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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Bury Him, a Memoir of the VietNam War : My Review and a Guest Post by Captain Doug Chamberlain

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Book Title:  Bury Him: A Memoir of the Viet Nam War by Captain Doug Chamberlain
Category:  Non-Fiction (18 +),  348 pages
Genre:  Memoir, Biographies of the Marines
Publisher:  Love the West Publications LLC
Release date:   November 2019
Content Rating:  PG + M: Some scenes of the war, no bad language, no sex.

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“...His book recounts his agonized response to a direct order to 'bury' the remains of a fallen Marine in Vietnam...”
—John E. Brown, III
Past president of JBU, and former AR State Senator

I thought this is a very poignant true-to-life narration of a military man's experience of the Vietnam War and its after effects in the lives of those who fought in it.

'Bury him,'  that command from many years ago still resonates in his mind even after the war. Chamberlain has written a vivid personal story of his encounters in the battlefields of the Vietnam War. Every veteran soldier has his story to tell  and Chamberlain's memory of this particular event is seared deep in his conscience, a reason why it emotionally and mentally troubled him for a long time. For a fact, all soldiers who go to war are motivated by their ideals and appetite for heroism with confidence that the 'ultimate honor they will be given is the return of their remains to their families and their country no matter what and as they hold on to the military principle that no one will be left behind' . But to witness a country's betrayal point blank in the middle of the battlefield is 'most devastating and unthinkable not only for him but also for his fellow marines. Chamberlain makes us understand that horrific situations in war which soldiers have no control or jurisdiction whatsoever leave them helpless and broken. Such is the sad truth about war and the challenges that soldiers must face. These traumatic situations when left unforgiven and untreated can be what Chamberlain referred to as 'psychologically damaging' becoming the so called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that many soldiers have come to experience. 

One can't help help feel empathy towards his situation where it is true that only a few can understand the disorder as he admitted that he attempted to confide in one of his daughters but only to be dismissed. Even 'spiritual leaders who helped shaped his religious beliefs shunned him. It made him choose to believe that they did not understand the scope of what he was dealing with.'

He narrates that his 'feelings of inadequacy, sense of failure, and the intense shame that he felt constantly  made him struggle with thoughts of how meaningless his life has been because of the burial.' His personal struggle with PTSD and its effects in his life, I believe would be something many veterans can relate to and find some light. As Chamberlain shares that his years of public service helped him deal with PTSD and gave him the courage to continue saying, “It was what it was, and it is what it is.” Tomorrow is yet another day to continue on.

Doug Chamberlain gives us a profound insight into his life experiences so much affected by the memories of war. It also  allows us to better understand their humanity in view of their own personal struggles as they come to terms with themselves and the people around them.

Rating:  ✰✰✰✰✰

“I’m writing!  Really?”
by Doug Chamberlain

         Reading other author’s suggestions and comments about writing has been helpful for me.  Having to write research documents while in pursuit of my graduate degrees in Education has also been very helpful from the standpoint of clarity and construction.  However, when I put my manuscript out for readings, the input from the 14 individuals who agreed to do that was the most important in the final determinations leading to the completion of my book.
           The title of my book was very obvious to me because the primary subject had occupied so much of my mental processes through the tortuous one-half century of time after the event happened.  I had visualized the location of the internment site in flashbacks and dreams throughout what was a nightmare that was only interrupted by a personal regimen of constant work and pre-occupation.  From the time I decided to begin writing, there was never any doubt in my mind as to the title, as well as what I wanted the cover to look like.  However, in an astonishing revelation, one of my men who served under my command during the period of time covered in my memoirs gave me a picture of the burial site that he had kept for nearly 50 years.  That picture is the cover of my book.

          When I began writing, I was employed in the hazardous materials transportation business that required me to work 70 hours per week.  It gave me very little time to spend writing, but it provided me numerous hours to review and visualize mentally what I wanted to relate in the book and, to an extent, how I wanted to organize it.  After being injured in a hazardous waste accident, the eventual period of physical disability gave me the time to engage in extended periods of research and writing.  My writing space has always been on my dining table with plenty of room to distribute my materials next to two 5 foot by 8 foot windows that provide me a spacious view of the grasslands and foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming.

            My book now consists of both hard cover and soft cover printed versions and it is also available as an eBook.  My goal is to complete an audio version in the near future as soon as my financial position will allow it.  The soft cover and eBook versions are available on Amazon and the personalized, signed hard cover version is available on my website, 

Meet the Author:

Doug Chamberlain, the grandson of homesteaders in eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska, grew up with the "country values" instilled in him in the rural environment of a very small community. Even though there were only 10 students in his high school graduating class, several of his classmates pursued careers, public service, and military service that took them to various locations around the world. His rural values and the foundational reinforcement of those values at the University of Wyoming and John Brown University proved to be tested in their entirety when he became a Marine Infantry Officer in the Viet Nam War. His life changing experiences in that war proved to haunt him during his search to solve a mystery that spanned 50 years...and Bury Him details the sordid facts and the horrible truth that had eluded him.

Connect with the author:    website ~ facebook


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