence the title. As the story line progresses the impending disaster is softened by the fact that the reader has already seen the Prologue and knows that Steiger will survive both conflicts: He will physically survive the slaughter in Vietnam, and-- after years of addiction-- he will also finally overcome the terrible and seemingly insurmountable malady of heroin dependency.
Steiger survives and the hope of the storyteller is simply that the young man mentioned above will also survive. Further it is our hope that all of the forgotten 'Horse Soldiers'--many of whom still wander through the shadows of society today--will also survive. We pray that they will
Chuck Breuer, Edgefield SC, August 3, 2000.