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Hanley (Doc) Harding

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Sleep Without Dreams -- A Novel of the U.S. Navy in the Vietnam War Years
by Hanley (Doc) Harding   

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Copyright:  Mar 1 1999

A troubled young man enlists in the Navy during the Vietnam War, to embark upon an unexpected journey from Southeast Asia to the Middle East. [WARNING: This book, although in some places, deeply religious, contains (as did the Vietnam War!) graphic language, sex and violence.]

Jacob Hilfarber knows he has to leave home. He has made the fateful decision to do so over a full year before graduating high school, but tells no one. Upon graduation, his divorced mother, who expects him to go straight into college, is shocked by the announcement that Jake is, in fact, in the Navy, and will ship out in two days. Jake brings a dark and troubled past into the Vietnam War era, and ends up volunteering for some of the Navy's most clandestine programs, where that dark past is unleashed in terrible ways.

Deliberately thrust into the political machinery of the war, he unwittingly crosses the path of one of the darkest figures of MACV-SOG, and ends up being hunted by the South Vietnamese government for assassination, and by the CIA for stumbling upon the crux of arms and drugs trafficking in the region.

From Viet Nam, to the 1967 Mideast War, the Navy is building toward a global future, the dedicated men and women of its Office of Naval Intelligence and Special Projects Office quietly and doggedly engaging in a war of morals, philosophies and wills with the State Department, the CIA, and the other branches of the U.S. military, in order to ensure that the U.S. will become the most powerful nation in history. It is to this end that young men such as Hilfarber are being sacrificed on the front lines for the ideology of a new world order.


After the debriefing was over, and Macklin had departed, Lieutenant Commander Conde had at me...

"Just what the hell did you think you were getting the United States Navy involved in, sailor?! You are damned lucky it didn't turn out to be a major political incident!"

"Sir," I attempted.

"Just stand to!" Conde warned. "And who the hell authorized you to wear an Army uniform?! It would be a simple matter to have that crow removed form your sleeve, and from all your Navy uniforms, too!" I stood, mutely, for further royal ass-chewing. "I'm not really sure just why you're even aboard this ship. Apparently, you're parked here, en route to Nuclear Power School at Bainbridge. But I'll tell you this, sailor, you had better keep your nose clean for the rest of the time you're aboard. Do you fully understand that?" Conde bored in.

"Aye-aye, sir," I firmly replied.

"Get those weapons checked back into the armory and get yourself into a proper work uniform. You will start in the engine room, right after noon meal, at thirteen-hundred. I will send word when your transfer orders come through. That is all, sailor," Conde finished.

I saluted, smartly; he acknowledged, and I was out of his office before the door had a chance to hit me in the ass. Conde immediately picked up the phone and dialed the Operations Office.

"This is the XO. Let me speak with Commander Durstin." Thirty seconds passed.

"Commander Durstin speaking."

"Commander, this is Lieutenant Commander Conde."

"Good morning. I see the Airborne troops are embarking; has Ober checked back aboard, yet?"

"Yes sir. I just finished debriefing him and reading him the riot act regarding his escapades."

"Well, that's interesting; because I just received word from a Colonel Armbruster that the Army is well-pleased with the liaison, and, therefore, so is the Navy," he pointedly remarked (and, happily for me, it would be so noted in my records jacket). "Is there anything else?"

"Uh, yes... a Major Lennox sent along a letter," replied Conde, somewhat puzzled.

"No copies are authorized. Have it brought straight to me, please; I'm due to debark before you get underway. If there's nothing further...?"

"No... that's about it."

"Then thanks for all your help." The phone line clicked.

Durstin, who wore a unique enameled badge on his breast pocket, continued to put papers into his briefcase, in preparation for departure. He inserted the freshly delivered Army letter into a blue file folder with my name on it, closed it and put it into the briefcase with the other papers. He then departed the Austin for the Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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Reader Reviews for "Sleep Without Dreams -- A Novel of the U.S. Navy in the Vietnam War Years"

Reviewed by Boris Belovarski 4/29/2002
As much as we hate to admit, life's never one genre: never solely too sweet, or too bitter and too sour. Life includes all varieties of itself in itself. Just like the Tree of Discerning Good and Evil in Eden had one fruit, containing knolwedge about what good and evil are. Not that they necessarely coexist, but... one can always love in a loving environment. Yet what about loving in a living Hell? What about loving with the power of death? Is there any logic in it? Was self-sacrifice ever explained?

So is this book, full of contradictions just as life is! It is urging to make you understand that one cannot love good without hating evil, as well as doing perfect evil while knowing what perfect love is. Some things just don't match together (like water and fire). But when water burns like napalm and dust turns to be your only future--when the conglomerates of life change your nature and human perspectives so much that you discover your unknown 'you'--then is the clay turning into a vessel in the Creator's hand! And that is the message of this book, set between the lines in a Viet Nam style of misty and muddy revelations about what life is (at least for those that walked through living hell for their own and somebody else's sake). In short, once eaten from the Forbidden Tree, one is destined to choose between good and evil, finding good within evil (and preseve it!) and evil within good (and eliminate it)! Is that so diffucult to understand that we, humans, are called to discern between these two every moment of our lives? Yes, it is, if we are as proud as the tallest trees in the forest, who believe that they have planted themselves and that there is no greated truth than that!
Reviewed by Rossana Parodi 1/5/2002
Compelling, controversial... It makes you think about what really happens to young men and women like Jacob Hilfarber. Truly a wonderful novel.
Reviewed by Rosemarie Skaine 1/4/2002
Much controversy surrounded the Vietnam War, and some of that controversy remains yet today. That a young man, as were many young men and women, was sacrificed and artfully written into story form -- leads me to believe that this book IS a good read.

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