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Eyre, David, 1941-
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New York : Doubleday, [1990]

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Booklist Review

In command of a U.S. Navy gunboat, circa 1966, Lieutenant Dubecheck patrols the Mekong delta, hunting for V.C., N.V.A., Charlie, and other defined species of commie vermin. Off duty, he carouses in bars and brothels, takes some R & R in Hawaii, and since this is the late 1960s after all, pays an unplanned visit to Seattle, where he drops some acid and gets clubbed in an anti-war march. But it's the soldiers' diction of cynical euphemism (for example, hosing down a beach means machine-gunning people on shore), supported by frequent digressions into Dubecheck's memories, that glues this evidently autobiographical story together: the dialogue, invariably studded with ironic and glib repartee, usually concerns the commonly griped-about idiocies of military life. In the end, the author seems to say, there were men of moral compass so long as higher-ups didn't interfere with them. The Vietnam conflict has not yet and may never produce its Sassoon, Remarque, or Mailer who could indelibly record the wartime disjunction between the civilian and military experience. But that is not for lack of trying, and Eyre's work is a strong depiction of the pungent atmosphere surrounding one junior officer's striving to find a concientious niche in the Big Picture. ~--Gilbert Taylor

Library Journal Review

Lieutenant Junior Grade Dubecheck is the lonely commander of the smallest riverine task force in Vietnam. Dubecheck's only skill is leading his men--he neither understands nor cares about the Navy, the Vietnamese, or the rest of life. We join him on a couple of missions, at rest in the Officers' Club, and tending to his seriously disturbed commanding officer. Dubecheck gets rest and relaxation in Hawaii, and in a fit of drunken exuberance, flies to Seattle. There he meets what passes for normal American society, which he finds no more comprehensible than the war. On his return he takes a congressman out on a faked combat patrol, with predictably bizarre results. The plot begins in midair and is left hanging, a good metaphor for Dubecheck's life and the war. Eyre has married Joseph Heller's Catch 22 ( LJ 11/1/61) to Tim O'Brien's If I Die in a Combat Zone (Delacorte, 1973) and the hallucinatory result works reasonably well. Recommended for subject collections.--Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army TRALINET Ctr., Fort Monroe, Va. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.