Sunday, November 13, 2022

Review of "Ghosts of War: Lost at Khe Sanh," by Steve Watkins

 Review of

Ghosts of War: Lost at Khe Sanh, by Steve Watkins, ISBN 9780545665872

Five out of five stars

A history lesson embedded in a ghost story

 Anderson is with his friends Greg and Julie in the basement of his uncle’s junk shop. They are there to practice for the upcoming band contest and there are many trunks of relics that no one has opened for some time. When curiosity gets the best of him, Anderson opens a trunk and finds an old grenade with an inscription on it. Once he shows it to his uncle, Anderson is ordered to set it down gently and the police bomb squad is called. They take care of the danger, but the act triggers the appearance of a ghost named Z.

 Z was an American soldier that was a Green Beret that fought in Vietnam, lost in an enormous fog of war during the siege of Khe Sanh. There is reference to his buddy called Fish, which triggers an extensive investigation by Anderson, Greg and Julie. They learn a great deal about the Vietnam War in general and the battle of Khe Sanh in particular. Collateral issues such as the declining public support for the war in Vietnam are also part of the explanations.

 After some in-depth exploration, the three sleuths learn all about Z and his buddy Fish. The mystery is solved to the satisfaction of all, including a surprise revelation. The reader is treated to a well-written historical rendition of an intense period in America. The plot device of a ghost appearing provides an effective backdrop for the history lesson.

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