Frenchy's Whore

Hill 522 Vietnam War

Non-Fiction - Military
192 Pages
Reviewed on 08/22/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite

Frenchy's Whore: Hill 522 Vietnam War by Purple Heart recipient Vernon E Brewer is a compelling look inside the author's Vietnam-related experiences, before, during, and after. We who have never been to war can only learn so much from the media or history books. These are first-hand accounts from the soldiers who lived it, telling the real story. Brewer takes you into the world in a visceral way, and you feel for the soldiers, and others caught up in the Vietnam War, what led up to it, and its aftermath. This could not have been an easy book for the author to write, but I'm glad he did because it serves as both a riveting autobiography and a history lesson. One can only hope that writing it has helped him and others grapple with the emotional, physical, and psychological fallout.

I like that Brewer isn't out to lambast the war or those who fought in it, as some war writers do, but writes about his own experiences and viewpoint. It's so interesting to hear the thought processes and opinions of those who lived it. For example, he explains that the culture of smoking marijuana and being anti-establishment wafted into the military as well. Brewer has an uncanny ability to take you into the setting he's describing, making you feel as if you're there following them around as an observer or reporter. He is skilled at filling your senses and imagination with literary, descriptive details. For example, "At dawn, the men of Wilson's two platoons moved silently off the summit, passing pillars of mist drifting near the trail like ghosts of other wars." His lovely use of language translates the horrors of war in an effective, powerful way. One part that will stay with me from now on is when he was fighting and he had to suppress and reframe what civilized American culture had taught him: "You don't hit your sister. You do not harm your fellow students. You don't hurt other people. But you must kill your enemy." He wastes no time getting into the story. You are there within the first pages and will be hooked until the closing lines. As a reviewer, I read many books a year, but Frenchy's Whore by Vernon E Brewer is one of my personal favorites.