Letters from Nam by Fred Golin

Fred Golin tells his Vietnam War story in a unique way in Letters From Nam (48HrBooks, 54 pp., $14, paper): through a chronological series of reproduced letters he wrote from the time he began basic training in January of 1964 to the end of 1965 when he was about to end his tour in Vietnam and get out of the Army.

Golin, who was drafted into the Army, begins on January 25, 1964, with a letter to his family describing his flight from Dallas to Fort Polk for basic training. Next came MP AIT at Fort Gordon, then brief duty stops at Camp Roberts in California and Fort Lewis.

His letter of August 23, 1965, describes the troop ship ride across the Pacific on the USS Barrett with about 3,500 MPs, medics, and other support troops. The ship docked in Qui Nhon on September 1; Golin was sent to Dalat (above), the Central Highlands city founded by the French as a resort in 1897 due to its temperate climate, three weeks later. He was attached to the U.S. Army advisory mission that supported the South Vietnamese version of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point at Dalat.

Dalat, Golin wrote to his parents, “is cool, green and has old French hotels and houses. The streets are paved and have street lights, a three story farmers type market, sidewalks, nuclear power plant, a lake in the center of town with a massive hotel with ten foot high front doors.”

Golin is donating a percentage of the sales of this short book to VVA Chapter 218 in his hometown of Santa Barbara, California. For ordering info, write: PO Box 879, Solvang, CA 93464

—Marc Leepson