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Cherries: A Vietnam War Novel Audible – Unabridged

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Editorial Reviews

When a soldier leaves for war, those left behind often wonder what their loved ones are experiencing. Letters home are always cheerful and vague - no sense in worrying the family. Then upon returning home, these young soldiers do not want to talk about their experiences. Family and friends allege they are now distant, changed, and not the same person they remember from several months earlier. What causes this?

Although the backdrop for this novel is the Vietnam War, "cherries" exist in every war. They are the young "newbie" soldiers, who are trained for war. However, most are not ready to absorb the harsh physical, mental, and emotional stress of war. Once they come under fire and witness death firsthand, a life-changing transition begins. This eye-opening account offers listeners an in-depth look into the everyday struggles of these young infantry soldiers. You'll feel their fear, awe, drama, and sorrow, witness the bravery and sometimes laugh at their humor.

No two war experiences are the same, but after finishing Cherries - A Vietnam War Novel, readers will have a much better understanding as to why these changes occur and why our military heroes are different upon their return home. Veterans will relate!

©2010 John Podlaski (P)2012 John Podlaski

Product Details

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 13 hours and 31 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: John Podlaski
  • Release Date: June 7, 2012
  • Whispersync for Voice: Ready
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0089N465U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By R. Ballister VINE VOICE on October 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
John Podlaski's CHERRIES details the events surrounding a young, scared eighteen year old's arrival and survival in Vietnam. Though "grunt" novels about the Vietnam war are common, this book is unique in that it views the war solely through the eyes of a single new arrival, called a "Cherry," as he moves through all the emotions that go through an indoctrination into war. From arriving "in-country" to receiving initial training, being wounded, going on that first "R&R," and finally "getting short," the author does an excellent job of conveying the new emotions of almost every experience.

The main character is John "Pollack" Kowalski, who arrives in Vietnam as an infantryman and sent to the Wolfhounds of the 25th infantry division. Later he is transferred to the 101st Airborne Division. In both units, he finds leadership and cowardice, laughter and loss, and learns who and what he is inside. I particularly enjoyed how the author was able to illustrate the "newness" of everything Kowalski experienced. That ability absolutely separates this book from most every other infantry novel this reviewer has read.

There's no doubt that the author called upon his experience as a grunt in Vietnam while writing his first novel, because it's too real to be otherwise. The author was a young soldier of Polish descent when he went to Vietnam to serve with the Wolfhounds and the Screaming Eagles, and he wrote about what he knows. And, he wrote it well. Vietnam vets and anyone who has been a young soldier in any war will appreciate the sentiments here.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Janet Shupe on June 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
I am not a person who generally reads war novels, but I really couldn't put this book down. I read it twice! I found it fascinating. And while I was reading it, I talked to my friends about it all the time. I was constantly saying things like, "Did you realize this or that about when we were in Vietnam?" The book has plenty of action to keep anyone's interest, but one of the things that I, personally, really liked was the detailed description of what life was like for our soldiers. I remember hearing news stories about Vietnam when I was a teenager, just as I hear news stories about Iraq and Afghanistan now. But the news never helped me to really get a picture of what it was like on a day to day basis. This book gave me a whole new understanding that I wish I had had back then. Reading this book sparked so much interest for me that I've since spent a lot of time online reading more about the Vietnam years. It's also made me want to learn more about the day to day lives of our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am buying this book for several of my girlfriends, who I don't think would go out and buy a war novel for themselves, because I believe that they, like me, will stay up late into the night unable to put down this page turner. Plus I think they will love the intimate, human level at which this story is told. The author of Cherries - A Vietnam War Novel takes you along on the journey where you get to watch the main character grow from a scared young kid just out of high school into a savvy, skilled leader in the span of a year, and he helps you to understand how it happens.

Very good book. Don't hesitate to buy it
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By William E. Peterson on November 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
There are many things in life that we all want to resist. However, many of us like to feel the adrenaline rush through reading about those same "things". If you are one of those, don't miss John Podlaski's book entitled "Cherries". This story will let you experience the heat and extreme humidity of the jungle in Vietnam. You will be bitten by millions of mosquitoes and other critters while you sit quietly on the ground while trying desperately to stay alert, peering into the inky darkness for movement of any kind, with the claymore clacker ready at your side. After the guard before you shakes you awake for your shift you can't see squat and blindly attach yourself to your buddy while he leads you to the place where you will spend the next two hours searching into those scary shadows that seem to be sneaking up on you. Doesn't that hallucination put you on the edge of your seat? If it doesn't, wait until the AK47 bullets are zipping past your head in the next fire fight...The sound is unlike anything you have heard, and causes you to hit the dirt and smell the rotting jungle floor. While out on patrol, you are the second man behind your good buddy who is running point man today. After your squad enters the jungle, and after you have gone just 100 feet it happens...your ears ring as you again hit the deck. Your best friend has just walked into a wire that set off an enemy grenade, spewing your buddies body parts in all directions. After a couple of months and many fire fights behind you, you are able to recognize enemy ambush sites and become extra cautious while your rear anatomy squeezes a little tighter. The pucker factor is reaching about a seven by now, but peaks out every time you hear the crack of a nearby Gook.Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sgt. Christopher Gaynor on July 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
Cherries. A Vietnam War Novel by John Podlaski

On my bookshelf are several Viet Nam war 'novels',Frenchy's Whore by Vernon E. Brewer II, The Wall of Broken Dreams by Duke Barrett and Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes(all available on Each can be described as a 'novelized' memoir and John Podlaski's Cherries easily falls into this category. They share another feature; their authors lived these stories, giving them authenticity.
Like the author, I served in the 25th Infantry Division in III Corps (although 3 years earlier), and I was promoted to Sergeant E-5 toward the end of my Viet Nam tour and pushed into a leadership role. But, our `in country' experience was very different. The author killed the `enemy' at the`retail' level; one or a few at a time. I delivered death at the `wholesale' level; entire hamlets blown into postage stamp size bits.
Cherries is extraordinary for its meticulous narrative. Every action is described in detail, drawing the reader in tight and close. How did the author remember all the minutia of day to day combat operations after so many decades? No doubt he did painstaking research, read After Action Reports, Orders of Battle, and talked to fellow vets. With this solid foundation, Mr. Podlaski had a framework on which to drape the fine cloth of his memories and personal feelings.
So, what kind of story is this? It's an in-the-mud, nasty critters, blood and body parts splattered horror show. People get hurt and killed in ugly ways and the smell of blood, rotting vegetation, decaying bodies and stifling heat lasts a lifetime in our nightmares.
When I began to read I thought, 'I can't do this.' but I read on and soon was with these guys every painful step of the way, cared about them and was eager to know more.
Read more ›
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