Were troops in Vietnam sacrificial lambs led to the slaughter by an ungrateful nation? Mere cannon fodder? Perhaps. But after reading A Passing of Innocence, Vietnam veterans and their families -- all Americans who cherish patriotic values -- will stand taller. Although written as fiction, this novel is based on the author's tour of duty as a Marine in Vietnam in 1968.
A Passing of Innocence is about camaraderie in Vietnam. Americans fought and died for one another day in and day out in Vietnam. After every firefight, life took on a quality that only those who have faced death could fathom. The air smelled fresher; water, when it was available, tasted sweeter.
Chip Daniels is the main character in this novel. He adjusts to warfare in Vietnam after his first firefight, one in which only nine Marines from a platoon of fifty-five walked out of. The paradoxical twists of war become ingrained in him from day one. The nicest guy you would ever want to meet back in the 'World,' Chip becomes exactly what the Marine Corps intended--a killer. Yet he often contemplates why, while carrying a small Bible in his jungle fatigues, he is capable of killing dozens of North Vietnamese troops without batting an eye.
The novel is packed with action: quaking artillery, rocket, and mortar barrages; eerie night ambushes, and intense firefights from beginning to end. On the first page of the first chapter, Chip is pounded to the mud by NVA rockets while at the Rockpile. Chip, along with his fellow grunts in India Company, 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, slug it out with the NVA at Ca Lu, Khe Sanh, Con Thien, and in the treacherous DMZ. The majority of his tour is simply spent in the bush, having little idea on what unnamed hill he may be fighting his last battle. A Passing of Innocence is highly realistic, intense, and an exceptionally fast read.