||Night Bandit Publishing
The trajectory of the bullet that ripped into the young paratroopers chest, knocked him on his backside thus saving him the added indignity of laying face down in the mud of the monsoon drenched jungle floor. With life rapidly escaping his body through the gaping wound, Johnny dreams of being with Mai, a beautiful Eurasian girl he’d only recently met and fell in love with on an in-country R&R at Vung Tau. To be back in the “world,” to play his guitar and to live out his life with Mai consumed his every thought.
Shortly after returning to his combat unit, Johnny Richards, a cocky Irish, blue-eyed blues guitarist from the streets of Chicago, is gravely wounded on a combat air-assault into an enemy stronghold, after taking a bullet for a buddy.
Are Johnny and Mai allowed to live out their dreams? Does the bullet that cut him down cut short his young adventurous life and their dreams? In 1983, at The Vietnam Memorial, better known as “The Wall,” Johnny’s hopes, dreams and survival come face to face with the emotional but spiritual realization that is his.
The Wall Of Broken Dreams is an adventure for sure, as any Vietnam War story should be. More than that though, it is also an inspirational story of the hopes and dreams of a young man serving his country with an elite army combat platoon in Vietnam.
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The Wall Of Broken Dreams
For those of us who went to Vietnam it became more than just a rite of passage. It
was a coming of age event. Others never lived long enough to take any of the lessons
home with them from that passage. It was a faraway time and place, and in the way of all
wars, one that separated boys from their homes, families and their very souls. The
Vietnam war, though, stole more than the youth of these young warriors, fresh from the
streets of America; it took them on a journey that for most became a nightmare or, at the
very least, a surreal dream.
Friendships with our fellow soldiers became substitute families. We fought and
died for each other, not for some vague ideology or the flag of our country or a patriotic
ideal for politicians to make rhetoric about at a Fourth of July parade. Nor was it about
“killing commies” or stopping the “Domino Effect.” Some of these young men were just
out of high school and our bonding became the deepest and most meaningful
relationships of our lives. There will never be anyone more ingrained in our memories
and in our hearts than those with whom we fought side by side during our “
tour of duty.”
Duke Barrett takes the sacred elements of the “
them into a synthesis that is the true, fundamental foundation of any authentic story about
the war in Vietnam, be it a memoir or a work of fiction, and makes it a meaningful
background to his novel. His story is about those young men who were with us, and
whose loss took such a heavy spiritual toll on each and every veteran. We did not have
time to grieve or mourn and shed tears. We could not afford to show any emotions…
Nam Experience” and weavesIt don’t mean nothing!”
I believe that some veterans who read this story may actually find some personal
healing while others who are not veterans may find some understanding. This story is an
adventure but be prepared for an emotional and inspirational journey as well. But then,
when you wake up maybe all that you just read was just a dream!
THE LATE OCTOBER MONSOON RAIN continued to pelt the once
contested landing zone while the able bodied readied their cargo of dead
and wounded for evacuation. The ever haunting, whining turbine engine
of the medevac chopper eerily but fittingly cried out in wait for its carg
home. Also fittingly, the time of day, for it was at the twilight’s last
gleaming that its cargo of patriots, readied for lift-off.
Again, the unforgettable thump, thump, sound of the rotor blades
slapped the wet air and played to all who could hear, like background
music to a movie, a movie of war that raged in Vietnam.
No Hollywood wannabe
5.0 out of 5 stars No Hollywood wannabe.........., September 29, 2008
By Joni Bour (Oregon) - See all my reviews
Before you ever pick up this book, you need to decide what sort of student of the world you are. We are all students in one way or the other- some of us want to know clinically, scientifically how something goes. We want only the black and white, no emotional grays or reds to muddy the water. We only want to know what statistics will prove and history books will retell. Others of us want to know what really happened, the heart of the story, the colors other than the black and the white. We need to see the story with our hearts and the important parts that will never be printed in history books. So before I tell you what I thought of this book, I need to know what sort of student you are? If you are the scientist, then don't read further. Neither my review nor this book has anything for you. If you are a student of the heart and the mind and know even black and white make another color when mixed together, then I would like to offer this book to you.
Mr. Barrett is not a polished writer, but he does not profess himself to be anything other than a Vietnam veteran with a story to tell. He would tell you this book is fiction and because I am not a veteran myself I cannot argue with the storyteller. But I will say this; although the author tells you his characters are fabricated, I would venture to say I sense they are woven from the threads of his memories. The specific events might be made up, but the emotion of the story is not. The young characters in his book may never have existed individually, but I believe they are all an accumulation of many young men who grew old together in a war and the jungle that stole their youth, and pieces of their bodies, minds and souls. It is a fictionalized truth. You can't really make up a story like this- unless you first lived something just like it and made it through, perhaps not untouched, but alive and with your spirit mostly intact. You don't have to be a veteran to know when someone is blowing smoke- Either walk the talk or.......... This book is the talk of a man who has done the walk and you can feel, touch and sense it with all of your being.
The story has a conversational feel to it and as I said, it isn't very polished. But because of its down to earth quality, it feels as if a real soldier is telling the story- not a researcher or someone with a team of assistants and editors to " fix the story". The tale has a certain touching quality that many other books lack because it feels right, and certainly something that most Vietnam War books lack. Many mass produced books about the Vietnam War, even some written by real veterans, have a whole bunch of blood and thunder and not much about the soldiers.This isn't Hollywood, but frankly, we have those other books if we want that.
This novel is told in a way you can imagine the young man and the other men he served with. You can picture it all, some of it makes you laugh, some of it makes you scared,some of it makes you sort of crocuh down in your head when you turn the page, and some if it should shame us as a nation. It does not contain the thoughts of the secretary of state or a general's version of how the war might have been better fought. I have never been to war, but have studied the Vietnam War my entire life and have often heard veterans say that much of what they went through as young soldiers was bearable only because of the close bonds they had with other young men that became their brothers. Much of this story shows this, and in fact this story really isn't about what war costs in dollars and cents or bullets and bombs or loss or gain of land, but the cost in the intangible things that cannot be seen or held in your hand, but can also never be fixed, replaced or returned.
I would recommend this novel because I believe even though it is fiction; it is also as true as any book you will likely ever read about the soldier of the Vietnam War. The fact that it is a bit rough around the edges makes it all the more real and memorable compared to the piles of others that have been mass produced and do a disservice those who served in this God forsaken war.
A story that will inspire Vietnam veterans and civilians alike
5.0 out of 5 stars A story that will inspire Vietnam vets and civilian alike, August 7, 2008
By Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA) - See all my reviews
They say that when death is near, one's life flashes before their eyes. "The Wall of Broken Dreams" is a story of life, and trying to survive in the Vietnam war. Johnny Richards took a bullet for one of his companions and nearly died. He somehow survives and realizes what's really important, life and his recently found love that he found on his tour of duty, Mai. A story that will inspire Vietnam vets and civilian alike, "The Wall of Broken Dreams" is highly recommended to those seeking a good historical fiction story that replicates reality.
Heartbreakingly Beautiful, December 6, 2008
Only those who have seen combat, can accurately describe it. Duke Barrett's service in Vietnam as a paratrooper and infantryman prepared him well to write this haunting, moving novel.
As a young soldier, he takes us deep into"the bush" and shows us the harsh realities he is forced to face. We see the war through Johnny Richard's youthful blue, Irish eyes.
We trudge through the jungle by his side as he's caught up in fierce firefights, grenade explosions, barrages of enemy gunfire, horredous deaths of his fellow soldiers, and much more.
As a reader, I squirmed watching the scene as Johnny's sergeant leads a burial detail. The images of stiff, dead enemy soldiers with eyes wide open, is beyong disturbing.
This is but one of the many tragic scenes that give us an honest, harsh look at the unfathomable agonies that combat soldiers endure.
I was amazed by Barrett's book. How can one survive such an experience at a young age, then, so many years later, find the strength to recall such memories in excruciating detail? This is courage personified.
Barrett weaves a story that encompasses so many aspects of life. The intensity of falling in love with a beautiful Eurasian girl, the pleasures of playing a blues guitar, the camaraderie of friends, and the love of, and longing for home. And of course, the hardest question of all, "What if?"
There is a mystical, spiritual quality to Barrett's work. Reading it I felt he had been on a long, hard journey through a barren land. But just off in the distance, he glimpsed a sign. "Welcome home, soldier. Welcome home."
This book can help all combat vets and their families, as well as enlighten the general public to what we ask of our soldiers. It's a fine read for all of us, as we seek answers to why mankind continues to have wars, and how we can heal from them. Highly recommended, down-to-earth, and timely.
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