Black Virgin Mountain: A Return to Vietnam

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Larry Heinemann

Narrated By: Larry Heinemann

Publisher: HighBridge Company

Date: April 2007

Duration: 9 hours 50 minutes

Summary:

The National Book Award-winning author of Paco’s Story returns with a haunting memoir of his year as a combat soldier in Vietnam, and the ghosts he encounters on his return 30 years later.In 1966 just as the American military buildup in Vietnam was going into overdrive a working-class 22-year-old from Chicago was drafted into the army. Larry Heinemann served one year of combat duty with the 25th Infantry Division most of it in the vicinity of Cu Chi. It was the most horrific and consequential year of his life and it served as the raw material for his two classic war novels Close Quarters and Paco's Story. The memoir chronicles a 1992 railway journey Heinemann took from Hanoi to HoChi Minh City as the guest of the Vietnam Writers' Association. Along the way he encounters Vietnamese war veterans and views sites that trigger powerful memories. His journey ends with a crawl through the tunnels of Cu Chi and a climb up the sacred mountain that is this book's namesake. A work of mourning and an act of reconciliation Black Virgin Mountain considers the psychic costs of awar that is still taking its toll.

Genres:

  • Tom Brenn

    Perhaps a little disjointed, don't confuse this with "Paco's Story." It portrays a "down and dirty" in the mud paddies story of "A Day In the Life." Surely some of the accounts are composites are a little contrived, but this does not take away from the veracity of the overall tale. Talking with vets (I was ready to go, but got turned down because of a football injury. Maybe it's just as well I stayed stateside.), I find their stories eerily similar to Heinemann's. The re-visit to a newer but not necessarily better 'Nam enhances the story. While humanizing the adversaries, it does not depart from the theme of why were there and how we failed to succeed. Sometimes I get the feeling that we didn't really lose---we were tired, and time just ran out.