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Up Country Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 2003
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DeMille, who saw his own tour of duty in Vietnam (and even found a letter on a dead Vietnamese soldier), intersperses historical facts and chilling political possibilities with enough local color to provide some serious flashbacks for his fellow veterans. To non-vets the book may seem very long, but the payoff at the end is worth a couple hundred extra pages. --Barrie Trinkle --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Since DeMille successfully published other novels, I have no doubt Word of Honor was also a commercial success. In my mind, although commercial successes, these other novels, failed critically.
With Up Country, DeMille demonstrates he has not lost his critical touch. He melds his emotionally draining experience of a return trip to Viet Nam in 1997 with his successful commercial formula and produces a great novel. The story is simple. Paul Brenner, retired from the army's Criminal Investigation Division and a Viet Nam vet, is asked to return to Viet Nam and investigate an American army lieutenant's death, who authorities suspect may have been murdered three decades ago.
DeMille's commercial formula remains the same. A strong, independent-minded, wise-cracking male falls in love with a self-assured female and together the overcome intrigue, action and adventure.
Brenner's emotional journey as he unearths his own painful memories of Viet Nam makes the book worth reading and in my mind, vaults it to critical success. As the author concludes, a journey home is never direct, but somewhere along the way, we discover that it is more relevant than the destination and the people we meet along its path will be traveling companions in our minds for the rest of our lives.
DeMille always relates a great story; this one is worth reading carefully.
Starting at Saigon, Brenner proceeds to accomplish two missions, one official and the other personal. He makes contact with Susan Weber who is more than she appears. He also relives many moments from the days during the war, exorcising some old demons along the way. From Saigon he heads north, up country, visiting old battlegrounds and lending great insight to us, the reader, into what life was like as an American GI in Vietnam.
I found this book to be a fascinating and informative adventure story. With so much travelling done by Brenner, there is no time for it to become slow and boring. The actual reason for his mission to Vietnam eventually becomes of secondary importance as I got caught up in the country and it's meaning to Brenner. By the end, it really made no difference to me what the final outcome was, I was satisfied by the journey however it turned out.
This book is obviously of special importance to Demille and feels as though it's a kind of homage to Vietnam and the people of both sides who fought there. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, appreciated the humour in which it was told and respect the emotion that it evokes. I fell richer for the experience of having read it.
"Up Country" is billed in the blurb as a military murder mystery that took place 30 years ago in Vietnam. Paul Brenner, of "General's Daughter" fame, is back, called upon by his old commanding officer to return to Vietnam and investigate the killing of a U.S. lieutenant by his captain during the Tet Offensive.
The reason I say "billed as a murder mystery" is because the action of that plot line takes up only about fifty pages of this 654-page novel. The rest is travelogue, war history and personal reminiscence.
DeMille at his best does description and dialogue well. The fact that Paul Brenner of "Up Country" is indistinguishable in attitude and conversation from John Corey in "The Lion's Game" doesn't detract too much. I like cynical, sarcastic characters, and I suspect that it is DeMille's personality coming through, which makes me like him more. And since the author was in Vietnam at the same time as his protagonist, I'm even more convinced that we're listening to Nelson DeMille strolling down memory lane. That is not necessarily a bad thing if you approach the book from this angle.
What was troublesome for me, having read many of his other books, was turning the pages looking for a little action. Don't hold your breath. It's a travel book - good for those who never served and want to know how it was, or for those who served and never returned but would like to from the comfort of their sofas. But it was a let-down for someone who was there and imagined that when he finally went back it would be by plane rather than by book.Read more ›
Knowing he hasn't been given all of the details, but smart enough to fill in many of the blanks, Brenner is more than willing to engage in a cathartic trip back to the venues that so dramatically altered his life during his first two tours of duty.
DeMille does a wonderful job describing the modern landscape of Vietnam, where the divide between south and north still exists and the bitter after-effects of war are still tasted on a daily basis. Saigon, Hue, Dien Bin Phu, Hanoi and the countryside are all described in rich detail. Those who criticize this book as a travelogue are missing the point. Where else can one experience - almost firsthand - today's Vietnam viewed through the eyes of a returning veteran?
The details of the story are taut and compelling (even hough I would agree many of the elements are a tad predicatable). It may be a combination mystery and travelogue, but even with its minor shortcomings, DeMille's talents shine through, enlightening, engaging - sometimes startling - and completely absorbing.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was a very interesting book, with lots of history mingled in. However, I will never know how our young men survived over there.Published 2 days ago by Martha B. Sites
A very enjoyable read. As a combat vet there was so much in the book I could relate to; it brought back a lot of memories.Published 12 days ago by don ripley
One of his best. For those of us who grew up during the VM war, this was educational as well as typical DeMille...on the edge of your chair.Published 1 month ago by Donna Waterman
There are a number of contemporary authors whose novels are consistently great reading . . . John Grisham, Harlan Corben, James Patterson, Robert Crais, Michael Connelly, David... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Michael Garee
Asa usual unexpected twists and turns accompanied by some funny wisecracking by the heroPublished 1 month ago by Boldod