HEY, MAC, WHERE YA BEEN? by Henry Berry


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A loosely organized but consistently engaging collection of short-take reminiscences that afford a wide-angle, intensely personal view of the Marine experience in Korea during the 1950-53 ""police action."" Berry (who has done two other oral histories of America's 20th-century wars--Make the Kaiser Dance and Semper Fi, Mac--with a fourth planned) is largely content to let his veterans speak for themselves. And a brashy, bawdy bunch they are. Proud to a man of having served in the Corps, the ex-leathernecks recall their war as an always dirty, frequently terrifying, often boring, and occasionally hilarious business. There are cameo appearances by a handful of celebrity Marines (baseball great Ted Williams, Time Inc. CEO Dick Munro, et al.). In the main, though, the gritty text belongs to the ground-pounding grunts who bore the brunt of the front-line combat in a hostile land. Many of the Marines who fought in Korea in their late teens or early 20s had little knowledge of the faraway places with strange-sounding names for which they did battle. Nor did the jarheads much concern themselves with either grand geopolitical strategies or personal glory. Most simply concentrated on surviving the seemingly endless series of small-unit actions that comprise any conflict, worried about where their sergeants were, and endured the bitter cold as well as enervating heat with raw good humor (e.g., ""How many hordes in a Chinese platoon?""). A fluent, fervent record that rings true throughout. There are eight pages of candid photographs.

Pub Date: June 21st, 1988
Publisher: St. Martin's