This book was complicated for me. My only interest in it stems from the knowledge that (1) my dad was a Vietnamese linguist (spook) during the war and (2) he won't really talk about the war. One of my dad's battle buddies recommended this book to me and I ordered it.
Craig Nostrum is a Vietnamese linguist stationed at Da Nang. His job is to monitor North Vietnamese communications. His work helps warn pilots of enemy MiGs and directs rescue crew to downed American flyers.
This book is thinly veiled as a work of fiction, but it is really more of an account of the main character's training, work in Vietnam, and experiences in the war. The author Wayne Care touches on the alcoholism, drug use, and promiscuity that the men use to cope with the war and the responsibility they feel when they are unable to protect a pilot. These men are highly skilled and have a low tolerance for the bullshit and politics they deal with on a regular basis. It doesnt seem right to say that I enjoyed this book. It is a book about war and there isnt anything pretty about it, but it is not as gruesome and explicit as other war books. I think that I understand my dad a little better after reading this book. This book gives context to the brief and occasional glimpses Im had of my dads experiences in Vietnam.
It was Nostrum's task to master Vietnamese, now the language of war. Assigned to a Navy intelligence detachment, he monitored North Vietnamese communications, warning pilots of enemy MiGs and directing rescue crews to downed American flyers. But for Nostrum, it was more than a job, it was his whole reality. The closeness he came to feel for his comrades was almost frightening. He laughed and drank and made love inside the dangerous borders that had become his one true home. Watching his life being taken from him piece by piece, by orders, by blood, by his own superiors, he decided to avenge the losses--and to stand up for what he had left.