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