An engrossing depiction of the Vietnam War.

READ REVIEW

UNAUTHORIZED ACTS

RISKY TALES FROM A VIETNAM MEDIC

A medic recollects a year of service during the Vietnam War.

Debut author Hinson volunteered to work as an Air Force medic in Vietnam for one year starting in March 1967. On the fourth day following his arrival at the Air Evacuation Hospital in Da Nang, he was sent on a mission to retrieve wounded soldiers when the C-130 cargo plane transporting him was forced down. His group—led by Green Berets—stumbled upon a Viet Cong patrol, and the author was forced to shoot and kill an enemy soldier with a shotgun. That shotgun became his constant companion during his year of service, which routinely included similarly perilous missions. He developed a reputation for grace under pressure—and a willingness to accept dangerous assignments. Hinson often went on assignments with Air America, a CIA–supported but civilian-run airline used for classified transportations. He once learned, at the conclusion of a trip, that his plane was ferrying 500 pounds of opium paste. Another CIA flight carried a bedroom set for a general from the Philippines. The author recounts his brushes with death with both humor and gravity by turns; once a piece of shrapnel was prevented from piercing his chest by a collection of Hemingway stories. Another time, Hinson dove into shark-infested waters to rescue a lieutenant; he only learned there were sharks after he was roundly congratulated for his bravery. Hinson’s memoir comprises a series of generally brief recollections, presented more impressionistically than chronologically, each a trove of action and insight. Accompanying the author’s quick wit is a gimlet-eyed appraisal of war in general: “War is a terrifying and violent environment. Human beings do brutal things to other human beings without remorse and without pity. All wars are alike, whether people are hit with rocks or vaporized with nuclear weapons.” Hinson’s remembrances are deeply absorbing and supply an ideologically unencumbered meditation on human nature.

An engrossing depiction of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5255-0424-2

Page Count: 294

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?

WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

Did you like this book?

more