A riveting, historically accurate tale of war’s horror, impossible love, and ultimate redemption. This is the Vietnam generation’s story.
It was the sixties. We were the baby boomers, and our fathers had fought in World War II—the heroes who saved the world from tyranny. It was our obligation to serve, as they had. To duck service, was not an option; not if you believed in life in America, the American way, and family values.
• • •
“No, Cam…I’m right about Vietnam and World War II,” he said, pointing the two fingers holding his cigarette at me like darts. “You’d better have a damn good reason to ask a man to put his life on the line ’cause there’s no greater sacrifice he can make. Our fathers had Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo to fight…some of the biggest evil the world has ever known. They really were fighting for freedom and our way of life. Losing wasn’t an option.
“What did we have?… Huh? What the fuck did we have to fight for? Not a goddamn thing! We went because we were Americans…because we were asked by our country to go…young men always have been. So we went…and we died. That’s bravery and sacrifice above and beyond the call, my friend. Dyin’ for nothin’…that’s a hell of a thing to ask of a man.”
• • •
NAM, The Story of a Generation is a tale of times that defined a generation: the counter culture that grew out of it; commitment without conscience; love in impossible circumstances; the unimaginable horror of war; healing hope; and renewal. The Vietnam War is the common thread that binds together the lives and fortunes of the three main characters.
An epic novel about a generation and the conflict that changed two nations.
About the Author
I grew up in the neighborhood described in my book: a blue-collar neighborhood on the edge of town. Our neighborhood had dirt streets, no sewer service, and one street light on the corner. Beyond my block was prairie leading to East Helena about three miles away. There wasn’t a college degree within at least six square blocks. Many parents didn’t have a high school diploma, including my own.
In ways, the neighborhood was a tough one, but as I look back on it now I can see just how ideal it was and the times were, for personal development.
Other than the threat of thermonuclear war, and we were way too young and active to think on that much, the time was one of general contentment and positive reinforcement. America had won the big war; we were the economic engine of the world; we were told daily how incredibly lucky we were to have been born in America. I felt secure and safe that I would stay in this cocoon until I left for the service.
We had little beyond our friends to keep us occupied or entertained. My folks had one of the first TVs in our neighborhood. But TV in those days consisted of about three channels and there was rarely anything good on it. There were no cell phones, Gameboys, computers or internet. No, all we had were friends and time to play. There was no lack of kids to play with, either. In my neighborhood, mostly the block I lived in, there were 31 kids within three or four years of my own age.
We were the boomers. We played hard from early morning until our mom’s called us home at bedtime.
Mel’s first novel, NAM, The Story of a Generation, is an historical fiction during the Vietnam war (September 2017).