Beyond the Wall by Alivia Tagliaferri

Alivia Tagliaferri’s Beyond the Wall: The Journey Home ( Ironcutter Media, 314 pp., $18.95, paper) is a novel about the Vietnam War, and also a novel about survivor guilt and PTSD. The main character, Dennis Michaels, a Vietnam War Marine Corps veteran, volunteers at Walter Reed’s Mologne House to mentor Andrew Taylor, a veteran of the Iraq War who lost both legs to an IED near Fallujah.

Andy is at Walter Reed to be fitted for prostheses. Michaels was a Marine at Con Thien, and there are many scenes that revisit that muddy firebase and the siege that took place there.

The novel was mostly successful and worth reading, with the occasional clinker—for instance, the reference to “The Ballad of Ira Hayes” as being a Johnny Cash song. Cash is just one of dozens who recorded that tune. Peter LaFarge wrote it.

No other novel I have read so thoroughly explores the cost to Marines of the maxim to “Never leave anyone behind.”

The author’s (above) website is

—David Willson