A vivid war story about a soldier and his comrades that delivers a satisfying read.

Brothers, All

A debut, memoir-based novel chronicles the experiences of a platoon in the Vietnam War. 

Jones served in Vietnam in 1966-67 with the 173rd Airborne. He wasn’t drafted; he enlisted—at age 19—because he thought it was the right thing to do. In this book, he is James Fowlkes (“Prof”), the narrator. Others in his platoon—all nicknames, of course—include Dragline, Arkansas, Vocab, Deetroit, Preacher Will, Pineapple, Nasty, and Hammerhead. Three of them will not make it home alive. So this is mostly a story of real grunts out on patrol, and, in frequent battles, they are one for all and all for one, as the title implies. White guys, black guys, and an Asian guy. Nasty is the one in the platoon that the rest loathe, but they would save even him in a pinch. (One they would not rescue, and that they come close to killing, is Lt. Taylor, who puts them at risk time and again to advance his career; he remains loathsome.) Ultimately, Fowlkes survives, and returns home to Texas to a hero’s welcome. But flash-forward a half-century and he is undergoing treatment for a lung cancer that is trying to kill him. Is it Agent Orange? Will Vietnam finally claim him? Except for short looks at war protestors in San Francisco, this book focuses almost exclusively on Fowlkes’ time in Vietnam and what it is like to be on patrol—filthy, tired, scared—for days at a time. And what it is like to lose guys that a soldier has come to love, the double-edged sword of bonding. At one point, Fowlkes says that he was “covered in blood, none of it mine, but then again, all of it was mine.” The writing is straightforward but a reader comes to like and respect this kid from Texas, now a man. This work could almost be a template for all the books that have come out of the Vietnam War. No new ground is broken, but all the standard ingredients are here. The novel comes with a short glossary of the terms that Fowlkes or any other grunt would and does use.

A vivid war story about a soldier and his comrades that delivers a satisfying read.

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62880-089-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 31, 2016

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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