Academic journal article Military Review

Vignettes from Vietnam: Brief Moments of Sanity and Belated Notes of Gratitude

Academic journal article Military Review

Vignettes from Vietnam: Brief Moments of Sanity and Belated Notes of Gratitude

Article excerpt

VIGNETTES FROM VIETNAM: Brief Moments of Sanity and Belated Notes of Gratitude Brice H. Barnes, Outskirts Press, Denver, Colorado, 2014, 258 pages

They are known by several names. Some people call them sleepers. Others may label them hidden gems. In essence, these labels both refer to things that are of high quality--yet are known only by a small group of people. Readers of military history feel a sense of duty to share with other readers any book that could be categorized as a sleeper or a hidden gem. Thus, in honoring my obligation, I would like to highlight a book which will likely be underpublicized but is truly worthy of extensive readership--Brice Barnes' superb Vignettesfrom Vietnam.

Within his volume, Barnes has assembled a collection of vignettes focused on his two tours in Vietnam. He served as a platoon leader, company commander, and psychological warfare/political warfare advisor to the South Vietnamese army. These positions certainly afforded Barnes a wide variety of experiences. He has selected nearly three dozen of these to share with readers.

The group of stories Barnes has selected is certainly eclectic. Obviously, many of them are focused on the direct combat situations in which he was involved. In particular, he spends the last portion of his book addressing his vivid recollection of the 1968 Tet Offensive, principally the battle for Widow's Village. In his discussion, he highlights the incredible heroism exhibited by the soldiers in his battalion, the 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment. Additionally, he shares with readers the profound impact the battle had on the rest of his life.

Barnes perfectly blends his accounts of combat with many vignettes centered on far less serious topics. These range from rest and relaxation excursions, to escapades in the officers' club, to the things soldiers did during their down time. …

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