The Sandman's comin'.
Like an evening breeze in the rice, the Sandman could not be stopped. From the tepid rice paddies and steaming jungles came the one who made the soldiers sleep. This enigmatic persona and bane of the North Vietnamese as well as the American and South Vietnamese Forces again emerges after 30 years to describe the emotional journey that forged the psyche of a dreaded assassin and the dedicated ally of the Vietnamese who knew this special operations officer.
The Sandman in Vietnam, Essays on Engagements, presents a fresh perspective and provides critical insights on the Southeast Asian Campaigns in the Year of the Monkey-1968-and how those events continue to affect our lives and mold our society. The Sandman places the aloof accounts of military operations second to the emotional battles that were fought, lost, and seldom won.
The Sandman offers readers a view of the soldiers' paradox: Soldiers must-by military doctrine-do the impossible. Simultaneously, the soldier must deny the existence of emotion-that which spurs one to do the impossible. Here readers can experience the conflict and find themselves within reach of the highs and lows that only the combat soldiers know. As you read The Sandman, you will find yourself laughing till the tears run down your cheeks, then notice you are crying at the profound sadness.
Further, The Sandman offers the millions of family members and friends of these soldiers a frame of reference that helps them understand their sons, husbands, and lovers and how the experience of Southeast Asia affected their relationships. These readers, who have been dealing with the residual damage of Southeast Asia, can come to understand the basis for the soldiers' point of view, and the soldiers' methods for processing information.
This book reveals the legend of the Sandman. Arguably one of, if not the most, notorious and terrifying assassins of the Vietnam War. As with most legends this book presents sparkling kernels of truth interspersed in the miasma of fear and danger that was inspired through the embellishments of North and South Vietnamese as well as American soldiers. Yet today, the one who made the soldiers sleep has, with God's help, successfully beaten the sword into a plowshare and I am proud to call The Sandman friend-Maj. John M. Lonergan, M.D., 19th Special Forces Group, (Airborne).
The tale is told with the same haunting detachment that became the Sandman's cloak of survival, the details of The Sandman's Essays on Engagements burst from the page like the lethal spurts of an assault rifle. Then we glimpse, for just a moment, at that which is everywhere and nowhere-that which answered the Country's call--the 'intelligent vapor' that is the soul of the Sandman-Francie M. Dalton, International Management Consultant.
This thought-provoking book is not the McNamara version of 'winning the hearts and minds of the people.' Furthermore, not everyone will find The Sandman entertaining nor will they agree its underlying message, but not often does everyone agree with the truth. Some may not even believe it, but they won't be able to avoid thinking about it and what it means-J. Bruce Medaris, Lt. Col., Retired, USMA, West Point Class of 1959.