The War, the Times, and Why They Matter
"A thoughtful, timely, and beautifully written book that every American should read if we are to ever learn from the disaster of Vietnam." - Ron Kovic, author of Born on the Fourth of July
"Superbly written, flawlessly reasoned, heartfelt, and so blunt it will curl the toes of career (military) officers, war profiteers, and federal office holders." FRONT: Virginia's Blue Ridge Business Journal... Dan Smith
“A thoughtful mosaic of the war and its times. Ketwig’s trauma-honed instincts inspire us to seek the abolition of war.” - James W. Douglass, author of JFK and the Unspeakable
"We have waited 34 years for John Ketwig to write another mind-blowing book about the Vietnam War. The war that just won’t go away. As the tractor-beam of forever war sucks us into its suicidal rabbit hole, the
country tries harder and harder to disappear the Vietnam War and those who fought and died or still survive. John writes a book that tells us the truth in prose, facts and figures that refuse to be ignored. A read for those
who wonder just "what the F*#% all the fuss is" about that war…. here it is. Consider it a First Aid Kit, and now is the time to open it up and use it to save us from ourselves. Plus it is a good read." - “Country” Joe McDonald (Country Joe and the Fish)
“Reading this book, I got angry all over again. The only thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history. John Ketwig has done a great job in bringing the entire era, the war, its historical setting, the culture and emotions of the times to life in a vivid and powerful way. Even those who fought in Vietnam will learn much and will be shockingly reminded of how huge that whole experience has been. Congrats to Ketwig on an interesting and important book.” - Bobby Muller
Bobby Muller was a Marine lieutenant in April of 1969 when a bullet severed his spinal cord and left him paralyzed from the chest down. An outspoken peace activist, he earned a law degree Hofstra University, formed Vietnam Veterans of America, and later, the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation which is now called Veterans For America. In 1980 the VVAF co-founded the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which won the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize.
This is a long-considered sequel to Ketwig’s mind-blowing war memoir, …and a hard rain fell. Ketwig offers savvy commentary on the swirling demons of profiteering, PTSD and suicide, patriots vs. peaceniks, sex and soldiers, the draft, and the Wall, among other topics. He presents lists of questions for students to consider and FAQs on key things such as Agent Orange. What makes this book memorable, a gift to share with others, is Ketwig’s unrelenting quest to dig deeper into what the war in Southeast Asia did to so many people, civilians and soldiers, Asians and Americans, and what to do about it. - Jan Barry
Jan Barry in The Veteran, the newsletter of Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Jan Barry resigned from West Point after a tour in Vietnam. He is the author of A Citizen’s Guide to Grassroots Campaigns, Earth Songs, and a co-editor of Winning Hearts & Minds: War Poems by Vietnam Veterans, among other works. He was a co-founder of VVAW.
This is not a war story. Ketwig explores the connections between the events at home and their effects on the war. He debunks the notion that the media, or the protesters, kept us from winning. I was surprised about the depth of corruption among our own troops. He manages to compare corruption in Vietnam to the disappearance of billions of dollars-worth of $100 bills in Iraq and the rip-off contracts given to defense contractors. Reading this book was, to me, kind of like sitting at the bar of the VFW and shooting the shit with a good friend. - John Zutz
John Zutz, a VVAW member, in The Veteran, the newsletter of Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
...and a hard rain fell:
A GI's True Story of the War in Vietnam
The classic Vietnam war memoir, ...and a hard rain fell is the unforgettable story of a veteran's rage and the unflinching portrait of a young soldier's odyssey from the roads of upstate New York to the jungles of Vietnam.
"A magnetic, bloody, moving, and worm's-eye view of soldiering in Vietnam, an account that is from the first page to last a wound that can never heal. A searing gift to his country." -Kirkus Reviews
"...a devastating book, shot through with horror and poetry and pain." -Seattle Times
"Ever-present in this masterpiece of war narrative is a sense of profound dread. Few books transport you in time as vividly as this. It's a reading experience you won't soon forget. A powerful book!" - Book of the Month Club
"Mr. Ketwig's prose is beautiful, his story vivid and harsh and incredibly realistic." -Baltimore Sun
"Perhaps as evocative of that awful time in Vietnam as the great fictions...a wild surreal account, at its best as powerful as Celine's darkling writing of World War One." -Washington Post
Ranks among the more eloquent and powerful statements about the war. - The Globe and Mail, Canada
The wide-eyed narration makes this a strong, moving book. - The Times-Union (Rochester, NY)
I could only take John Ketwig’s …and a hard rain fell in small doses. I found it searing, excruciating, almost too much to bear. It is the Johnny Got His Gun of the 80’s. - Philip Berrigan
Some of Ketwig’s passages radiate sacramental luminence. History this is not. Truth it is. Rest assured, I read every word. - The Houston Chronicle
Solidly effective. He describes with ingenuous energy and authentic language that time and place. - Library Journal
…has all the immediacy and raw emotions of the best war novel, yet the reader can never escape the stark realization that this is a true story. Reading …and a hard rain fell drains the spirit. Mr. Ketwig’s prose is beautiful, his story vivid and harsh and incredibly realistic. - - The Baltimore Sun
…and a hard rain fell is a book that must be read. - Chris Noel, Armed Forces Radio personality in Vietnam, actress, and Vietnam veterans advocate
Perhaps as evocative of that awful time in Vietnam as the great fictions. Ketwig loathes the army, and his loathing of its aims and texture produces a wild surreal account at its best as powerful as Celine’s dark writing of World War I. - The Washington Post
I heartily recommend this book to Americans who want to understand… - Jan C. Scruggs, President of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and the vet who made The Wall in Washington, D.C. a reality
Ketwig enables the reader to relive with him the heartbreak and trauma of seeing close friends die, the devastating cultural shock of returning home, and the insanity and cruelty of war.
- Penthouse The Vietnam Veterans Advisor, William R. Colson, August 1985
A searing glimpse into the heart of darkness. Essential reading, gripping, horrifying, unforgettable. - History Book Club
Articulate and perceptive throughout. A “staple” in campus Vietnam courses. - Publishers Weekly
A classic ‘Nam memoir returns. At long last, this war classic is again in print. Totally honest and packed with action… a true original. -Military Book Club
…not a textbook on Vietnam, a shared experience through which readers can taste and feel the horrors of war. - The Express Times (Allentown, PA)