Vietnam: Our Stories
Kevin Childs and Ken Foster
Melbourne, Wilkinson Publishing, 2019
Paperback 240pp RRP $39.99
Reviewer: Mike O’Brien, February 2020
This is a collection of stories of the war by its Australian participants assembled under the banner of the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia. It is a timely anthology that gives unvarnished views.
The contributors include those from (please excuse acronyms) AATTV, RAAF ADGs, Army Int Corps, RA Sigs, RAAC, RAInf, RACMP, RAN Clearance Divers, RAAF radio specialists, RAN Helicopter Flight, RAAF Helicopter Squadrons (several articles), RAEME, voluntary civilian nurses, RAAMC, AACC, RAAF pilots and RAE. This is its greatest value: telling the stories that would otherwise have remained unrecorded.
There are just a few brief biographies of the authors: the book would have been greatly improved if the experience of all its writers were revealed.
The book has several shortcomings. It needed to have better proofreading (eg Ho Chi Min, Royal Australian Army, Service Corp). Its layout is awkward: ‘leading’ – the distance between the lines of print is uncomfortable for the reader. The margins around the text are not well balanced and the text is not fully justified. Despite these, the book is an engaging and worthwhile addition to our library.