By Phillip Jennings
(Forge Books, Hardcover, 9780765311207, 352pp.)
Publication Date: February 10, 2005
Other Editions of This Title: Mass Market Paperback
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Everybody knows War is Hell. Only the Few and the Proud know what fun Hell can be.
Here it is, folks: "How the cow ate the cabbage" in the CLASSIFIED words of the President hisself [sic]. TOP SECRET stuff. EYES ONLY. If you want to know the real story (and you know you do)-
Nam-A-Rama is Catch 22 meets "Apocalypse Now." It's the wildest, wackiest, saddest and truest war story ever told, because it's all made-up, which means it's all real-from the oatmeal dropped on the VC (the Marines won't eat it) to the naked movie star parachuting into Hanoi; from the jarhead who calls in air strikes from a Bangkok brothel to the "Sky-Kyke" who fills out the Marine Corps' diversity quota; from the businessmen demanding a long inventory-reducing war to the Pentagon brass hoping for a glorious medal-worthy one; from the locals who'll do anything for a Yankee dollar to the grunts nobody ever asked and never will.
It starts and ends, like all the best adventures, in the air. Almost-Captain Gearheardt and his buddy, Almost-Captain Armstrong, are ferrying bodies (live in, dead out) for the CIA's Air America, but they have never forgotten their TOP SECRET orders, given when Gearheardt was delivering pizzas to the Oval Office for the CIA: Chopper into Hanoi and buy Uncle Ho a beer. Then either shoot his ass or shake his hand (the instructions get vague at this point).
And so they do, Semper Fi, pausing only to get an aircraft carrier black-flagged for bubonic plague, have an affair with Mickey Mouse, cleverly decode the message sewn into a lusty spy's black panties, commandeer a Russian truck complete with a midget Chinese 'Uncle Sam,' avenge themselves on a Cuban torturer, and dutifully experience all the Honor and Glory of the next-to-the-next-to-last war that never (God forbid) made the Nightly News.
And they do it all for laughs. Because if they were to stop laughing, where would the heartache end?
Phillip Jennings' unpredictable novel of Vietnam is an American classic in the making, a not-so-longing look at the absurdity of a war in which the damned and the innocent share the same hootch, the same Commander-in-Chief, and sometimes even the same body-bag. You won't stop laughing, or thinking.
Phillip Jennings left the Marines as a captain and subsequently flew for Air America in Laos. He won the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society short fiction award in 1998. He has a degree in business administration and is the CEO of Mayfair Capital Partners. He was recently proud and honored to swear his youngest son into the USMC. He lives in Kirkland, WA.