VIET JOURNAL by James Jones

VIET JOURNAL

KIRKUS REVIEW

A day-by-day account of the novelist's travels around Vietnam right before the US troop pull-out. Being a best-selling writer on assignment from the New York Times Magazine turns out to mean less than zilch, but a chance acquaintance with General Weyand, head of MACV (Military Assistance Command, Vietnam) helps Jones obtain not only a visa to the South (he never makes it North) but crucial military cooperation in getting around the land we wasted. The climax of the trip comes with a brief semi-licit copter hop with a Special Forces pal to a much fought over Border Ranger outpost inside enemy territory -- which resembles nothing so much as a couple of boys sneaking out of their houses for a night on the town -- only with the added kick of toying uselessly (but heroically, to the green bereted boys) with death. On the way home Jones stops in Hawaii to review the scenes he lived both as himself and Private Prewitt in From Here to Eternity -- a love-hatred of the Army from which Jones has apparently never recovered. This puff job for the boys who saved Asia from Communism shows not one refugee who resents the "protective" destruction of his hamlet, not one Vietnamese who prefers the VC to us -- actually not very surprising considering the company Jones keeps. You won't find the word "napalm" mentioned in this book, and the only hospital he visited was a leprosarium. Which war is he talking about anyway?
Pub Date: March 18th, 1974
ISBN: 0385294263
Page count: 268pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1974




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