During the height of the Vietnam War, the U.S. Army resorted to a bait-and-switch scam that recruited thousands of unsuspecting college graduates into its combat ranks. This is the story of two of its victims, Andrew and Eliot, who join the Army to become signal officers but instead are reassigned to the infantry, a misfortune that treats their beloved diplomas as one-way tickets to the jungles of Vietnam. Finding uncertainty in a certain war, they manage to avoid the most dreadful duty--point man in an infantry company. Their misadventures--Andrew lugging a 25-pound radio on his back, and Eliot writing military propaganda in Saigon--lead them down different paths, one becoming a war hero, the other a casualty of war. Written from a diversity of perspectives--fictional, historical, and autobiographical--this book is about survival, not only on the battlefield, but in the mind of an artist caught between his pursuit of a masterpiece and his allegiance to the men fighting to stay alive.
|Publisher:||Canto 34 Press|
|Product dimensions:||0.72(w) x 6.00(h) x 9.00(d)|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Traces can weigh more heavily upon the heart of an individual more than a full bag of sand. This idea never occurred to young Andrew D¿Oria when he graduated from college and enlisted in the United States Army for the express purpose of attending Officer Candidate School. As with most best laid plans, this also went awry. Andrew soon found himself as a radio operator in an infantry company in Vietnam.
Along with Andrew we follow the life of his friend Eliot Penman who set out on the same path as Andrew, but traced his own path through life and war.
How do they end and how many times do their paths intersect? Read this book and learn some of how we grow and live and learn and carry the burdens of life.
In Richard Barone¿s first book he has crafted a great story. To any veteran, especially of the United States Army, of the modern era this book rings of a genuineness that can be given only by someone who has served. This is best exemplified by his criticism of statuary that incorrectly portrays how a soldier carries a weapon. Soldiers see these things.
This is not to say this book should be bypassed by those who haven¿t such a background. This book is written in such a style that any reader can feel a part of the story and become one with any or all of the characters so well designed. They come to life and soon the reader forgets where he is and finds himself on patrol in the steaming jungle.
This reviewer has read several books of experiences during the Vietnam War and its aftermath. Mr. Barone¿s work definitely ranks at the top of this list.
Artists and art historians will find this book very enlightening. Born into the hype and height of modernism, Andrew D'Oria is free to escape the draft, enter the art world as a fugitive, and become a member of what Motherwell called "the spiritual underground," expressing his freedom in monumental abstract paintings for the entire world to see. This is, however, a narrative trap that Andrew is aware of right from the start. He senses the futility and egoism in abstract expressionism (Pollock's Convergence) and seeks something more profound. Picasso's Guernica is for him the ultimate failure of modern art, because it is a political, social, and public declaration, and an abandonment of the artist's aesthetic vision (Matisse's Red Studio). In no way is it Andrew's moral guidon. He volunteers for combat duty and seeks artistic fulfillment on the battlefield. What he finds is something different than he had wished. Even given the chance to be an artist, to achieve what Picasso couldn't, he fails, but only because of his abandonment of true brotherhood, something Picasso could never find in the studio.