American Boys

The True Story of the Lost 74 of the Vietnam War

Non-Fiction - Military
452 Pages
Reviewed on 11/05/2014
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Louise Esola is a Southern California-based freelance journalist. Over the past 16 years she has worked for award-winning newspapers and magazines in Southern California, Chicago, and the Washington, D.C. metro area, covering business, government, the military, and features. Early in her career she worked as a stringer for the Associated Press and most recently, San Diego Union Tribune as a freelancer. As former commentator for the North County Times in San Diego, her weekly column ran for five years and was a favorite in a community that serves over a million residents.
Throughout her career Esola worked for newspapers close to large military bases, where she wrote about casualties who fought the War on Terrorism and the Iraq War from the living rooms of the grieving families. Esola has covered Marines in training, the plight of families of fighting men and women, the injured and those still suffering from ailments, not limited to post-traumatic stress disorder. She spent most of her career covering the nation’s largest military community, from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton to Naval Base San Diego. She is a journalist whose best work has been centered on putting a face on tragedy by way of storytelling
American Boys is her first book.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers' Favorite

American Boys: The True Story of the Lost 74 of the Vietnam War, written by Louise Esola, is a non-fiction book about the fate of the USS Frank E. Evans and its crew. It is a profound look at the personal stories of the men who sank with the ship in a 1969 disaster that the US Navy would rather forget. In November 1982, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was unveiled in Washington. Erected through the efforts of Jack Scruggs, a Vietnam War veteran himself, part of the program is to read the 57,939 names of American soldiers who perished in Vietnam. Ann, whose brother perished with the ship, followed the news about the memorial and through her connections volunteered to read a section of names of the Vietnam dead. To her surprise, her brother’s name, along with the other victims of the sinking of the USS Evans, were not on the list that she would have read aloud at a lectern in the National Cathedral. This is their story.

Louise Esola's book, American Boys: The True Story of the Lost 74 of the Vietnam War, is the untold story of American sailors who perished with the USS Frank E. Evans. Putting together the stories of these 74 men is a remarkable feat, not only because this entailed a lot of research but also because the sinking of the ship is a disaster that the US Navy would rather bury in oblivion. It would have taken a great amount of passion and empathy for the author to come up with the idea of this book, let alone setting out to write it. As the United States of America found itself on the losing end of the Vietnam War, protests broke out in the country, American boys were drafted in an unpopular war and the country was counting its dead. Those who sank with the USS Evans were not even counted as casualties of the Vietnam War and this indignity drove Louise Esola to let the public know the story of each of those who lost their lives in the sinking of this ship. The result is a compelling story of despair, determination, love, injustice and reconciliation that gives tribute where it is long overdue.

Luanne Reilly Oda

GREAT book, a must read for all Americans!