Book Review: Stay Out of the Wheat Field
A Book by Diego Rayle
Stay Out of the Wheat Field by Diego Rayle is a thought-provoking, yet disturbing account of what it was like to fight in the Vietnam War, and to be a veteran coming back from such a horrific event.
The book opens in the present day lives of Vietnam Veterans struggling to live under the memory of the war. In an effort to put the memories behind them the characters tell recollections of the war.
In these recollections it is revealed that the Vietnam War was badly managed by the government. Many of the GI’s were scheduled for a one year tour of duty, and given the attitude of the men to serve their time and leave mixed with the fear of becoming too attached to fellow soldiers this left very little room for creating a cohesive team able to fight the Viet Cong.
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But really, can you blame the soldiers? Many of them were young men taken from their lives, families, dreams of finishing college, and robbed of their youth. The Vietnam War was a rich, white man’s war. It was the poorer youth that were forced into battle, and a large percentage of those youth were African and Latino Americans. During the time of the Vietnam War people of color were still fighting battles at home for freedom, and the idea of fighting a war that was in the name of democracy and peace was an oxymoron at best.
The CIA also pumped high-grade heroin into Vietnam to fund a secret war in Laos. This heroin found its way to American Soldiers, which meant that after the war many veterans would be battling with detox.
If you want to know the truth about the Vietnam war, and the struggles of Veterans with drug addiction, PTSD, and not to mention the physical effects of the biological chemicals used in the war then Stay Out of the Wheat Field is an excellent start. However, be prepared to be horrified by the racist mind-washing of the US in a time of constant fear, which allowed the countless slaughter of innocent citizens under the popular motto pinned on the death of US soldiers, VC soldiers, and innocent citizens alike: “It Don’t Mean Nothin’.
The book is available at Amazon.
Robin Coe is a journalist and author. She wrote the fantasy novel "Fly on the Wall" and graphic novel "Illustrated Book of Wrath".