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Reviewed by Maria Victoria Beltran for Readers' Favorite
A Bloodied Tapestry: The American War in Vietnam from a Civilian War Veteran's Perspective by JanStephen James Cavanaugh, Ph.D. is a moving autobiographical account of a civilian volunteer during the Vietnam War. His story was reconstructed from personal journals written during his time in South Vietnam from 1967 to 1969. As a young boy growing up in a farmhouse in Ontario, Canada, JanStephen, the oldest son in an Irish/French Catholic family, was supposed to be a farmer. However, his desire to become a priest brought him to Illinois, USA where he enrolled in undergraduate studies for the priesthood in the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America-Maryknoll. On graduation, he experienced a crisis of faith and was asked to take some time out to reflect on his vocation. He then joined the IVS and was sent to Vietnam. This is his story.
JanStephen James Cavanaugh’s A Bloodied Tapestry is a poignant memoir that gives readers a different perspective on the Vietnam War. Anyone interested to know what went on behind the scenes during the war should not miss this book. His reminiscences are not typical war stories but honest recollections of daily life and events of a civilian volunteer living in a village in South Vietnam at the height of the hostilities. It is also a social commentary on the horrors of war and a call to end the inhumanity of these armed conflicts and usher in the anticipated age of peace. This is a first-person account of what it was like to be in a war zone in Vietnam and is a heart-wrenching tale. Well-written and realistic, it is a highly recommended read.