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Valley of the Shadow Paperback – December 18, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 148 pages
  • Publisher: Knutson's (December 18, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160725994X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607259947
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,917,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Ascroft, historical fiction writer on January 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
'Valley of the Shadow' is a first hand account of life on an American airbase in Vietnam. Although support troops far out numbered the frontline field troops during the Vietnam War, very little is ever heard of their experiences. Knutson rectifies this by recounting his memories of Phu Cat airbase in the late 1960s.

The book is concisely written. Despite being sparse on detail Knutson still manages to create vivid images of life in a war zone. He tells us what it was like to be there. Incidents are often funny or sad but never nostalgic - he remembers real life. Each chapter is a vignette, like a snapshot, of that life.

Many people come and go throughout the book; sometimes I could barely remember their names. I felt I had little time to get to know them but, in the fast pace of war, perhaps the author felt the same. One character that sticks out in my mind is a local Vietnamese woman, a housemaid who cleaned the barracks. The troops nicknamed her `Granny' and, despite the language barrier, they managed simple communications with her. Spirited and trustworthy, she did favours for Knutson and his roommate like keeping their room and possessions secure when they weren't there. Knutson rewarded her for her help. His kindness (including a generous gift of a bolt of silk) probably made a big difference to her lifestyle. I felt that I knew her by the time Knutson's tour of duty ended and I felt sad, wondering how she would fare through the rest of the war.

Knutson has strong opinions about the war and America's involvement in it. He doesn't shrink from stating his views although they buck against the American establishment's version of events.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lloyd Lofthouse VINE VOICE on January 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
Valley of the Shadow by Steven A. Knutson
ISBN: 978-1-60725-994-7
Review written by Lloyd Lofthouse

Knutson's memoir is about the Vietnam War. I fought in that war too. That is why this review was not easy to write. There was so much I wanted to say but didn't, because this book wasn't about me and yet it was.

In forty years, Valley of the Shadow is the second book I've read that depicts the real side of war through the details Knutson writes. I highly recommend reading Valley of the Shadow for those that want to know more about the Vietnam war and for those that were there that are still trying to understand what happened.

I cannot imagine this book and the story of raw truth it vividly shows being published by any traditional publisher. I cannot imagine Hollywood making this book into a movie since it would go against the engineered Political Correctness that seems to rule the lives of so many Americans these days.

If you want to learn about the Vietnam War, here's my list of the best: We Were Soldiers with Mel Gibson (a move showing what combat is like instead of the Tom Cruise variety of couch jumping combat that is Hollywood); Chickenhawk, a memoir by Robert Mason that shows how `necessary' carnage can damage one soldier's mind and body, and of course, Valley of the Shadow. There are other books and movies that do a good job, but this is where I recommend you start.

When Knutson writes about the use of drugs in Vietnam, I agree with him. When he writes about getting those GG shots, which I had to get too but out in the open with everyone in a line on top of a hill in the middle of Indian Country, that's true too. I could go on.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
WOW!! When I saw this book, I said, "I know this place". I realized also, that I also knew the author and we served together at Phu-Cat! Same Tech School, same job, same place, same time!!!
If you would like to know what the average Air Force AMMO TROOP was like in the Vietnam conflict this is a must read! No guts & glory story, just plain language of a young guy serving his country in a dangerous job and locale, 12+ hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week for 18 months. His opinions about the war are shared by most of our comrades, then and now! There is humor, sadness, fear, and fun. If you are or were an AMMO TROOP, your memories will be awakened. It will explain to others why the folks doing this dangerous job are considered to be the BLACK SHEEP BAD BOYS (AND GIRLS) of the USAF! (YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE CRAZY TO BE AMMO, BUT, IT HELPS!!!)
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By Arlington Nuetzel on January 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
Steve Knutsen passed away from a sudden heart attack last month. Steve loved to write although I sensed that he felt unappreciated like many writers do. His work on Viet Nam will teach for generations to come no matter how you feel about his writing skills. He wanted to teach.
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