Rock 'n' Roll Soldier
Publication Date: September 2009
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"During a time when none of us knew for sure if we would live or die, I came to know the true power of music."
Dean Kohler is about to make it big—he's finally scored a national record deal! But his dreams are abruptly put on hold by the arrival of his draft notice. Now he's in Qui Nhon, Vietnam, serving as a military policeman. He keeps telling himself he's a musician, not a killer, and that he's lucky he's not fighting on the front lines. When Captain orders him to form a rock band, it's up to Dean to find instruments and players, pronto. Ingenuity and perseverance pay off and soon the band is traveling through treacherous jungle terrain to perform for troops in desperate need of an escape—even if it's only for three sets. And for Dean—who lives with death, violence, and the fear that anyone could be a potential spy (even his Vietnamese girlfriend)—the band becomes the one thing that gets him through the day. During one of the most controversial wars in recent American history, this incredible true story is about music and camaraderie in the midst of chaos.
Susan VanHecke is a journalist, coauthor of Roadwork: Rock & Roll Turned Inside Out and Three Steps to Heaven: The Eddie Cochran Story, and author of Race with the Devil: Gene Vincent's Life in the Fast Lane, which was adapted into an award-winning screenplay.