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Reviewed by Ann Neville for Readers' Favorite
While most Vietnam stories deal with the experiences of 'the Grunt' that lived in the field and daily grappled face-to-face with the enemy, Keeping the Big Guns Firing by Patrick Goodrow details some of the experiences of the behind-the-lines troopers who provided the Grunt with much needed support. In fact, for every one of those front-line warriors, there were ten behind-the-lines troopers on whom they relied for equipment, food, medical support and repairs. Patrick Goodrow was one of those Artillery Repairmen in Vietnam, and Keeping the Big Guns Firing consists of 22 short chapters, each chapter being a stand-alone story of his experiences behind the lines. The chapters cover the author’s journey getting to and coming home from Vietnam (in 1965 and 1967) and detail some of his duties and challenges as an Artillery Repairman.
Patrick Goodrow's account of his time in Vietnam is fascinating. The story of his first contact with the enemy is both amusing and terrifying and, along with many of the other stories, shows Goodrow's integrity and honesty in relating the facts of his experiences. His encounter with a deadly cobra, and of being personally involved with the devastating results of a fragging of his platoon members are also harrowing. Some stories, though, are light-hearted and show Goodrow's great sense of humour, while others are more poignant. Keeping the Big Guns Firing is not a treatise on the morality of the Vietnam War - it simply gives an insight into the conditions and situations in which the troops found themselves. If a reader is looking to find out about a different side of the war to that of the front-line troops, then I recommend Keeping the Big Guns Firing by Patrick Goodrow. A fascinating read. I loved the stories.