Book Discovery: Mother’s Day: A War Story by William Singley
“ Gripping in its action-packed sequences. Thought-provoking in its moments of reflection. William Singley’s Mother’s Day: A War Story is an unfiltered study of war from the perspective of men who had no choice but to brave the uncertainties of the Vietnam War.
Thousands of miles away from American shore, a sudden burst of bright light followed by a deafening explosion disrupted a seemingly tranquil night. If the Americans didn’t know any better, they would have believed that indeed peace was possible, if only on such a chilly, starry night. But the men knew better. They knew that the night was a friend and a foe. It hid them from plain view just as much as it cuddled the enemies opposite them in the darkness, enemies who wanted to send them back to their American shore, flags draped over their caskets, dead.
The Americans knew better than to let their guards down. This was not home. This was Vietnam—palm silhouetted against a crisp night sky, mosquitoes reigning supreme over rice paddies, and the Charlies. At home, in America, there was another sort of war—political, civil. Americans waged banners and slogans to get young boys as far away as possible from Vietnam. They taunted Eisenhower and then LBJ and braced themselves to face their fears.
In Vietnam, if the Americans survived the night, they got to see another sunrise, but day in and day out, the numbing fear and the endless fight for survival was the same. It didn’t matter whether they were recently drafted or serving their tenth month. The fear of dying in a foreign land, of going without proper goodbyes, of falling victim to friendly fire, of missing out on everybody else’s life—they knew the same fear.
Singley says, “Mother’s Day: A War Story is not a panorama of a decades-long effort, but a brief moment, a close-up of a long and tragic conflict that reveals the immediate in five soldiers’ existence; [sic] staying alive, staying dry, getting through the night, the next day, the next night—and the boring and rare terrifying events during a year in-country.”
Singley masterfully weaved accurate details, allowing readers an intimate glimpse into a soldier’s psyche and barrack life. While there is no dearth of war literature today, Mother’s Day: A War Story is a standout that should not be missed, and William Singley should be commended for his excellent writing.
Reviews and What Readers Say
" The Vietnam war experience in this book was authentic. I felt like I was one of the soldiers in the jungles of a strange country trying to stay alive by keeping away from the enemy and, unfortunately, friendly fire. I couldn't put it down."
—Amazon Reader's Review
" Amazing view of life of an enlisted man or draftee. Class and race wars in the army!"
—David A Belasco, Amazon Reader's Review
Review by Issa Nayberg
Disclosure: This article is a personal endorsement of the professional reviewer. The BookWalker is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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William Singley spent most of 1967 serving as a combat writer/photographer with the First Brigade, 101st Airborne in Vietnam. His stories and photos were published worldwide, and he was awarded a Bronze Star. William's original coverage of two events was the foundation for two Medal of Honor winners. Also, he served in the 82nd Airborne and attended UCLA, where he won the prestigious Samuel Goldwyn Literary Award. He holds a master's degree in Southeast Asian Studies and has traveled extensively in Africa, Europe, and Southeast Asia. Currently, he resides close to the ocean in Southern California.