A Marine StoryUnknown - 2009
Jack McLean was not the average Vietnam grunt. Raised in suburban New Jersey, he attended the esteemed Phillips Andover Academy alongside George W. Bush, all the while pursuing a predictably privileged path. Nearing graduation in the spring of 1966, however, McLean decided on a different direction. At a time when his classmates were making plans to attend the country's most elite colleges, McLean was more interested in taking a break. Since there was a compulsory draft, he decided on the Marines, given their brief two-year obligation. Few at the time gave Vietnam a thought. It was still considered a country and not a war. From his first night at the Marine Corps boot camp at Parris Island, McLean felt circumstances begin to outstrip his ability to deal with them. During the ensuing year, while serving in stateside duty stations, he acutely observed the growing changes between his new life and the lives of his former classmates, who were increasingly caught up in the campus antiwar movement. The Vietnam War had escalated from the moment of McLean's enlistment, and by the summer of 1967, any hope of remaining stateside diminished as every available marine was retrained in the infantry and sent to Vietnam. Nothing, however, could have prepared McLean for the horror of Landing Zone Loon: The battle took place over three days in June 1968 on a remote hill tucked into the border of North Vietnam and Laos. On a long knoll with little relief from the pounding sun and no cover from the lurking enemy, McLean and his company endured a relentless artillery and ground assault that would kill twenty-seven men, wound nearly one hundred others, and leave several dozen survivors to defend an ever-shrinking perimeter with little water or ammo. McLean returned home weeks later to a country that was ambivalent to his service. Having applied to college from a foxhole the previous fall, he became the first Vietnam veteran to attend Harvard University. Written with honesty and thoughtful insight,Loonis a powerful coming-of-age portrait of a privileged boy who bears witness, through an extraordinary perspective, to some of the most tumultuous events in our history, both in Vietnam and back home. From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, c2009.
Edition: First edition
Branch Call Number: 959.7043 MCLEAN J
Characteristics: ix, 240 pages ; 22 cm.
From the critics