15.3.12

Well done, those men

I borrowed Well done, those men by Barry Heard, after it won Our Story for Victoria for the National Year of Reading. I was so glad I did.

This is not a sophisticated review of what happened to young Australians who were sent to the Vietnam War and came home again to a very different place. This is the simple story of one conscript, told without fanfare and 'like it is.'

Barry Heard was not long out of high school, when his birthday was called and he was conscripted for service in the Australian Army. At first, his duty seemed straightforward enough, training, training and more training. But then, everything changed, for him and all those who were sent to Vietnam and who came home after their horrifying experiences, to a nation that didn't understand and who quite often ostracised them for doing their duty.

My heart broke in many places, but I am satisfied that I read it. I can't say pleased or glad, because I could never be happy with reading what those men went through and are still going through to this day. But I now have a better understanding of what it was and I am glad to know that the support for Vietnam vets is first quality in this day and age.

If you want to get a better understanding of this era of Australian history, from the side of those who fought, then I highly recommend this book. It not only shows the war from someone in the thick of it, but also our nation and its people in the 60s, 70s and beyond. Even if you have no interest in these things, I still recommend this as a highly insightful and important book to read.

Barry has done an amazing job of voicing the experiences of these men and after reading it all I can say to all our vets (and their amazing families) is "Well done, those men."

Michelle

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