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Chasing After Wind: RW Holmen

Saturday, May 21, 2011
Good Reads Summary:
A short story about life as a soldier in Vietnam.

This is the fourth installment in the series of Vietnam short stories entitled "LRRP Rangers Vietnam". The first three short stories were set in the mountains and jungles of Vietnam's central highlands, but "Chasing After Wind" takes place on the Ranger company grounds in the base camp of An Khe. Yet, this installment is no less bold, dark, and intense (the words of a reviewer) than the earlier stories that recounted missions in the field.

The title is borrowed from the Old Testament, and the short story begins with this epigraph:

"No one has power over the wind to restrain the wind, or power over the day of death; there is no discharge from the battle ... all is vanity and a chasing after wind."

Ecclesiastes 8:8 & 1:14

"Chasing After Wind" considers twists of fate in the context of a barracks poker game, the uncontrollable wind, and a malevolent joker in the deck.

The reader should be prepared to read about the gloomy, gory reality of Vietnam. 
""Chasing After Wind" is the fourth volume of a series entitled LRRP Rangers Vietnam. The LRRPs of Vietnam (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol) were the cavalry scouts of their war, traveling by helicopter rather than mustangs into remote and unfriendly territory. The mountainous jungles of the central highlands were especially inhospitable, filled with snakes and wild animals, and criss crossed with the tributaries of the Ho Chi Minh trail that lay hidden beneath the thick, triple-canopy jungle foliage. It was the job of small teams of LRRPs to penetrate the ridges and valleys of the rainforest to track and identify enemy activity."

The above is taken from Amazon.  The novel itself is super short, but no less powerful.  The main character "keeps things real" throughout the novel, giving what the reader can only assume to be a true account of his surroundings.  The characters are not glorified or portrayed as "heroes"; they are meant to be men performing feats that are expected of them in times of battle.  The reader will enjoy the camraderie and the details provided by the author; the plot becomes real.  This novel is terrific for young adults and adults long as they are not expecting an action-packed novel.