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Au Phuc Dup and Nowhere to Go: The Only Really True Book about Viet Nam Kindle Edition

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Length: 124 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Fred Reed was born in 1945 in Crumpler, West Virginia, an unincorporated coal camp where his grandfather was the coal-company doctor. As soon as he was able he essayed a life of minor brigandage, the construction of rockets, and BB-gun marksmanship in various small towns of the South, where his father worked as a federal mathematician designing weapons. He fished, shot, did few things his friends' mothers appro0ved of, eventually graduated from college, barely, became a Marine in America's misbegfotten attempt to impose democracy in Vietnam, where nobody wanted it, and got shot. He became a writer because the job has no qualifications and he didn't have any either. He now lives in Jalisco, Mexico, with a splendid Mexican wife and stepdaughter. His biological daughters, he says, are wonderful, intractable, and an artist and a jazz singer in San Francisco.

Product Details

  • File Size: 255 KB
  • Print Length: 124 pages
  • Publication Date: February 12, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0078H7D9E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #434,161 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

According to Fred, who is an occasionally reliable source (though he says his heart isn't in it): I was born in 1945 in Crumpler, West Virginia, an unincorporated coal camp near Bluefield where my maternal grandfather was the camp doctor, and steam locomotives chuffed spectacularly in to load coal at the tipple. (When someone got sick on the other side of the mountain, the miners would put Big Pat, as granddad was called, in a coal car and take him under the mountain. He had a robust conception of a house call.) My father was a mathematician, but then serving in the Pacific aboard the destroyer USS Franks. My paternal grandfather was dean and professor of mathematics at Hampden-Sydney College, a small and (then, and perhaps now) quite good liberal arts school in southwest Virginia. In general my family for many generations were among the most literate, the most productive, and the dullest people in the South. Presbyterians.
After the war I lived as a navy brat here and there--San Diego, Mississippi, the Virginia suburbs of Washington, Alabama, what have you, and briefly in Farmville, Virginia, while my father went on active duty for the Korean War as an artillery spotter. I was an absorptive and voracious reader, a terrible student, and had by age eleven an eye for elevation and windage with a BB gun that would have awed a missile engineer. I was also was a bit of a mad scientist. For example, I think I was ten when I discovered the formula for thermite in the Britannica at Athens College in Athens, Alabama, stole the ingredients from the college chemistry laboratory, and ignited a mound of perfectly adequate thermite in the prize frying pan of the mother of my friend Perry, whose father
was the college president. The resulting six-inch hole in the frying pan was hard to explain.
I went to high school in King George County, Virginia, while living aboard Dahlgren Naval Weapons Laboratory (my father was always a weapons-development sort of mathematician, although civilian by this time), where I was the kid other kids weren't supposed to play with. I spent my time canoeing, shooting, drinking unwise but memorable amounts of beer with the local country boys, attempting to be a French rake with only indifferent success, and driving in a manner that, if you are a country boy, I don't have to describe, and if you aren't, you wouldn't believe anyway. I remember trying to explain to my father why his station wagon was upside down at three in the morning after I had flipped it at seventy on a hairpin turn that would have intimidated an Alpine goat.
As usual I was a woeful student--if my friend Butch and I hadn't found the mimeograph stencil for the senior Government exam in the school's Dempster Dumpster, I wouldn't have graduated--but was a National Merit Finalist.
After two years at Hampden-Sydney, where I worked on a split major in chemistry and biology with an eye to oceanography, I was bored. After spending the summer thumbing across the continent and down into Mexico, hopping freight trains up and down the eastern seaboard, and generally confusing myself with Jack Kerouac, I enlisted in the Marines, in the belief that it would be more interesting than stirring unpleasant glops in laboratories and pulling apart innocent frogs. It was. On returning from Vietnam with a lot of stories, as well as a Purple Heart and more shrapnel in my eyes than I really wanted, I graduated from Hampden-Sydney with lousy grades and a bachelor-of-science degree with a major in history and a minor in computers. Really. My GREs were in the 99th percentile.
The years from 1970 to 1973 I spent in largely disreputable pursuits, a variety that has always come naturally to me. I wandered around Europe, Asia, and Mexico, and acquired the usual stock of implausible but true stories about odd back alleys and odder people.
When the 1973 war broke out in the Mid-East, I decided I ought to do something respectable, thought that journalism was, and told the editor of my 327
home-town paper, "Hi! I want to be a war correspondent." This was a sufficiently damn-fool thing to do that he let me go, probably to see what would happen. Writing, it turned out, was the only thing I was good for. Using my clips from Israel, I argued to the editors of Army Times that they needed my services to cover the war in Vietnam. They too let me do it. Editorial bad judgement is a valuable resource.
I spent the last year of the war between Phnom Penh and Saigon, leaving each with the evacuation. Those were heady days in which I lived in slums that would have horrified a New York alley cat, but they appealed to the Steinbeck in me, of which there is a lot. After the fall of Saigon I returned to Asia, resumed residence for six months in my old haunts in Taipei, and studied Chinese while waiting for the next war, which didn't come. Returning overland, I took up a career of magazine free-lancing, a colorful route to starvation, with stints on various staffs interspersed. For a year I worked in Boulder, Colorado, on the staff of Soldier of Fortune magazine, half zoo and half asylum, with the intention of writing a book about it. Publishing houses said, yes, Fred, this is great stuff, but you are obviously making it up. I wasn't. Playboy eventually published it, making me extremely persona non grata at Soldier of Fortune.
Having gotten married somewhere along the way, I am now the happily divorced father of the World's Finest Daughters. Until recently I worked as, among other things, a law-enforcement columnist for theWashington Times. It allowed me to take trips to big cities and to ride around in police cars with the siren going woowoowoo and kick in doors of drug dealers. Recently I changed the column from law enforcement to technology, and now live in Mexico in Jocotopec, near Guadalajara, having found burros preferable to bureaus. I now share my existence with Violeta Gonzales, who was what God had in mind when he created women but just hadn't quite perfected the idea until recently.
My hobbies are crawling South America, scuba, listening to blues, swing-dancing in dirt bars, associating with colorful maniacs, and writing seditious columns.
My principal accomplishment in life, aside from my children, is the discovery that it is possible to jitterbug to the Brandenburgs.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Richard Martin on October 24, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a terrific book, the Catch-22 of the Vietnam War. It's fiction but it rings very true. (I was a sergeant in the US Army during the time of the Vietnam War).

That said, iUniverse, the publisher, did a truly poor job of putting the book together. There are chapters that are repeated word-for-word under different chapter headings (bad pointers to text blocks in the database?) , and chapters that are repeated almost word-for-word (multiple versions?). I think that iUniverse is one of those print-on-demand publishers. Being an old software and database developer myself, I think that iUniverse needs to work on its data control.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By William J. Schenker on November 26, 2010
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I read Fred's other 4 books, and many of the articles on the "Fred on Everything" website -- was enthralled with its curmudgeonly skill at mixing reality with fantasy. Then I tried reading this book .... what a shocking letdown. Why? 'Cause he went to STRAIGHT fantasy. Turns out that's not his forte. He should go back to describing the details of what's happening (and happened) to his life, while pointing out the insanity of what America's society is turning into, the latter peppered with just enough exaggeration that we get the point and are amused at the same time.

Fred is still one of the most insightful observers of our Yankee culture to date. Go for it, Fred!

Bill
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By wyostar on October 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
A minor point of editing, but there are still two chapters in the Kindle edition that are repeated nearly word for word under a different chapter name later in the book. I just read them over again 'cause maybe Fred put them in there twice on purpose. It's like when jazz aficionados are listening to a Miles Davis recording where he cacks a note and they all agree he probably meant to play it that way.

Anyhow, I would have given it six or seven stars but for the editing/formatting carelessness. Still, I wish there was some way to have it made into a movie so non-readers could get a clue.

Here's what I think of the book: Fred is in top form as he paints this impressionistic masterpiece detailing how it feels to be stuck in the middle of our gub-m'nts absurd war. I laughed my ass off while I was crying inside, my heart breaking for the tragedy of it all.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rich H. on December 14, 2010
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A thinly-fictionalized collection of Vietnam war stories, which I suspect would have had much more impact as straight-up accounts. The fact that this book is riddled with typos and generally horrific editing (a duplicate chapter!?) doesn't help. Skip this and check out one of Fred's non-fiction essay collections.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rick B. on April 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of Fred's for years, but Au Phuc Dup reminds me of an attempted spoof I read, years ago, of the original Star Wars movie. That spoof didn't work because the author was trying to satirize a movie that was, itself, a spoof of science fiction movies. Did those sentences make sense?
Trying to write satire about an insane asylum can be done--but it is really difficult.
That said, the book was pretty good up until the ending. The ending was high literary art. It left me stunned (really!).
Plot spoiler: the book ended just like the war.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Oliver W. Robertson on June 24, 2014
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Regardless of the editing, I think Fred has truly captured the military intelligence??? "mindset" that kept this illegal, immoral, and insane war in Vietnam going for 10 years+. I have come to believe this is true for all our wars. Especially the current ones in the middle-east. Anyone who served in Vietnam, or was ever in the military, and everyone who has their eyes open, can relate to this hilarious satire.
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Fred Reed is a terrific writer and a lot of this book is both insightful and hilarious, particularly for anyone who saw the Vietnam war from in-country, not just from the comfy shores of "The World." On that it should get five stars.
Then we get to all the typos, which make you think nobody paid much attention to proofing galleys. But you shrug it off.
Only to find an entire chapter that is repeated a chapter or two later - same words, different chapter title. And you suspect there are other glitches, too, for the stories seem out of sequence.
Not Reed's fault - unless he was his own editor. But somebody shoulda proofed this thing; no excuse for this kind of sloppiness.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence L. on February 15, 2010
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Or did he just get tired of writing the book and quit. Many plot lines left unfinished. The book is full of glaring typos, and at least 1 chapter is duplicated except with different name. Very disapointing.
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