by Walter Dean Myers
Seventeen-year-old Richie Perry, just out of Harlem high school, enlists in the
Army in the summer of 1967 and spends a year on active duty in Vietnam. He thinks the military will keep him out of trouble. He finds himself deployed to Vietnam and he and his fellow soldiers believe the war will soon be over. They are dropped in the middle of a war zone and no way is the war over. Ricky discovers the horrors of war: land mines, the enemy hiding in spider holes, swamps, accidental shootings of his own platoon, burned out villages, children strapped with bombs. The adventure turns into a nightmare.
Summing up the danger in Vietnam Myers says: There’s only two kinds of people in Vietnam. People who are alert twenty-four hours a day, and people who are dead.” Now Richie has one dream-getting out alive. Does Richie make it back and how has his experience affected him? Walter Dean Myers knows his topic. His brother died the his first day of combat in Vietnam, he is a war veteran and one of his sons was a military officer. - Mary Boyd (Retired librarian - IISD)