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Reviewed by Michelle Robertson for Readers' Favorite
The Other Side of Nam introduces the author Ike Travis, who grew up in the small town of Live Oak, California, consisting of about 2,000 people in the 1950s and 60s. His childhood was a simple one of outdoor adventure, camping, fishing, hunting, and playing around neighborhood farms, rivers, streams, and orchards. Living the typical life of a small-town boy, Ike worked at a gas station during his high school years and had great friends, girlfriends, and cousins. He bought a car from his cousin Kenny to run around with. Not too many worldly issues affected the town during this time until the war in Vietnam started. It was all anyone could talk about. It was inevitable that a young man would either get drafted or choose to enlist. Ike and his cousin Kenny decided to enlist together. Throughout this book, the reader will share accounts of Ike and Kenny's experiences, from basic training through to the end of each young man’s service.
Although The Other Side of Nam by Ike Travis is an autobiography, it reads like historical fiction. The text is well-written, easily followed, and engaging. The people and situations portrayed in the book are introduced and described to the reader in such a personal manner that one would think they were talking directly to the author himself. Travis allows his readers to experience all the aspects and timelines of his life. Thinking that this book would only be about the time he served in Vietnam, I was elated to read about other elements of Ike Travis’s life. These varied from growing up in a small town, family history, and relationships, to retirement later in life, with well-told adventures in between.