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Daniel

1 rating: 4.0
A book by Keith Yocum

On Jan. 17, 1972, during some of the darkest days of the Vietnam War, an American soldier walked out of the jungle and onto an isolated US Army firebase in the Central Highlands. The stranger had no identification, was in good health and otherwise seemed … see full wiki

Author: Keith Yocum
Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing, LLC
1 review about Daniel

A powerful and haunting tale of the Vietnam War

  • Oct 18, 2010
Rating:
+4
Dateline Vietnam 1972, US Army Firebase Martha located in the jungles of the central highlands. When an unidentified stranger, clearly bewildered, confused and disoriented, makes his way out of the night-time Vietnamese jungles and into the security perimeter of the firebase, it seems that only the grace of God kept the sentries from obeying their standing orders and shooting him down. Although he was clearly a white American, investigation into his background was unable to disclose whether he was civilian or soldier, lost or a wandering deserter, faker or a shell-shocked sufferer from post-traumatic stress syndrome. Some of the men on the base even came to see Daniel as a lucky charm or perhaps a guardian angel sent by a watchful God to look over them as they realized they were about to be overrun by the massing Viet Cong.

When I initially reviewed the opening chapters submitted to Amazon's ABNA contest, I noted that they were intensely powerful and emotional. As with any good thriller, I found myself turning pages just as quickly as I could manage. The almost overwhelming fear that a young man might encounter serving as sentry for a US Army firebase during the Vietnam War is rendered almost palpable.

Now that I've had the privilege of reading the entire novel, I can say that Daniel fulfilled every expectation and blew away any concerns about its ability to maintain the tension established in its taut opening. The gut-wrenching horror of a bloody extended battle and the futility and political machinations of the war that the USA so doggedly persisted in pursuing in the early 1970s is brought to eye-popping life on every page of this fine debut novel. We see everything that we would expect to see in war - heroism and cowardice, life and death, brutality and compassion, fear and bravery, careful planning and foolhardy spontaneity, hope and despair and, of course, death and survival.

Even though the enigmatic Daniel Carson's part in the novel approached the paranormal, the story was told with such astonishing clarity and credibility that I found myself constantly checking to see if DANIEL was a non-fiction re-telling of one of those odd but true wartime stories that often capture our imaginations.

Highly recommended.

Paul Weiss

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