Carl Hitchens tells his readers in Sitting With Warrior (iUniverse, 180 pp., $13.95, paper) that this book is a “work of personal memoir, myth and spirituality.” A member of Vietnam Veterans of America, Hitchens is a poet, storyteller, essayist, and blogger.
He served in the U.S. Marines, including a 1968-69 tour of duty in the Vietnam War with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines in the 1st Marine Division. His book alternates prose chapters with poetry-like chapters.
That includes time at Hill 37, which is mentioned in this myth-heavy book. Hitchens describes the book as “my own recording of the Vietnam War, my survival, readjustment, and, most important, spiritual evolution for which Nam was a catalyst.”
In writing the book, he says, he “found a deeper understanding of myself and, surprisingly, a doorway into the psyche of those who fought and died, and that of the divided nation from which we came. While I started off (I thought) writing in my singular voice of experience, I discovered that I was to some extent writing in the collective voice of all combatants of war down through the ages. Along the way, I retrieved the part of myself left behind in the jungle and mountain terrain. This part was personified in the ‘young kid’ who had come with me to Vietnam.”
This a carefully edited and physically beautiful book, but much of it remains a mystery, and is enigmatic to this reader.
For more info, go to the author’s website.