In the Shadow of Vietnam: Essays, 1977-1991, a collection of twenty-three powerful essays by the poet, memoirist, and teacher W.D. Ehrhart, first published in 1991, is now out in paperback (McFarland, 208 pp., $19.99).
Ehrhart, who recieved VVA’s Excellence in the Arts Award in 2008, joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1966 right after he graduated from high school. He served a thirteen-month tour of duty in the Vietnam War, a subject that he touches on in several of the essays in this book.
Eight of Ehrhart’s poems were included in the pioneering 1972 book, Winning Hearts and Minds: War Poems by Vietnam Veterans. Since then, Ehrhart has written eight books of his own poetry, most recently The Bodies Beneath the Table (2010). His books of prose include The Madness of It All: Essays on War, Literature, and American Life (2002), and Ordinary Lives: Platoon 1005 and the Vietnam War (1999), which was based on a series of articles Ehrhart wrote for The VVA Veteran. He edited two excellent poetry collections: Unaccustomed Mercy: Soldier-Poets of the Vietnam War (1989) and Carrying the Darkness: Poetry of the Vietnam War (1989).