Sergeant Dickinson is the 05-Bravo-the radioman-of a Special Forces A Team in the Central Highlands of Vietnam in the mid-sixties.
The camp is encircled and attacked for nine days by the North Vietnamese Army, anxious to lure large American forces into combat for the first time. He survives, just. The remnants of the team are broken up, the soldiers scattered among other commands. A unit that battered, goes the thinking, can't be put back together. Can he?
The war grows ever larger and darker, but Dickinson has the clarity of a person who has been shot at, "the almost dying and then not dying. Afterwards is the best thing there is."
There are a handful of them-Men Without Women, A Walk in the Sun-small, stunning books about men and war. Sergeant Dickinson, says Nelson DeMille, is one of those "classics."
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Jerome Gold was a Special Forces sergeant, one of nine A Team members at Plei Mei in the Central Highlands. He holds a doctorate in social anthropology and works with incarcerated young adults at a facility outside Seattle, Washington.From Kirkus Reviews:
The grim resignation that replaces fear in the psyches of combat soldiers under fire is vividly dramatized in this latest from Russell (The Prisoners Son, 1996, etc.): an in-your-face character study of an American radioman assigned to a Special Forces unit based in Pleiku in central Viet Nam at the height of the late war. Eponymous protagonist Ray Dickinson is an understandably embittered veteran in a story that begins with his unsparing description of the job of sorting out and disposing of dead bodies; that embraces standard-issue vilification of military myopia, doublespeak, and vainglory (a ``Group Commander . . . [is accompanied by] the master sergeant whose job it was to light his cigars''); and that varies its war-weary tone with sardonic pictures of butchery and devastation on and off the battlefield. All the expected things happen. Soldiers woolgather, swap outrageous tall tales, bicker endlessly, bet on how long it will take critically wounded ``personnel'' to die. Disturbingly irrational images surface in phlegmatic barracks-room conversation (``an elephant bombed and strafed by six sorties of American aircraft'')and even penetrates back home, where Sgt. Dickinson recuperates after a severe hand wound and hears of a fellow soldier blinded when a war protestor threw acid in his face. A stab at reuniting with his ex-wife (who's afraid of him) inevitably fails, and he's soon back in Pleiku (for a ``third tour''), just in time for a climactic North Vietnamese attack (exacerbated by misdirected ``friendly fire'') on his unit's camp, which ends the novel on an appropriately inconclusive note. Sergeant Dickinson in fact hits every note quite convincingly: the books hard to take, but it's harder to look away from it. One must ask if there's anything here that we haven't already seen in such classic Viet Nam texts as Gustav Hasford's The Short-Timers and Michael Herr's Dispatches. Even so, this brief, swift tales relentless fatalism and narrative momentum identify it as an authentic member of their company. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Soho, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P111569471622
Book Description Soho, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M1569471622