Skip to main content

CBR6 #1: Combat Corpsman: A Navy SEAL Medic in Vietnam by Greg McPartlin

Another year, another Cannonball Read. Last year was something of an abject failure, as I didn't even manage to complete the quarter Cannonball (13 books read and reviewed -- I read plenty, but fell behind with the reviews and never caught up). However, it's a new year, which means a clean slate (at least as far as this little endeavor is concerned.) I've only signed up for the half-Cannonball, though I hope to manage the complete again this year.

Anyway, on to my first review of 2014! This book was a gift from the lovely llp (as part of the CBR gift exchange), to whom I am extremely grateful. I've been wanting this book for ages, but it refused to drop into my price range. 

Greg McPartlin's tale of his exploits as a corpsman attached to a SEAL team during the later years of the Vietnam conflict is pretty great. McPartlin's has a strong, likeable voice, and his tale is full of gripping combat adventures, the brotherhood of the military, and attempts to keep morale up in a situation that could be pretty depressing.

If you are looking for a "what does it all mean? How should we feel about the Vietnam war?" type of story, this isn't going to be for you. McPartlin is strongly biased, and not afraid to speak about his feelings in (often salty) language. This is his story, and his feelings about the Vietnamese people are ambivalent at best, which comes through throughout the book.

However, I liked him, and I enjoyed reading about his time with the SEALs. They played some very funny pranks on each other, and the personalities of his friends and comrades also came through very clearly in the narrative. The only real downside is that it ends very abruptly when his team rotates home, and I would have liked to know what happened to McPartlin and his fellow SEALs.

It's not necessarily a thoughtful book, but it's a good read.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

CR3 # 17: Mount Misery by Samuel Shem

Mount Misery is the sequel to Samuel Shem's first book, House of God (review here). It follows Dr. Roy Basch as he leaves the House of God and moves to psychiatric hospital Mount Misery to begin his psychiatric residency. Unfortunately, it turns out that psychiatrists are just as crazy, confused, and often detrimental as medical doctors. As Dr. Basch cycles through the various sectors of the hospital (talk therapy, admissions, Freudian Analysis, drug therapy) he is horrified to discover that it seems everything he is being taught is not only wrong, but potentially dangerous. He begins to fall into terrible patterns of behavior, mirroring the problems his patients are having. Each area is worse than the last, with one doctor who thinks the best way to treat is to be aggressively hostile, one who cares only about insurance premiums and efficiency, one who treats with silence and "regression," and one who thinks the only viable treatment is to pump every patient full of exp…

CBR9 #2 - Southern Gods

I've had Southern Gods on my TBR list for so long I no longer remember why I put it there. Was it a recommendation from Amazon? From Goodreads? Did someone I know recommend it? Did it cross my path as a "If you liked __________ then you'll like this too!"

Maybe I heard it through the grapevine?

I only know that recently, I happened to come across it on my wishlist and decided to go ahead and splurge on it.

I'm glad I did.

In 1951 Memphis, war veteran and leg-breaker-for-hire Bull Ingraham gets a new assignment: a record company has lost one of their employees somewhere. Early Freeman set off to deliver new records to radio stations, and has seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth. His boss at Helios Records is anxious to find him...and also anxious to find a mysterious blues musician whose music can do terrible things to the living -- and to the dead.

Meanwhile, in Arkansas, Sarah Rheinhart leaves her abusive husband and returns to her family home, where …

CR3 #30: The First Wives Club by Olivia Goldsmith

I saw the movie of The First Wives Club before I read the book. It's a cute chick flick, in which scorned women take comedic revenge on their former spouses. They become better friends and everyone winds up happy in the end. I was somewhat surprised (though not much--the differences between film and literature are often wide) at how different the book was--I am used to changes in plot or small character changes (combining two characters into one, or perhaps changing to a more pleasant ending) but the major change here between novel and movie was the tone.

The story is basically the same; After a close friend's suicide, three middle-aged female friends get together and beginning reviewing their lives. They realize that much like their late friend, they have been screwed over by the men in their lives--the men used them to get to their high social and financial positions, then screwed them over both personally and financially. The three women decide to use their wits and their co…