Close Quarters: A Novel - Larry Heinemann This is not a book for the faint-hearted. If you don't like graphic violence, the f-word, and ethnic slurs, lots of brutal and mind-numbing sex, you should leave right now. Categorized as a novel, I suspect many of the incidents in this book reflected Heinemann's personal experiences in "the Nam." This book brings new meaning to the "pornography of violence." One feels almost like voyeur, feeling slightly dirty while reading.

There is one scene that I think particularly illustrates the frustrations of the troops. The protagonist has been assigned to a half-track and one job was to patrol up and down ambush and mine laden highways. After one ambush, the pull off the road, back up, and call in an airstrike. Two Phantoms, one strafing, the other napalming, obliterate the enemy's position. After the strike, they pull 14 charred remnants of the enemy. One of the men goes berserk, smashing one of the dead enemy with the butt of his rifle, over and over again. The lieutenant, walks to the front of the "track" so he can honestly report he saw nothing. The soldier continues to vent his rage until the dead soldier has been smashed to a pulp. They leave the bodies lined up on the road, The Cat from Hue A Vietnam War, Story, and Black Virgin Mountain A Return to Vietnam. I've read a lot of Vietnam books, but these four together provide a whole that I find startling in its tragedy.

Additional pertinent title: And a Hard Rain Fell A GI's True Story of the War in Vietnam