The Alphabet of Vietnam

Here is a review of my novel The Alphabet of Vietnam from someone who was there and whose comments I therefore have immense respect for:

“This book really got to me. I am a veteran, I fought in Vietnam in 1970 and 1971 with the Australian Army and in Cambodia in 1972 with FANK against the NVA and the KR. Chamberlain has touched on something here that very few people have the slightest idea about. The darkness in us all that the combat experience can somehow turn into something that can consume us. It can turn us into something less than human, it’s a kind of rage and its call is siren to say the least. The mix of fear, power, adrenaline, hatred and despair is a volatile one and once a person is in its clutches it can be very difficult indeed to get out. I know, because although I did ultimately manage to claw my way out, it really did nearly have me, it nearly took me for good or worse and I did much under its influence that I relive sometimes, those incidents seem surreal as though I read about them once or saw them on tv, but no it was me or at least the person I once was.

I could truly identify with Joe and Wash, I was often repulsed by them but there was much in them that is in me and it has seen the light of day-and that is truly frightening. I guess more of Joe than Wash but believe me I have known plenty who just like Wash went down that road, seeking the combat context which allowed them to dance with that particular devil. I was truly on the way to being one of them.

This is not an easy book to read but it is an extraordinary piece of work.”

About Jonathan Chamberlain

I am a novelist and creative writer attacking all genres indiscriminately - Dreams of Gold (humour) - Alphabet of Vietnam (literary suspense) - Whitebait & Tofu (noir suspense) - Wordjazz for Stevie (memoir) - King Hui (biography) - Chinese Gods (cultural analysis) - The Cancer Survivor's Bible (self-help) My literary blog is In Praise of Older Books see My Fighting Cancer website is My cancer information archive is at
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