A gruesome wartime memoir written by a bad boy who found himself in the Marines and Vietnam.
Nedwick prided himself on being a decent family man and a successful businessman; in Vietnam, it was different. As Nedwick writes it, his story is straight out of The Dirty Dozen, but “it is up to the reader to determine fact from fiction,” since, he says, the material comes from flashbacks and recovered memories after the military administered drugs and electroshock therapy to wipe his brain. While in the brig for having murdered a fellow soldier, he was plucked from a likely date with the gallows to serve in an ultrasecret force of seven men set to drop behind enemy lines and do the dirtiest of the dirty work. They were all “derelicts, renegades and rejects,” but the barbarous acts they committed left most of them thoroughly dehumanized. Some of the men “do” entire villages: torturing, raping, murdering, burning them flat in an exercise they thought would besmirch the Vietnamese guerrillas, who, Nedwick suggests, did the same to keep the population in line. “Sandies [jet fighters] were napping [napalming] the fuck out of those slant-eyed scum bastards,” Nedwick writes. “We were close enough to see the skin melting off the face of one of the dinks.” There are plenty more descriptions like this, reflecting a repulsive trail of hate, misery and mayhem for which Nedwick has paid the price: “[W]e were barbaric, sadistic, merciless killers and, we live with it everyday [sic].” His ingenuous memoir introduces readers to that dark place: a mind unhinged, then trained to do the most despicable of crimes. In his unvarnished way, Nedwick brings it home, proving war is hell no matter how many Geneva Conventions.
Kaleidoscopic, nightmarish images that don’t paint over the horror.