Reviewed by Deepak Menon for Readers' Favorite
Bruce D Johnson's 10 Cents and a Silver Star is an extraordinary narration of what soldiers encountered during the traumatic war in Vietnam, and after. From the very beginning of this momentous story, perhaps as momentous as Joseph Heller’s Catch 22, tossing convention out of the window, the author lays bare the scars indelibly imprinted on the psyches of soldiers thrown into the quagmire of a war in Vietnam that was not theirs to fight, by a government devoid of emotion and values. The citation for the Silver Star Johnson received reads: “...distinguished himself by extraordinary heroic achievement and conspicuous gallantry in action, beyond the call of duty." Johnson has no idea to which gallantry the citation refers.
The trauma continues after he returns home. The entire process of repatriation is superbly described, keeping the reader riveted to the pages, sometimes smiling, sometimes aggravated, and sometimes bewildered as to exactly what the returning soldier thinks when he acts and reacts in incomprehensible ways. Johnson then ‘sardonically’ describes many events, most related in some way to the Silver Star medal he received, much aggravated by the effect of PTSD suffered by him including the freakish way he gets married and makes it big in the business arena, all the while without an inkling of what he is doing.
While this book, for obvious reasons, is not recommended for reading by minors, any reader will love reading about all the events. The pace of the book is excellent. The style of narration is original, the plot even more so, developing perfectly as the reader goes along. The cover of the book is simple and indicative of the settings it has been written about, evoking curiosity. Bruce D. Johnson has written a completely original and penetrating perspective of America’s involvement in the war in Vietnam. A good story; I loved reading it. This book deserves a bright 5 stars for being a fine book and an addition to original prose as the mirror of its times in its genre.