A philosophical, anecdotal, and engaging account about an unlikely veteran.

JUST DUST

AN IMPROBABLE MARINE'S VIETNAM STORY

An author details his varied duties as a Marine during the Vietnam War in this debut memoir.

Despite possessing personal frailties and lacking a clear notion of intent, 21-year-old Choc enlisted in the Marines in fall 1965. Underweight and proficient in typing, he followed the administrative route and ended up in Vietnam as a typist, radioman, mailman, and aide-de-camp to his company’s commanding officer. He was stationed on Hill 55, a popular stop for celebrities like Jayne Mansfield and John Steinbeck looking for in-country photo ops. Despite the alleged safety of Hill 55 and his supposed noncombat duties, Choc experienced his share of pot shots, barrages, and proximity to death. “There must be libraries of war stories out there,” writes Choc as he prepares to submit his to the genre. A bombardment at Khe Sanh—which he mostly slept through, to the extent that when he awoke there was a brand new hole in his roof—decimated a tent mere yards from his and “seared second platoon flesh and bones with cumin spice and deadly bloody condiments tossed randomly about.” One of the author’s more gruesome jobs was to help identify the bodies of those killed in action, as he was one of the few people who, due to his mail delivery duties, knew what everyone looked like. Choc’s prose is ornate and tends toward the literary, though this sometimes leads to awkward syntax that trips up the reader: “Choices were considered amid anxieties of the unknown and hours of deliberation.” The writing flows better and hits harder when the author keeps it simple and direct: “Southeast Asia was a stewpot of wrath, brute will, and confusion.” While much of the book is concerned with his Marine experiences before and after the war, it is the Vietnam section that is the most salient and compelling. There is a bit of Yossarian in Choc’s gun-shy administrator, who inevitably finds violence even as he seeks to avoid it. Fans of Vietnam memoirs should enjoy this more cerebral take on that war and the military of the era.

 A philosophical, anecdotal, and engaging account about an unlikely veteran.

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9964179-0-7

Page Count: 244

Publisher: Chosen Journey Media

Review Posted Online: June 9, 2017

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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

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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