Vietnam War Book Review a 4-Stars Rate!

Review of Vietnam War Recall authored by Michael J Contos at Contoveros.wordpress.com

Post by Kansas City Teacher 

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of “Vietnam War Recall”

Like many other young men of the time, author Michael Contos found himself in the military, headed to a turbulent region of the world to protect democracy. After completing Officer Candidate School, Michael was deployed to Vietnam to lead a platoon of infantrymen on missions while evading the formidable Viet Cong forces. Here, he describes the worst day of his life that led to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a debilitating condition that would threaten to consume his life and linger for decades; a day so jarring that he would not talk about, even with his family.

Upon returning home, his experiences in combat haunt him, so he seeks the help of spiritual leaders to help relieve the symptoms of PTSD. The story is told in the first person through flashbacks, introspect, and excerpts from the author’s blog. Through the narration, readers get a glimpse into the personal turmoil that many of our veterans face after combat.

The best part of this book is the intimate and emotional description of PTSD; a young leader, not afforded time to grieve or debrief from his experiences, lives with the nightmares, flashbacks, and anxiety that seem to permeate every facet of his life. These intense feelings are captured clearly by the author. I also love the way the daily humdrum of military life is portrayed, and the descriptions sure bring back memories for this veteran. The cadences, the euphoric feeling when you realize your parachute is perfect, and the anticipation of the return to the United States (DEROS) is very real indeed! A little humor, typical of military camaraderie, is also peppered into the pages of the story; I had to chuckle when I read about some familiar but important advice: never crap alone in the field!

Although the messages are powerful, the book does seem a bit repetitive at times. Other than this, there is nothing negative to say about the story, its purpose and voice are truly a gift to an audience who does not truly understand the realities of war and its crippling effects on our young servicemen, not only the ones who gave their lives but also those who returned bearing unseen scars. I happily give Vietnam Recall: The Best and Worst Days of My Life 4 out of 4 stars for these reasons. The book appears professionally edited and is divided into chapters of appropriate length.

I particularly recommend this book to readers who love historical accounts of war and those who seek insight from a primary source about mental illness. Those with family members in the military will appreciate the insightful glimpse into the psyche of those who have chosen to defend our way of life. There is some moderate profanity, along with explicit descriptions of trauma and wartime peril; those sensitive to these topics may not want to read the book. For all others, the book is a penetrating account of one man’s journey towards healing and peace. All who read this story will undoubtedly be moved by the author’s gipping words as he relives the most difficult moments of his life. He speaks for the countless others, who remain silent.

******
Vietnam War Recall
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon

14 comments on “Vietnam War Book Review a 4-Stars Rate!

  1. LaDonna Remy says:

    Congratulations Michael. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. contoveros says:

    The following are comments shared on Facebook about the review published above:

    Andrea Hornett
    C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S !!

    Michael J Contos
    Thanks. It looks good in print!
    So do you, come to think about . . .
    ———————-
    Janet Mather
    I wish I had been so articulate! Wonderful review!

    Michael J Contos
    You are perfect just the way you are!
    Thanks . . .
    ———————
    Elena Jarosz
    Applause (Hands capping!)

    Michael J Contos
    thanks for the hands clapping!
    ———————-
    Martha Bush
    THUMBS UP

    Michael J Contos
    Best thumbs up I’ve seen this week!
    ———————
    Cliff Cutler
    Terrific Michael. Finished your book last week. Being of the same generation was very helpful.

    Michael J Contos
    I’m glad you could appreciate it and share your thoughts!
    ——————-
    Patty Kline Capaldo
    Wonderful review!
    Congratulations

    Michael J Contos
    Yeah, I got a lot of encouragement from you guys to hang in there with our writing. Feels good to get positive feedback.

    Patty Kline Capaldo,
    can we throw a book signing party for you?

    Michael J Contos
    Yeah, why not?
    I have no idea what that would be like, but what the hell. Let’s go for it!

    Patty Kline Capaldo
    Cool! I’ll email you and we can work out the details.

    Michael J Contos
    Please do. Thanks!
    ——————-
    Rose DeLone
    Nice!

    Michael J Contos
    Thanks. We’re still waiting on your memoirs.
    ————————
    Regina Precise
    I’m happy for you congratulations, you know your book would make a good Christmas present

    Michael J Contos
    You got it. I’ll pass one into Nick in a few weeks!
    —————————
    Terri Kiral
    Michael, this is so wonderful. Well-deserved. I am crying happy tears for you.

    Michael J Contos

    Terri Kiral
    I feel your warmth and your joy. Writing has made me so happy to have friends like you who appreciate our efforts!

    Calliope Joy
    You always are a STAR… and I believe you are the only Contoveros who went into the service unless your brothers did…·

    Michael J Contos
    My brother George signed up for the army and spent 22 years as an enlisted man.
    I learned only recently that he had died of Agent Orange which he received while serving in Vietnam as a combat engineer.

    Calliope Joy
    WOW, a career man. How old was George when he passed?

    Michael J Contos
    George was only 55 years old. Way too young.
    My mom and dad both lived until age 78, some 20 years apart.

    Calliope Joy
    yes too, too young. How much older was your father from your mother?

    Michael J Contos
    Twenty years older.
    They met at the New York World’s Fair while he was working as a chef in the British Pavilion.

    Calliope Joy
    Wow, same as my father was 20 years older than my mother. Father died at 82 in 1998, mother died at 78 in 2010

    Michael J Contos
    You got good genes!

    Calliope Joy
    As do you!

    ————————
    Amy Nora Doyle MacLeod
    Congrats on this fabulous review. Of course, your book will be well received – a heart willing to share an intimate truth-telling of the horrors too many experienced and written with professional skills.
    Thank you for all you gave and endured – including coming back home to all of us who had/have no clue!

    Michael J Contos
    Most veterans I know who faced combat don’t glorify war and we hope no one would ever have to go into battle anymore.…
    ———————-
    Dolores Lukomski
    Likes you, respects you and appreciates your service and sacrifice to keep people like me safe at home.

    Michael J Contos
    Glad to have served and glad that it’s over!
    ————————-
    Frances Eberwine Holod
    THANKS FOR YOUR SERVICE. WE WERE JUST DOWN IN VIRGINIA FOR THE TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER AND BROTHER JIM PLACED A WREATH ON IT FOR A VIETNAM VET. IT WAS WONDERFUL TO BE THERE AND WATCH SOME FRIENDS LAYING THE WREATH AND RAISING MONEY FOR THE MEMORIAL FOR THIS SOLDIER IN ATLANTIC CITY. I WILL SEND THE LINK TO YOU IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE SOME OF THE PICTURES.

    Michael J Contos
    Our generation will never forget our fallen soldiers. Even those we may not yet know of their identity. I lost my dog tags in the war zone and I don’t know how they could have identified my remains with no dental work done in the army.
    Let me know more about the link you mentioned.
    Thanks!

    Frances Eberwine Holod
    SITE FOR THE MEMORIAL.

    Michael J Contos
    Thanks again!
    Frances Eberwine Holod
    ON MONDAY THE 25TH JIM AND CHERIE HAVE BY INVITATION GONE TO THE SHIP THAT BROUGHT HOME THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER IN PHILADELPHIA

    Michael J Contos
    I salute all of them!
    Thank you.
    ———————
    Frank Warner
    Mike, you deserve a 21-gun salute for the book, like the salute you got from your men. You did your duty and did it well.
    I was struck by your description, on that ‘worst day,’ of the wounded soldier screaming until you looked at him and then screaming again when you looked away. It shows the faith these guys put in their lieutenants, and yes, reflects the faith that children place in their parents.

    I remember you saying, years ago, how the Animals’ ‘We Gotta Get Out of This Place‘ was such a popular song in Vietnam. Now I understand that better.

    By the way, your book mentions the movie ‘Captain Newman M.D.‘ with Gregory Peck starring as an Army psychiatrist. I was a 10-year-old living there in Fort Huachuca when they filmed the movie. I didn’t see Gregory Peck, but I did see a crew filming part of the Eddie Albert suicide scene at the water tower. Albert wasn’t there at the time; the crew threw a dummy off the tower to get the crowd reaction below.

    Great book, Mike. You put your heart and soul into it. May you never have to drink an air-dropped Fanta soda!

    Michael J Contos
    Fanta soda sucked then and it still sucks today.

    Yeah, when that young soldier, who incidentally had only joined our platoon that day, stopped crying when I spoke to him as his commanding officer, I felt a connection to ease the pain long enough for him to hear me and take in the fact that help was in its way to medivac him out of there.
    You don’t have to have faced a battle to show what horrors stay with some people who saw combat. The movie “Captain Newman M.D.” captured it. I had forgotten the part played by Eddie Albert and am concerned for the vets from our latest wars who are dealing with the trauma.
    Thanks for the salute, you old Nader’s Raider good buddy.

    ———————-
    Ron Landsel
    Thanks Michael.
    Michael J Contos
    I ain’t gonna study war no more
    ” was the refrain I seem to recall a bunch of veterans sang at a meditation retreat.
    Sound familiar?
    It should be a guiding principle for all veterans of all wars!

    Like

  3. What a GREAT review! Fantastic. I’m also so happy for you. Becoming a published author is no small thing, but putting your story out there is incredible. And what an amazing story it is. Thank you for sharing it.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Mike sangiacomo says:

    Nice work Mike. You never talked about those days when we were at the newspaper, we didn’t push. Look forward to reading it. Mike

    Liked by 2 people

    • contoveros says:

      Yeah, I never brought the war up except with some veterans who I covered for The Mercury newspaper.

      I remember a few old-timers from Pottstown. They were members of what was called the “Last Man’s Club.” It was a small group of World War I veterans who had purchased a very expensive bottle of wine. The man who lived the longest got to drink the bottle in memory of his comrades.

      Never did a follow-up to the late 1970s story but always wondered who was the winner . . .

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Michael – congratulations are in order for publishing, for sharing these years of your life with us. Telling the story is vital to the healing, something I know you worked long and hard to find (and I am sure continues to this day) … Peter

    Liked by 2 people

    • contoveros says:

      Yes, writing is therapeutic and there is a healing process that takes place as you well know.
      It only took me 50 years to get it out of my system and into a book form. It feels good to have finally completed the mission.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Michael – So many thoughts reading this, but one just came up I should share – page 113 – between those “butter bars” were the blank lines of the pages yet to be written in your life. We can never know the meaning until the ink fills our pages …

        Liked by 1 person

        • contoveros says:

          Who knows what – – – – lurks in the hearts of man?

          Yes, there could be something more to write about. As one of my mother’s favorite crooners – Al Jolson – once said: “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”

          Liked by 1 person

          • Keep going! Your writing style reflects your time in journalism, and putting yourself “out there” I’m sure has created a mirror for you to reflect on. I know I’ve used the term Bodhisattva before. After reading this, it appears you gave up much to protect the souls in your charge then, and still. I think your platoon putting on their own salute shows their understanding of this … You’ve given much, and deserve much!

            Liked by 1 person

            • contoveros says:

              I am honored and humbled by your kind words.

              You try to do your best and hope for guidance along the path and sometimes it comes in the form of a fellow blogger like yourself.

              Thanks my good friend!

              Liked by 1 person

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