Silent Spring- Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War 

by Patrick Hogan

When young Patrick Hogan was leaving behind his high school sweetheart to join the military, he never thought he would bring the war home with him. He only hoped for some education and perhaps a chance to marry his love at a later date. He was however made into a victim of the chemical warfare that the government had raged on Southern Vietnam. Long after he had left his post as staff sergeant, he still suffers the after effects. 

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This is a story similar to those of many others like Patrick’s friend Larry. The Department of Veterans Affairs was and is no help. They held their stance of denying these claims. These people who sacrificed so much for love of country and God were killed in action. Only difference between them and those whose names are on the huge black DC wall is that their deaths have and may stretch through decades with untold suffering and near destitute existence in between. What else was the government foisting upon these young people? What is the true nature and outcome of the unfortunate Vietnam aftermath?

Patrick Hogan’s rage is well deserving of support and completely justified. However, he does not just rage on in this book like one would expect him to under the circumstances. He instead takes an almost objective stance. He presents facts rather than enraged hogwash. This book is well researched and incredibly informative. It is evocative in that it leaves the reader horribly appalled and disgusted. This book is a deeply personal account of Vietnam and after. The candour of the author is well appreciated. 

The author provides personal stories of his ‘brothers’ in the midst of all the fact presentation. Not only does this give the story a face, it provides a break from the technical aspects f the book. These personal stories are well presented and aggressively provocative. While the facts and figures are being presented, one can note the intelligence and soberness of mind that the author carries. 

Perhaps the book could have used some more personal stories and less of the technical jargon. The technical jargon does get in the way quite a bit, disrupting flow. However, the author has provided a glossary. Despite this, the book presents a challenging read. It could also do with some restructuring just as a way to improve flow. 

What these people went through was simply atrocious. To hear it from Patrick’s point of view and with so much evidence on the table evokes anger and deep sympathy for what they have had to endure. And still endure so many decades after. Five stars out of five for this book simply to help get the truth out. Four stars for the book itself. You need a strong stomach to read this book. You will want to fling it at a wall from the sheer amount of fury you will experience. Thank a military man/woman for their service when you can.

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