The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

WoWasis Vietnam book review: Nelson DeMille’s ‘Word of Honor’

Written By: herbrunbridge - Jun• 16•13

WordOfHonorDeMilleIf you’re a U.S. citizen, when you visit Vietnam, you may be pleasantly surprised at the lack of animosity. After all, the Yanks tore up the country and killed a lot of people. Just how badly things go haywire under combat conditions in Vietnam is a story that sets the table for Nelson DeMille’s epic novel Word of Honor (1985, ISBN 13-978-0-446-30158-9). The underlying story is that of a massacre of civilians and NVA wounded at a hospital. Years after the war ended, the untold story is revealed in a book, setting in motion the court martial trial of the American commanding officer.

This 738 page book is a thriller from beginning to end, as individual honor, betrayal, and immorality are laid bare in the courtroom. The author himself was a lieutenant that served in Vietnam, and we here at WoWasis can’t figure out how anyone who hadn’t served in combat conditions could have expressed the chaos in the heat of conflict so well. But where DeMille’s writing really shines is in his reporting of the courtroom scenes, which kept us on the edge of our seat for several nights as we raced to reach the final chapters. DeMille’s great at dialogue and describing individual relationships, in particular between protagonist Ben Tyson and his attorney, and Tyson and several female figures, including his wife.

This is a remarkable piece of writing, and has global appeal. It’s a must-read in particular for people interested in legal situations, Vietnam, and war crimes. Highly recommended. Buy this book now at the WoWasis eStore.

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