Point of Aim by Jay Taylor

Jay Taylor’s Point of Aim, Point of Impact (AuthorHouse,194 pp., $14.90, hardcover; $9.90, paper) is a well-done, no-frills memoir that focuses on the author’s tour of duty in Vietnam as a Marine Corps Scout Sniper.

Taylor, who grew up in Albuquerque, joined the Marines in September of 1967 on his 18th birthday. By May of 1968, he was in Vietnam, where he served for thirteen months with several different companies in the 7th Marine Regiment. His book evokes his tour of duty well, with a bare minimum of reconstructed quotes—a good thing.

Taylor also describes his emotional re-adjustment problems after coming home from Vietnam. “Going from a highly respected member of an elite unit in Vietnam back to a nineteen-year-old kid at home, with nothing in common with friends he had left behind, was a very difficult transition,” he says. Taylor (below) suffered through nightmares, a fear of crowds, and “a very bad and unpredictable temper that got worse as time went on.”
He had a rocky marriage that ended in divorce, and turned to drinking and destructive behavior. But by 1972, Taylor straightened himself out, remarried, had two sons, and went on to work as a construction project superintendent for thirty years. He and his wife today manage their own thoroughbred racehorse farm.

The book’s website is http://pointofaimvietnam.com/

—Marc Leepson