DEROS Vietnam: Dispatches from the Air-Conditioned Jungle
2012, Warriors Publishing Group
DEROS Vietnam: Dispatches from the Air-Conditioned Jungle presents a unique, fictional montage of the war, and postwar, experiences of Vietnam support troops. Structurally based on Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time, DEROS Vietnam (the acronym stands for Date Eligible for Return from Over Seas) is a riveting collection of 16 short stories and 16 interlinears about the GIs who battled boredom, racial tensions, the military brass, drugs, alcohol—and occasionally the enemy.
From cooks and correspondents to clerks and comptrollers, DEROS Vietnam distills the essence of life for soldiers in the rear during the war and, later, back home in a divided America. Vietnam veteran Doug Bradley, a former Army journalist who served in the air-conditioned jungle at U. S. Army Headquarters near Saigon in 1970-71, tells these compelling stories with wit, intensity, and empathy. In doing so, he provides a gateway to a Vietnam experience that has been largely ignored and whose reverberations still echo across America.
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"In prose that is adamantly stark and spare, Doug Bradley shares this impressive collection of stories loosely centered around the rarely told experience of those American vets who served in Vietnam in the rear. That he is able to pack so much punch, emotions and poignancy in short stories that are tightly woven and compact is a true testament to his gift as a writer and storyteller."
—Lan Cao, author of Monkey Bridge
"The best stories often come late. These DEROS stories from Doug Bradley, a Vietnam scholar who served there more than four decades ago, are among the best I've read. Each story is clear and clean and evocative, looking at the experience from a slightly different angle. The full effect provides a fearful symmetry."
—David Maraniss, author of They Marched into Sunlight
"The more common experience of war in all branches of the service is that of support. Bullets, beans, and bandages don't get to the grunts by magic. Doug Bradley's stories explore the Vietnam War as experienced by the majority of its veterans. These stories are not about battle, but like all great stories they are about the battle for the human soul. Bradley is a talented and experienced writer and he describes that battle with clarity, insight, humor, and great skill."
—Karl Marlantes, author of Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War