Search and Destroy

Dennis Munzon


In the book Search and Destroy by Dean Hughes, the main character, Rick Ward, is an average teenager out of high school, enjoying life. But things begin to go downhill for him quickly; his girlfriend brakes up with him, which makes him realize he had no idea what he was going to do with his life now that everyone he knows is moving on to college. We wants to become a writer, but he finds out he has nothing to write about. Desperate to experience real life, Rick enlists in the army with the Charlie Rangers, a special unit in Vietnam. They infiltrate the jungle, kill with precision, and get out quickly. Rick isn’t sure he can shoot anyone, but he wants to be tested, like his heroes, Hemingway and Conrad. If he can see the heart of darkness and survive, he’ll be a man; and finally have something to write about. His friend and squad member, Kent, plays a big role in keeping Rick’s dream alive by keeping him from going crazy while back at their camp. But as Rick discovers, war isn’t what anyone, neither the protesters, the politicians, or the writers, say it is. It’s far bigger and more complex than anything he could ever have imagined, and no one can keep it all bottled up inside of them forever. Everyday, a squad member from his team is injured or killed due to gunshots or bombs. It is hard for Rick to cope with reality of war, and that it isn't as fun as he thought for it to be. As the month passes on he turns into a man from a watching his friends get injured, saving a mans life, and getting injured himself. Search and Destroy gives a vivid description of what war is like and how scary it was in the Vietnam War. When he first came to Vietnam. he was just a teenager out of high school. When he returned, he was a man with many grueling experiences.

search and destroy EO

Bio Dean Hughes

Dean Hughes was born in Ogden, Utah in 1943, and grew up in very humble circumstances. He started telling people in junior high that he was going to be a writer, but he did not become serious until he took a creative writing class in high school.