Wednesday 20 May 2020

A Long Way Back

Finished May 6
A Long Way Back by J. Everett Prewitt

This Vietnam War novel takes a bit of a different look at things. A young married black man, Anthony Edwards, a reporter for the Washington Post, is sent to Vietnam during the war for a short period to get a few stories. Just after Anthony arrives, he sees something that grabs his attention: a small group of black soldiers, coming in from the field on a helicopter. One is badly injured and the rest look like they've been through hell. He wants to know their story, but finds himself stymied at every turn. He was lucky enough to have the foresight to take a photo of them, and this helps him work towards the story. While he is in Vietnam, he gets permission to be embedded with a group of soldiers on a mission, something recommended to him by another, more seasoned, reporter. This experience is a harrowing one, and something that changes him forever.
His wife can tell from his letters that something has changed for him, and when he returns home, he finds himself behaving in ways that he isn't comfortable with, nor is his wife. As he reaches out for help to old friends who've also been overseas, he also finds himself drawn back to the story of the black soldiers that he saw and finds renewed enthusiasm for following up the leads that he has, especially as someone is sending him more clues for this secretive story.
This is a novel of war, of the effects on me, of the way that those in power can take retribution on those without power, and on race. As we get to know the various black soldiers that make up this hidden story, we find men who come from a variety of backgrounds, and who have a variety of ways of dealing with what they encounter. This is a disturbing story, but also one of men working towards a common goal, both in the war, and on home ground.

No comments:

Post a Comment