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