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For decades, Della Brown has tried to forget her service as a U.S. Army nurse in Vietnam. But in the middle of the safe, sane life she’s built for herself, Della is ambushed by history. She receives a letter from a fellow combat nurse, a woman who was once her closest friend, and all the memories come flooding back: Della’s nightmarish introduction to the Twelfth Evacuation Hospital in Cu Chi, where every bed held a patient hideously wounded in ways never mentioned in nursing school. The day she learned how to tell young men they were about to die. The night her chopper pilot boyfriend failed to return from his mission.

Through these harrowing memories the reader encounters Della’s younger selves—the scared, naive nursing school graduate learning combat medicine on the job; then the traumatized young woman freshly returned from horrors no one wants her to speak about, masking her anguish with alcohol and cynical stoicism.

Even now, as a well-adjusted adult whose life is filled with meaningful work and the company of loved ones, Della has yet to come to terms with her painful history. But as the U.S. prepares to plunge into war in Iraq, Della struggles to make peace with her memories of Vietnam. She must also confront the fissures in her family life, the mystery of her father’s disappearance, the things mothers and daughters cannot—maybe should not—know about one another, and the lifelong repercussions of a single mistake.

An unflinching depiction of war and its personal costs, Her Own Vietnam is also a portrait of a woman in midlife — a mother, a nurse, and long ago a soldier.


“Well written, compassionate, and perceptively told.” — Foreword Reviews

“Intense, gripping… and unsettling.” — Fiction Writers Review

“This novel is one of the best books about nurses in Vietnam.” — National Magazine of Vietnam Veterans of America

“A home run… thought provoking journey into the realities of war and its impact on individuals and society.” — Military Writers Society of America

“Her Own Vietnam will captivate you, and bring you to tears.” — Military Spouse Book Review

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Technical Details

ISBN 978-0-9913555-2-5, paperback, 211 pages, $18.95, November 2014

2 thoughts on “HER OWN VIETNAM

  1. I just read the review of Her Own Vietnam on The Military Spouse Book Review blog and then came over here and found one of the most compelling tag lines for a blog I’ve seen in a long time. Simple. Direct. About stuff that matters. I’m looking forward to reading your book and more of your blog.


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