E. Franklin Evans
NOW AVAILABLE...Stand To...: A Young Man's Journey to Manhood During the Vietnam War   EFranklinEvans.com   The story of a young man who is awakened to the world around him when a tragic event propels him into his journey to manhood.

Reader Views (4/08)

Reviewed by Dr. Michael Philliber for Reader Views (4/08)

After someone has endured the harshness and horrifying fear of combat, they're left with memories. Some can only seem to deal with those memories through medications, others by suppressing them and being haunted by the ghosts in their dreams. E. Franklin Evans has confronted his memories head on by rehearsing many of them in his book "Stand To...: A Journey to Manhood."

 

This short book is his story, told in a manner that can be as easily grasped by a teenager as by an older adult. Though Evans could probably have recounted loads of hair-raising aspects of his tale, he has chosen to focus less on combat and more on the men he led and served with. The people one meets through Evans' account are in various ways humorously captivating, as well as believably human, whether it's the brand new Platoon Sergeant who picks up the radio receiver the wrong way and speaks into the back of it, to the Kit Carson scout who finds Evans' lost wedding band and returns it without asking for any reward. And, into this human mix is camaraderie between soldiers that grows and thrives.

 

The closest Evans gets to rehearsing his combat experience in detail is his recounting the highly stressful period he spent at the Ben Het Special Forces camp, A-244. This becomes the literary climax of his book. From the daily bombardment, to the nearly devastating, frightful siege on the camp by the North Vietnamese Army in February and March 1969, through the tense time when "friendly" Strike Force units held the American soldiers of camp A-244 hostage until their demands were met, the reader will keep turning the pages to find out how it all ends.

 

Evans has given the non-military world a readable account of the life-shaping episode of his time in Vietnam. He has even added a fairly helpful glossary at the end of the book to aid the reader in some of the unfamiliar Army lingo.

 

If a reader wants to have a first-hand glimpse into infantry life in Vietnam, they will not be disappointed in reading "Stand To..: A Journey to Manhood."

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