Captain Bullen's War, edited by Paul Ham

We need to send our survey party there!’ (pointing to map)
‘But Colonel, we cain’t do it. That’s the most insecure area of the whole country!’
“Insecure? Goddam it! The greatest concentration of American troops in the country is there!’
‘Yes Colonel, and have you considered why the greatest concentration of American troops is right there?’

Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War has not been as well-explored in accessible literature as involvement in earlier wars, perhaps because of the public sentiment towards the war at the time. But in this diary offering, here is an attempt to redress that. Offering just one man’s perspective of the war, this is not an analysis of the war, nor a timeline of the whole course of the war. It is simply one man’s diary of the time that he was in Vietnam – in 1968.

Because it is a diary, the book offers detailed insight into day to day life of one man’s war. And because Bullen is honest, intelligent and forthright, the diary is entertaining and insightful. At times it is easy to forget that this is an actual diary rather than a fictionalised account – but this is a true tale, told in the diarist’s words, with occasional editorial input – at the start of each month’s entries and scattered footnotes for clarity.

A treasure.

Captain Bullen's War: The Vietnam War Diary of Captain John Bullen

Captain Bullen’s War: The Vietnam War Diary of Captain John Bullen, edited by Paul Ham
Harper Collins, 2009

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.