A helicopter shrieks out of the night sky over Vietnam, crashing in enemy country, and a war-battered artillery scout and a shattered half company of infantrymen shove into murderous Viet Cong Valley to search for survivors at the risk of their own lives. Each soldier slogs through the jungle adrift in a bizarre and private fantasy that he desperately hopes means survival in this place of death and terror. Sometimes guns are not enough to keep a soldier alive in combat. Sometimes it takes a desperate dream. These men dream.
That is the story of Ghost Soldiers (click-tap!), the opening to a four-novel series about the Vietnam war and what it meant to the young soldiers who had to fight it, what it meant to those they left behind and what it meant to them all standing in the fallout of the war long afterward. A hard, bitter, violent story leading to unexpected hope.
I wrote these novels with young people in mind — those of age to volunteer to go to war — with the ambition that their reading the awful truth of war, its heroism and misery and remembrance, would guide them in deciding for or against making war.
Sometimes wars have to be fought and this country must go to war for good reasons (December 7, 1941). Sometimes wars do not have to be fought (Vietnam) and the country and its people, especially the soldiers sent to do the nation’s fighting, must live with their unforgiveable choice. Young people need to know that. They need to think about their choice. They need Davy Crockett’s advice to “be sure you are right, then go ahead.”
That is what these books have to say — listen to Davy.