This memoir is a tour in Vietnam like it was: difficult, fear-filled, deep friendships, confusion, anger, humorous, sadness, grief and horror. Students of history will find this book engrossing as a personal account of the average guy's experience in war. Students of Vietnam will experience a virtual reality tour in Nam through Thompson. His description of action is so realistic, so emotionally compelling that you live Thompson's tour. Yet, he does not blame the system, the government or the military for his tour. He simply allows you to enter 1960s Vietnam in a way that will change your opinion of those who lived it. You also find out why it was his "Year of the Rat."
From the Author
"EVERYTHING HAPPENED IN VIETNAM: THE YEAR OF THE RAT"
A memoir by Robert Peter Thompson
What affect does war and combat have on our young warriors? Does the average citizen really know? Do they ever really think about it? Perhaps they don't want to,
yet we as a nation send them off. This book is my self-published memoir of life as a 19 year old Marine in 1969 Vietnam. Yes, it is harsh in part but also inspiring and even replete with the kind of humor you will find nowhere else. It is also 'beautiful'. Hard to believe when you read the forward I created for my book. Still, we should know. We should try to understand. It is true and we should show respect and care for those who have walked this path.
I wrote the following as the forward for my book. Not because I thought it was clever or witty or deep. But because it is TRUE. I wrote it for all those who have witnessed war and reaped its bitter fruit. Also the sweetness of real love born under the most trying of circumstances during all the wars and from any time period. You will also be introduced to "LINA" and "the most beautiful girl in the world".
Some things remain the same:
'"But not everything is remembered and not everything is told. Lost with those who did not survive and with those who did not return. Lost in the chaos and confusion and the self protective suppression of the formidable and yet fragile mind. Sometimes that which affects you most is that which you can no longer see and is perhaps better left alone. But what of that which so stubbornly remains and cries out as it does from the darkness of time and says;
"I am here, I am still here, you will look at me, for I will never go away."'
No book is for everybody and this one was not written to be so. I was acutely aware of the potential criticism of what could be described as "run-on sentences". However, their presence in this book was an intentional device, to create within the reader a sort of `breathlessness' and to place the reader in the experience as lived by the story's teller. I also wrote it for myself. I began writing poetry when I was an 18 year old Marine in Southeast Asia. When I returned I dabbled in song writing. My writing style reflects that. If you want "only the facts mam" then choose another book.
As for the changing cadence in my writing, imagine yourself sitting on a barstool in a Legion or VFW saloon. The guy sitting next to you, who you have never known to talk about his personal experiences as a young Marine in Vietnam, inexplicably begins to tell his tale - 40 years after returning from war. It is not clear what has triggered this. However, as the narrator weaves in and out throughout his recalling of particular events, some more intense than others, he rushes along sometimes apparently not stopping to take a breath. One becomes tense just listening to this. That is the device I tried to achieve.
It may not work for everyone and I readily accept that. Still, this book was not written to exhibit the author's grammatical correctness, but quite the contrary, in the voice of a 19-year-old Marine, to give a sense of `realism' and conjure in the reader tensions, emotions and yes, a sort of breathless exhaustion somewhat equivalent to that of the story teller. The actual veteran (myself) who lived it.
My interest in writing this book was not simply to create a "narrative" of events and of course, not all the events I experienced are included. I attempted to weave a story based on my personal experiences that as a sum of its parts, creates an effect upon the reader: What was it like? What did they feel? What thoughts coursed through their minds when all around them life was falling into utter chaos. What did they feel afterward? What didn't they feel? This book is not meant to simply convey the most troubling thoughts and experiences, but to allow the reader to 'feel' what happens within the mind, heart and soul of a young man (or woman) as he is 'altered' by events. How he responds to loss. That is why my book is dedicated to "Sandy". Get to know him as I did. Maybe just a little. Perhaps you will take something home from this book as I did from living it.
All the best,
Bob Thompson (aka Robert Peter Thompson), USMC 1967-1969.
My book website: everythinghappenedinvietnam.com/