Fighting the Bad War

Fiction - Military
232 Pages
Reviewed on 12/12/2021
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Author Biography

I served with the 11th Armored Cavalry in Vietnam from November, 1966-November, 1967. My experiences inspired a play that became the source of setting and characters in this short story collection.

There is no end to war. I believe we need to remind ourselves of the history of war and the personal and global consequences.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Leonard William Smuts for Readers' Favorite

It is now almost fifty years since the drawn-out and bloody war in Viet Nam came to an inglorious end in 1975. It was a war that many want to forget. The effects are still evident in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by the veterans, as well as physical injury and emotional scarring. The war caused intense divisions within American society. In writing Fighting the Bad War, Angelo Presicci reveals the war in all its stark horror through the eyes of a band of fictional characters, whose paths cross from time to time. Their backgrounds are examined and experiences are relived in graphic detail, reminding us that war is never pretty. The book covers all facets of the conflict, from the drafting of young Americans to fight in a foreign and hostile land, through the trauma of hand-to-hand fighting, ambushes, land mines, booby traps, disease, and the ever-present possibility of death. Soldiers were separated from their homes and loved ones. The resulting social ills of booze, drugs, and prostitution are dealt with frankly, as well as alternative sexual orientation which was frowned on by the army. Atrocities against civilians became part of what many called an unjust war. The anti-war protests back home became more vocal as the body count mounted. Ultimately, those who survived returned home to a mixed reception and pieced together what was left of their lives, haunted by ghosts from the past.

Fighting the Bad War epitomizes all that is good and bad in a wartime army. Heroism, comradeship, and devotion to duty are contrasted with death and destruction, alienation, trauma, and civilian casualties. A combat veteran himself, Angelo Presicci deals with all of these issues in a masterful fashion. The incidents, characters, and situations are highly credible and the political and social issues are unpacked. The fight against communism during the 1960s was conveniently put aside as the debate over the morality of the conflict heated up. Presicci examines all of this through his diverse characters and their reactions, which are vividly described. I particularly enjoyed the intertwining of their lives both during and after the war. The strong language used is appropriate to a war setting and reflects life in the military. The point of view of the Vietnamese themselves is often overlooked and I commend Angelo Presicci for exploring the divided loyalties of the long-suffering local population. I also liked the often poignant tales of returnees coming to terms with civilian life. The writing style matches the fast pace of the action. This book is based on reality and is insightful, one of the best in its genre. The war in Viet Nam remains contentious to this day. This book will hopefully serve as a memorial to those who fought there, whatever the rights and wrongs.