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Everything Happened In Vietnam: The Year Of The Rat Paperback – February 22, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 234 pages
  • Publisher: Blue Moon Publishing (February 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 061524498X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615244983
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,794,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

From the cover:  "What were you doing when you were nineteen?  Ride along on this breath stopping journey of the heart, mind and soul of a 19 year old Marine  to 1969 Vietnam.  It's a full ride."

"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/

From the Back Cover

 "We ask you to forgive the author of this book.  He didn't have a choice.  He didn't want to write our stories.  But we never really gave him a choice.  We just kept working on him.  Year after year.  And finally we wore him down.  Before he forgot.  Before we were forgotten.  And we showed him no mercy.  We really worked him over.  In fact, we played these stories over and over again and again in his head.  Until he just couldn't take it anymore.  It's not his fault.  It really isn't."

"Forever young,

Sandy, Johnny the New Guy,
Tator & the Rest
 
"...but the wave would not return and would be remembered always at full crest.  Tinged with light, with promise and forever young."
 

More About the Author

I am an Indy Author of my memoir/non-fiction book: "EVERYTHING HAPPENED IN VIETNAM: THE YEAR OF THE RAT". I started on Create Space/Amazon with my Print Edition and have been very happy with them. Recently I published my book with Kindle. This has been an exciting experience. My only goal has been to draw readers to my book as I believe it is a story (True Story) that needs to be read. I wrote this book more in the style of a novel, so it is no dry accounting of war tactics and it is certainly not "political". I took great pains to not allow politics to dirty up the story of the guys I knew and came to love who gave it all. We were not politicians. We were Warriors. Each in our own way. And we were young. I was a 19 year old Marine when I came back from Vietnam. This story transcends Vietnam though. It could be a story about any war. Any time and any place. I hope you can take a few moments to get to know it.

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:

Forward to "EVERYTHING HAPPENED IN VIETNAM: THE YEAR OF THE RAT
by Robert Peter Thompson

'"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."'

Sincerely,
Bob T. (aka Robert Peter Thompson) USMC 1967-1969

Customer Reviews

I enjoyed the book it was a good read seemingly written by someone who was there.
Genethegeologist
The excessive use of long run-on sentences make the author's points hard to grasp and the story itself extremely hard to follow.
Ron B.
To the contrary, Mr. Thompson's writing style is very descriptive and richly expressed.
Lynne

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By J. Beat on August 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
A friend of mine in the Army told me that everyone owed two years to their country and Vietnam was the dirty end of the stick. He just wanted to do his tour and go home and be a pipefitter. All he wanted was a simple, normal life. He didn't make it. Thompson's book is about people like my friend. It's about friendships that become a part of your heart, fear that sears your soul and simple bravery that makes you proud of young men willing to give service to their country. Thompson lets you meet these young men and learn to know and love them as he did.

As a Vietnam veteran, I avoid books about Vietnam, but I read Everything Happened in Vietnam-The Year of the Rat on a recommendation. This memoir is a tour in Vietnam like it was: difficult, fear-filled, deep friendships, confusion, anger, humorous, sadness, grief and horror. It easily can stand beside such memoirs as Robert Graves' Good Bye to All That. 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."
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Doug DePew on January 24, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In "Everything Happened in Vietnam: The Year of the Rat", Robert Peter Thompson has given us a glimpse of what the war looked like through his eyes. It is very authentic. This book reads much like sitting and hearing Mr. Thompson tell his story. The stream of consciousness style lends itself well to the confusion of war. His conversational writing is pleasant. It's like sitting in a bar and listening to an old friend relate his memories. At times, I became a little lost but I'd keep reading. Then I'd say to myself,"That was well done!" I especially liked the little updates at end of some of the chapters.

I enjoyed this book. It's good to find more Vietnam veterans telling their personal stories. Our history is made up of millions of regular people. Real history isn't made by famous generals and presidents. It's made of regular people like Mr. Thompson. Too often, nobody knows about it except the people who were next to them. This book very clearly shows the struggles to mentally survive the war. I'm sure it was cathartic for Mr. Thompson to tell us his story. I thank him for sharing it with all of us.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By J. C. Willis on December 30, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After the years of analysis, explanations and excuses from scholars, ex-generals, and politicos, we're finally beginning to hear from the men who actually fought the war in Vietnam. Mr. Thompson has given us an up-close look at the inside of the war, from the bunkers to the hill-tops. His vivid imagery and stream of consciousness style unite to bring the moments of terror and wonder to life. As a Vietnam veteran of combat myself, I salute him for his honesty and observation. Everything and anything did happen in Vietnam, and it really was a lifetime compressed into one year.
This book should be of great interest to anyone interested in the war in Vietnam or military history in general.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Janelle on December 9, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Hello, I work at the Chicago Hines VA and I bought your book from our canteen. I thought it was beautifully written and almost made me feel like I was right there with you (at least while I was reading it). I am in the nursing field and I personally think it would be highly beneficial if more VA employees read your book. We take care of guys (and some girls) just like you every day in our hospital and yet rarely do we actually understand, or even try to understand what it really meant for you to be serving our country and the unique but similarly horrible experiences each of you dealt with. I am actually loaning the book to my co-workers so that they too can hopefully have a better understanding of the vets they take care of. Thank you for your book, and for your service!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By K. Autumn on May 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
This story will grab hold of you and not let go. A uniquely powerful departure from the genre of War literature. Funny, brutal, insightful, intimate...the narrative moves in the cadence of memories told as stories over a camp-fire. Thompson transports you into the mind-space of his 19 year-old self, poignantly reminding us that teenagers, boys even, fought this war, grew up there, grew old there, changed forever there.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lynne on June 19, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I must take exception to the reviewers who labeled this book "hard to read". It is anything but. Of course, different readers have all levels of reading comprehension. To the contrary, Mr. Thompson's writing style is very descriptive and richly expressed. He portrays his experience in words so as to make the reader feel that they are actually there with him. In the moment. His writing style builds in momentum at times, increasing the tension of the experience being described and then suddenly, is punctuated by a one or two word sentence. The reader is left feeling the impact of what has been described. I was struck by this on a number of occasions while reading. War is a very chaotic and traumatic experience for those who have lived through it. It is refreshing to read of such experiences expressed in such an intelligent yet honest manner. I was genuinely moved by this book and believe that others who read it will be as well. I only wish I could give it more than 5 stars.
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