Book-In-Focus: Through Smoke-Teared Eyes by Johnny F. Pugh
The top prize for the 2018 San Francisco Book Festival, Through Smoke-Teared Eyes is a detailed and courageous narration of one soldier’s thoughts and combat experiences while in the Iron Triangle during the Vietnam War. Written by Johnny F. Pugh, in an attempt to outface the pains of the past, the book is a captivating account of survival, trust, betrayal, and hope. The author documents the brutal forms of warfare that he and his fellow soldiers faced behind the lines. He shares with the readers a personal and bilingual presentation of his friendship with his comrades while learning critical survival skills from them. The author also describes how he found himself in a moral dilemma after witnessing the horrors committed by the American military against the Vietnamese peasants.
Johnny F. Pugh passed away in 2011 from lung cancer. His wife, Christina Pugh posthumously published his book. She writes, “There is an unusual story of how this book came to be; how it probably wouldn't have happened without the love, support, and encouragement of our daughter together, Nicole. After he died, she showed me I had good things to do with my life and promises to keep, while all I could do was weep and grieve, feeling sorry for myself and drowning in my fear of the future without him. After a couple of years, I was finally able to open his book and face it, learn it well and finish it in a way that would be true to his style of writing and his message without falling apart and feeling sad myself. The most important promise I needed to keep was the one I made to my husband before he passed away. Though he wasn't able to tell me in words because of a stroke he suffered three years earlier, he let me know with his eyes that he entrusted me to finish his book and see that it would get published. How could I refuse and let him down?”
She added that after four years, she finally managed to get his book completed and self-published last fall. She didn't have much money left for advertising, so she entered it in a couple of book contests for independent authors, thinking maybe it would receive an Honorable Mention, but never imagining that it would be chosen for this year's top award at the San Francisco Book Festival.
What Readers Say
"This book is a must read for anyone wanting to “feel” Vietnam in 1966-67. I was in Johnny Pugh’s unit at the same time he was, though I don’t remember if I ever met him, but I can promise the book is historically accurate. To me, Chapter seven alone is worth the price of the book because it tells in detail much of the battle of Attleboro. That action took place in November 1966 where the Wolfhounds and nearly all of the 25th Division were so heavily involved. Mr. Pugh details the action where one of my best friends, Roy Blewett, was killed in action. Johnny Pugh writes with great talent and keeps you riveted throughout the read. I believe any combat Vietnam infantry veteran will find some difficulty with the read as it is emotionally strong, but certainly well worth the ride. The book was published posthumously by his wife, Cristina, as he passed before writing the last lines. I found her comments very heartfelt and I commend her for seeing that his book was made available for all to read. This book belongs in every library."
—Donald Arndt, Reader's Review Amazon Client, Verified Purchase
" Kudos to Johnny and Cristina Pugh for sharing this courageous story of hope and survival. The deeply personal and bilingual presentations, poetry, and pictures from Vietnam make this a unique and captivating documentation of the plight of the Wolfhounds and other soldiers. I highly recommend this treasured book to others, so that they can learn valuable lessons retrieved from the wounds of war. We must not forget this turbulent time in the history of our country, and the cost to the individuals that served, their families and their future generations."
—Zosiaulinski, Reader's Review Amazon Client, Verified Purchase
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