“...His book recounts his agonized response to a direct order to 'bury' the remains of a fallen Marine in Vietnam...” - John E. Brown, III Past president of JBU, and former AR State Senator
In this frank, engaging memoir, Captain Chamberlain chronicles the missions, personal courage and sacrifice of the Marines he was privileged to command; painfully recalls the unspeakable order he and his Marines were forced to obey; and the cover-up which followed. Nearly four decades later, Captain Chamberlain makes right what was wrong; brings closure to the family of a fallen and abandoned warrior; and attempts to put to rest the guilt which plagued his military career and life. Unlike most books on the Viet Nam War, this book is written at a tactical level by a Marine Company Commander who was there.
I don't even know how to begin reviewing this book. This hit a personal note for me. While the war in Vietnam was ebbing by the time I hit high school in the US, I still remember watching the last drafts on TV and wondering which of my older school mates would have to head to war. Then I remember in my 20's talking to Viet Nam vets and hearing how difficult it was coming home and the unforgivable discrimination they faced. But they NEVER spoke of their time there.
To read this book finally answers so many of the questions I had. There was so much misinformation in the media and most vets did not want to talk about what they experienced, especially with someone who hadn't been there and couldn't understand. I knew so many who were drafted. My heart went out to them and I wanted to better understand what they went through and what they were now dealing with because of it.
I was worried at first Bury Him would be just a chronological story of the author's time in Viet Nam, but quickly learned that was not the case. His story is told from the heart - with pride for the courage of the men he led and served with, and gratitude for the lives that were saved. But it also offers truth about the dark side of this war - honesty about the politics, the lack of proper equipment (one time they were told there would be no ammunition coming for awhile so they had to make what they had last - WHAT?), the bad decisions made by people in field offices who had never seen the terrain, the orders that were unsafe to follow, the cover-up of a marine left behind (absolutely against all policy), the medals never received or downgraded, and more.
And lastly it talks about how doing what you are ordered to do, and what is necessary to survive your tour, didn't mean you walked away unscathed. The author openly shares how his experiences and what was asked of him at times conflicted with his deep held beliefs, and how this internal conflict never left him once he was back home. It is a burden he has carried all his life and continues to impact his relationships with family and friends. Then there is his life long battle to control his PTSD episodes. He might have learned how to manage them, but the next episode is always lurking in the background.
I feel these stories by real people sharing their real life experiences are so very important. I highly recommend this book whether you want to know more about the Viet Nam War specifically or more importantly, to get an inside look at what a soldier faces. It is a rare and honest look at the enormous toll war takes on the men at the front lines. You will be changed.
BUY THE BOOK: Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ IndieBound ~ Hardcover from Author ~ Add to Goodreads
Meet the Author -
Read a fab author interview HERE -
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