Brad Howard is the sole survivor from the crew of his Patrol River Boat (PBR). He is stranded in Vietnam, miles from base. Every Vietnamese is a potential Vietcong and therefore a threat. To make it back alive, Brad must survive starvation and detection, avoiding the perils of death or the tortures of imprisonment by the patrols of the Vietcong. This book is so skillfully-written that it reads like a memoir. The author’s attention to detail brings all five senses into play as he describes the itchy burning from insect bites coupled with crawling fleas on his sweaty skin. Readers almost feel the pain and soreness of his cramped muscles and joints, the turmoil of his stomach as he fed on grubs, snake meat, wild rabbit, or a raw lizard, and "the reeking waves" of his nauseating body odor.
There is also a heartwarming back story that runs parallel with his main plot of survival. Brad reflects on his childhood and coming of age during an era of innocence in the state of Colorado. Brad uses his reflections as an escape mechanism to keep his mind off the danger, monotony, and self-pity of the long lonely hours and days of living with the constant trauma, stress, and hardships faced while struggling to survive. I Must Survive is a fresh and powerful tribute to the men who served their country in Vietnam.
About the Author:
Harry Simpson grew up in eastern Colorado during the 1950's, which was before the availability of television. For entertainment, he became an avid reader as soon as he learned to read and continues this lifelong hobby in retirement. He resides in Florida with his wife, Sharyl, a Keeshond named Natasha, and a Pomeranian aptly named Snuggles. Like all personnel serving in the military 1964 through 1966, he experienced the constant fear of becoming part of the Vietnam conflict and having to choose between killing or being killed.
Excerpt from the book:
“A new sound! It starts as a faint hum and increases in volume to the loud familiar roar of airplane engines. I stand under a fifty-foot queen palm and try to determine the direction the sound is coming from. It is south of me, and moving to the west. I can’t see anything but I can tell it’s several American warplanes following the river. Suddenly it sounds like the largest Fourth of July celebration ever, which continues for about ten minutes. Our PBR has been discovered, and our air force is retaliating. From the sound of the explosions, the payload is very large. I don’t know how far away the target zone is, but I am still close enough that the ground under my feet shakes from the impact of the bombs.
I raise my fist to the sky and yell, “Yeah! Pour it to ’em!” Our side is making the Vietcong pay for the death of my friends; vengeance flows through me. To me it sounds like Thor’s hammer has struck. I continue to cheer openly as I hear our planes returning to the east, toward base.
I know that I am smiling as I continue my walk through the jungle. I feel rejuvenated!
All in all, this has been a good day.”
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