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Summary

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 Ho Chi 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 a war that is still taking its toll.

©2005 Larry Heinemann (P)2005 HighBridge Company

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  • Jeffrey
  • 23-11-15

Sarcasm, cynicism--and then more of the same

What did you like best about Black Virgin Mountain? What did you like least?

If you want to listen to yet another blistering and angry rant, this is for you. Yes, war is chaotic, cruel, unfair, and horrible. But there's so much more to it than that. It's also full of, remarkably, love. Heinemann, having done his time in combat, deserves his say. But it's an entirely one-dimensional say.

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    1 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • 06-11-08

A downer

The unrelenting self-pity and cynicism are hard to take. A good writer with a bad case of Vietnam syndrome.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful