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Vietnam: Angel of Death Paperback – July, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Harry Spiller was born in Marion, Illinois where he graduated from high school on May 28, 1963. Five days later he was in the Marine Corps in San Diego. In 1967 he was appointed to recruitment duty and assigned to cover southern Illinois and southeast Missouri. He left the Marine Corps in 1973 and returned to southern Illinois where he worked as a policeman. He returned to college, completed undergraduate and graduate degrees in Criminal Justice and Political Science from Southern Illinois University. From 1982 to 1989 he served as Sheriff of Williamson County, Illinois. He then accepted a position as Professor of Criminal Justice at John A. Logan Community College in Carterville, Illinois.

Spiller has authored nine books and numerous articles. He is the father of two children.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: Southeast Missouri State University, Center for Regional History (July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1890551066
  • ISBN-13: 978-1890551063
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,003,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This is a thought-provoking, wrenching book about the experiences of a Marine Vietnam veteran. After completing his tours of duty "in-country" he became a recruiter, one of the most successful in the nation at that time. Besides signing up new enlistees, recruiters were also responsible for making casualty calls to notify families of their loved ones' death or injury, and for organizing and attending the funerals. Spiller started his recruiting career as a gung-ho, no questions asked, 100% patriotic Marine, but the casualty calls and funerals soon began to get to him, especially when they concerned a young man he himself had recruited. He began to see himself as the Angel of Death to these families, because when he showed up at their homes in his full-dress uniform, Death is what he represented.

With the passage of time, it became more and more difficult for him to make his presentations at high schools, until finally, one day, overwhelmed by his burden of shame and sorrow, he could not do it and walked out. He never made another one. Although privately he was questioning the war more and more, he wanted to get on with his life, so he mostly suppressed his questions and emotions for years, until he accompanied his son to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. There he had no choice but to face his past. He talked about it with his son and soon after returning home began looking up the families to whom he had been the "Angel of Death." This began a long process of healing for him.

This healing process has brought him a long way from the gung-ho Marine he had once been. I admire him for his courage in facing such terrible memories, although he has yet to account for the war's effect on the people of Vietnam, and his role therein.
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By A Customer on November 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is NOT a feel good book. It is an excellent account of a young man with great ambition and served the Marines well while in Vietnam. While completing his stateside tour he was required to deliver the death notices to those communities he covered. When I picked it up the text, I could not put it down. Even my 12 year old son stated "I am really getting into this book." Spillers accounts are precise, detailed and emotional. This is the most accurate book I have found written on the emotional impact of the Vietnam War to date. You will not feel good when you finish, but it will make you think about all the young men who served in similar roles.
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