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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
The Vietnam War has been extensively documented in books, films, and news reports. But what exactly did those on the front line endure during the conflict? Gain a unique insight through personal letters into the mind of a young intelligence officer stationed in the Duc Phong District of South Vietnam between 1970-71 in Letters from Duc Phong District by Peter Beaman. Each of the personal letters lays bare one officer's innermost thoughts and the dangerous and eventful situations he experienced. Laid out in chronological order, the letters are addressed to the most important people in the young officer's life at that time. The letters describe his fears of attack from the enemy and what reception he would face on his return to the US. Along with photographic accounts of his time in Vietnam, the truth regarding the relationship between the Vietnamese villagers and American soldiers is also revealed. This is an unforgettable memoir that highlights the struggles, hopes, and fears of a young man and the Vietnamese people caught in the middle of a long-standing and infamous war.
Letters from Duc Phong District by Peter Beaman is such an absorbing memoir and highlights a unique perspective on the Vietnam War. There is such a contrast in each of the letters. I especially loved his endearing letters to Barbara and his parents. Peter's benevolence towards the Vietnamese people was heartwarming and this warm relationship of support between the native villagers and the soldiers is little known. He seemed so vulnerable at first but, as the letters progressed, you see his demeanor changing gradually towards fearing for his life and then acceptance of his situation. I absolutely loved the photographs throughout the memoir, especially of the Vietnamese children. The memoir is exceptionally well-written and the strong emotions of helplessness, fear, frustration, and uncertainty came through perfectly. The terror of the Vietnamese people towards the Viet Cong was also very emotional to read, to live under that constant fear must have been unbearable. I thought including the political and economic inequalities facing Vietnam added great depth and another layer of interest to the memoir.