What happens when a bunch of murderous gringos are let loose on a third-world country? The country is Vietnam and the war has escalated into a technological bloodbath. Lyndon Johnson is in the White House and each night on the network news programmes Americans watch their soldiers returning in their thousands in plastic body bags. In Vietnam, Lieutenant Lopez, a twenty-three-year-old American of Mexican origin, has volunteered for a tour of duty to escape not the cocoon of privilege his adoptive parents have wrapped him in but a personal tragedy in which he is implicated. Lopez has been assigned to a remote border camp defended by a US Special Forces team and by Vietnamese irregulars. At first he regards the war as a personal penance, but is gradually forced out of his self-pity to become aware of the brainless brutality, bleak cynicism and injustice which swirl around him. Lopez starts to shed his layers of acquired identity and culture and begins to go native.
“The best Vietnam novel which everyone should read” INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY