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Books by the Blogger:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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Authors & publishers:
I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

« Baty, Chris: No Plot? No Problem | Main | Grossman, Lev: Codex »

Clayton, Paul: Carl Melcher Goes to Vietnam

  

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St. Martin's Press © 2002, 197 pages
3.5 stars

Carl Melcher, the reluctant draftee of Paul Clayton's title, arrived in Vietnam at eighteen half believing that his good karma would be sufficient to ensure his safety during his tour in the infantry. A host of needless deaths and the better part of a year later, Carl emerged from the jungle a more mature figure, still the likeable, duty-bound character he had been when he went in, but a world removed from the boys his age who had remained stateside.

A host of needless deaths and the better part of a year later, Carl emerged from the jungle a more mature figure, still the likeable, duty-bound character he had been when he went in, but a world removed from the boys his age who had remained stateside.Clayton's simply titled Carl Melcher Goes to Vietnam, narrated in the first person by the title character, succeeds in reading like the first-hand account of a naive GI's wartime experiences. (The novel is presumably autobiographical at least in part: the author is himself a Vietnam veteran who served in the same infantry division in which his character finds himself.) The book is interesting as a primer in the day-to-day living conditions of a soldier in Melcher's shoes--the friendships with fellow soldiers formed quickly in the confines of a bunker, and sometimes terminated even more quickly by gunfire, racial divisions among the troops mirroring those ripping the country apart back home, hard slogs through a dense jungle in which an unseeable enemy may or may not lie hidden. Carl himself never lays eyes on an enemy soldier during his tour, at least not a live one. He describes battle as a hazy experience of firing blindly into the green without knowing who or how many one is opposed against. The overall feeling one has when reading about Carl is that he is a very small figure on a large canvas, his fate entirely out of his hands, yielded to the army and to chance.

Despite the losses Carl suffers during his tour and the carnage alluded to in the book--there are no grotesque descriptions of ripped flesh here--Carl Melcher Goes to Vietnam does not grip the reader emotionally. This may be deliberate on the author's part, his readers intended to observe Carl's experiences at a remove just as Carl is in a sense removed from them, unable even to see the camouflaged enemy he fires at. More a memoir than a novel, Carl Melcher Goes to Vietnam tells its protagonist's story in spare, sometimes inelegant prose which, if not rousing, makes for a very quick read. Anyone interested in a straightforward account of a soldier's experiences in Vietnam will enjoy Clayton's detailed account of Carl Melcher's tour of duty.

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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.