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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Vietnam has become a word synonymous with American failure, a lost cause that exhausted manpower and resources. Edgar Tiffany’s Audie Murphy in Saigon attests to this. The book is divided into his long essay accounts of his experiences as a medic during the Vietnam War. The second part is an anthology of fiction about the Women’s Amy Corps, a soldier-bodyguard, and stories set in Europe with Vietnam undertones handled with a surrealist effect. He draws from a myriad of resources that are carefully footnoted. Written from the point of view of a trained medic, his narrative is delivered with the uniqueness of the war that exhibits human agony and psychosis that draws readers into the pathology.
Numerous accounts of the Vietnam War experience have been written, so why another book? Audie Murphy in Saigon is a literary work serving as a springboard to engage readers in cultural criticism. As a witness and a voice, Tiffany discusses the motives that precipitated the war. His particular strength in writing about his experience is his allusion to mysteries in trying to make sense of it all. The story of a Women’s Army Corps member tending to a wounded soldier in whose wounds she found a likeness to Christ’s stigmata is, at best, a demonstration of making sense of an unsettling situation. It is Tiffany’s sense-making narrative with a partial guise of surrealism that superimposes the clarity of his Vietnam experience. This book is a stark and important reminder of why we need to look back at the path that America had once taken.