1996 Brothers in Arms  
This book is based on two journeys 1 made to Vietnam, one in war, the other in peace. The first was in 1969, when I spent a year there as a young Marine Corps lieutenant during the war. When I returned in 1984, the country where I had fought had vanished. Only my memories of it remained, fixed and immutable, or so I thought. Since then Vietnam has changed even more, but it still has a troubling, powerful pull on our memories and on our foreign policy. We lost something there. Brothers in Arms
more » ... ew from my quest to go back and find it. When I first saw Vietnam I was immediately drunk on the green strange savage sweetness of it. I was leading a platoon of marines, which meant I saw the country with my face in the mud, struggling with fear, desperately trying to be worthy of the teenage Americans under my command. I lay in the jungles in the black fecund Asian night, watching astronauts streak by in the sky high above me. They knew more about the moon than I knew about this mysterious land where we wandered about, clinging to our ideals and our weapons, utterly lost. We were young and scared and we gave each other everything we had. Then I was assigned to the generals commanding my division. After breakfast we flew high above the countryside in our helicopters, occasionally swooping down on some battlefield or pacification program. In the evening we dined on Navy china and entertained ourselves with a movie or a game of Ping-Pong. We talked strategy. The big picture. It was a somewhat different perspective than I had when my face was in the mud.
doi:10.7560/708495-002 fatcat:jt7qtonaozcsxca6bu4gtq6siy