- File Size: 659 KB
- Print Length: 316 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: BookLocker.com, Inc. (April 19, 2010)
- Publication Date: April 19, 2010
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B004R1Q4QC
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,354,658 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Digital List Price:||$6.99|
|Print List Price:||$17.95|
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Phoenix to LA: A True Story of One Man's Journey Out of the 1960's Kindle Edition
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I've read many books about this decade, but none have really tapped into what the decade was like for the average teenager coming of age the way that McMorrow's book did for me. Sure, there are plenty of accounts of the major historical events from the assassinations of JFK, Martin Luther King, and Bobby Kennedy, to Watts, The Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam which attempt to explain what the decade was all about, but McMorrow's book is more personal on a number of levels. A lot has to do with his personal journey through the decade which starts in Peoria, Illinois. Do you know the old adage, "will it play in Peoria?" It was a figure of speech which was used to see if a product or an event would appeal to middle America--Main Street America--if you will. That's how I feel about McMorrow's book. His experiences in the 1960s are an Everyman's experiences in the decade. His story is one that many people who lived through the decade can relate to on any number of levels which is what makes his book a very interesting read.
I enjoyed McMorrow's journey through the decade and the interesting and colorful people he met along the way. I especially enjoyed his account of hitchhiking across America and his experiences in Vietnam. Although his experiences in Vietnam might not be what you would expect, they are a chilling and frightening reminder of another war that was waged and one, for many service members, would continue when they returned home. It's a story which needed to be told and McMorrow is brilliant in his telling of it.
This is an insightful and brilliantly written book. Well-done, Marty!
Ice Cream Headache
The cliché runs that if you remember the 60's, well, you weren't there. Seems to me that line was made up by someone who wasn't there. Are there "60's wannabes"? Is this some distorted wish to beg off an answer to Phil Ochs' question: Where were you in Chicago? Or the question, "Where were you while we were in the green?"
Those of us who were there remember.
We remember the assassinations.
We remember the protests.
We remember burning buildings.
We remember the '68 Convention in Chicago and Mayor Daley's officers.
We remember the generation gap and concomitant tensions and disputes.
We remember "our music."
We remember so many untruths.
And most of all, we remember "our war."
Marty McMorrow's Phoenix to LA takes you on the road trip you might have missed if you were around at the time; if you were not of those times. Music, music was, is, perhaps the connecting thread of our generation. If you missed the rock concerts, you can visit them with Marty, literally chapter by chapter.
As someone who works with veterans of Viet Nam each day. I am constantly aware of the residual tensions of "our war," of the horrendous illness of our Viet Nam veterans who are still around with post-traumatic stress: with multiple cancers, with Parkinsons, with Type I Diabetes from the Agent Orange; veterans faced with a civilian population which does not ask 'How are you? What did you know? What did you face? Yes, we knew you were gone, that you faced a green hell, but we are too unconcerned, too non-caring, too busy with our own stuff...then, and yes, now for the newbie vets who are wondering about whether anyone knew they were gone...or are aware that we are engaged, and dying, and being injured in oh so many ways, in other seemingly endless conflicts....
Marty, like many quite vocally, initially was in opposition to the war, but traveling about, rock concert to rock concert, he began to question the motivations and dedication of some in the anti-war movement, as well as his own.
Those questions are still being asked today, as are the questions like was the war necessary, righteous, indeed, with the restraints back in the day being put on the military concerning China, et. al., by the media, by the protests, was the war winnable, or were we putting our soldiers in an untenable position?
A friend of mine, a photo-journalist who fought in Viet Nam, who was embedded in both Iraq and Afghanistan to record the history of those confrontations, constantly says that Viet Nam is a country, not a war. From the perspective of the Vietnamese, our war was the American War, one of years of ongoing conflict. Today, Americans are welcome in Viet Nam, the name of that war for us shortened to Vietnam War by journalists saving a few pennies by eliminating the break in the name.
Marty found himself wondering about our goals, our people, their people.
Marty found himself wondering where his protest about the war was rooted and moved to enlist thinking that perhaps by doing so he could find some truths, even render some help to resolve the conflict between our people and theirs. Leaving college behind, taking questions with him, dealing with friends who did not understand his motivations, Marty went to Viet Nam to render assistance to those of our troops who needed it, learning how the war was run, finding some truths. The first one of those truths was that while fighting for democracy the military is not run in a democratic way.
One of the questions, one of the things we Boomers remember, is the question about drugs: how much on the streets of the USA; how much used in country?
One of the things we don't question is how strong were those drugs like heroin in country as opposed to those on the streets here? If we did ask, we might catch on to why addictions came quickly. Marty explains that with clarity and compassion.
One of the things non-veterans do not seemingly realize is how the stereotyping of our soldiers by the media is resented by those who served. If actually asked about what they knew, about who they were, and are, the media depiction of our Viet Nam veterans would certainly be severely challenged. The public just might discover just how many volunteered to serve; the public might discover that they went to serve their country and its inhabitants despite being in a hostile environment, in a climate challenging in itself. That the vast, vast majority served with courage, with commitment; but all came home with the war permanently in them.
Questions need to be asked civilians about the message to rotation troops who were flown in country in commercial jets which landed and off-loaded the soldiers
immediatley into war as quickly as possible to be safely on their way with civilians going about their private and business lives. So many questions, so many different perspectives just as today with how many rotations are enough for soldiers and their families to handle. A different kind of rotation, a different kind of war...yes, and maybe to the latter.
For those who don't remember, for those who were not there in Chicago, at the rock concerts, in the green; for those who weren't there to make the life changing decisions of 'do I answer the draft notice'; do I volunteer believing it is my duty to my country; to being a man? For those who don't get that once you go to war it never leaves you; that you just can't come back to your former life unchanged; that the war is in your bones, your skin, your heart, your soul; for those who want a road trip to know what we knew, what our veterans know and live with, throw a backpack over your shoulder, start out with small change in your pocket by the side of the road with your thumb out as you are about to engage in a five star, eye opening journey in From Phoenix to LA with a man who found out so many truths that he has devoted his life to helping others recover from their pain.
As to the 60's, I think Marty says it all here:
I recalled that I had been in San Francisco almost exactly three years earlier in late June of 1969, At that time I was an eighteen-year-old kid riding my thumb, looking for adventure, and wondering what would happen next. Now, I was a twenty-one-year-old Vietnam Veteran in the same old jeans and a t-shirt. For me, the 1960's were over.
As to being a veteran, well, that never ends.