November 17, 2009
From Ron Jacobs’s “No More Star-Spangled Eyes” at Counterpunch:
Author and antiwar organizer Beverly Gologorsky wrote a book a couple years ago titled Things We Do To Make It Home. This book was recently released in paperback by Seven Stories Press. It is a beautifully wrought story of a group of Vietnam veterans, their lovers, families and friends set in the 1990s. Twenty years after their return from the jungles of Nam the world they live in is still littered with the veterans’ experience in combat. Like so many of their real-life comrades, the men in the story have left much damage in their wake… There is no blame here, despite the desire to find somewhere to place the despair and anger resulting from the demons that define the lives these men have lived. The women who have loved them despite their better sense, the hopelessness the men hide with drugs and alcohol and the children who wonder where there father really is even when he’s sitting in the same room are portrayed with an emotional and spiritual depth the reader won’t find in newspaper reports about veteran suicides and PTSD statistics. There isn’t a lot of hope in this novel, despite the optimism voiced by some of its characters. These are men who know they were screwed and can’t seem to figure out how to get past the war they were sent to fight. Nonetheless, they go on living life as best as they can while often unaware of the pain they cause–a pain directly related to the guilt they feel because of the injury they caused to those their commanders called the enemy while fighting Washington’s war.
I had another friend named Loren. Like so many others, he was drafted into the Army against his will. When he got his orders to go to Vietnam, he took a truck from the motor pool where he worked and ran it through several gates and a couple of parked cars in the Officer’s Club parking lot at the Colorado Army base he was stationed… After reading Things We Do To Make It Home, one wishes once again that more soldiers would follow Loren’s example and just refuse to fight.