The American War in Viet Nam was many different wars. Since the end of that war, thousands of books have been written that try to make sense of what was a horrific, moral collapse on the part of the United States and its allies. What separates Daktoum from the rest of these books is the author’s precise focus on the middle ground of the war, a middle ground that could become an otherworldly place, defined by its own laws, and sometimes ruled by officers deemed unfit to be in combat. Christopher Upham writes about this middle ground with striking accuracy and with a passion that lifts his story out of the ordinary and into our lives. The book rises above being simply another war story, relying on the war as a backdrop to human drama, a richly engaging tale of one man’s struggle to understand who he is.
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