Song Ba To by Drew Mendelson

Drew Mendelson served in Vietnam in 1970 as an forward artillery observer with the 6th Battalion, 11th Artillery attached to an infantry company (Bravo 4/3). He has chosen to write Song Ba To: A War Novel (MDM Books, $16.99, paper; also available on Kindle) as fiction based on his experiences, rather than the usual memoir.

Like Joe Haldeman, author of The Forever War and War Year, Mendelson wrote and published Sci-Fi novels first and he also bothered to get an MA in creative writing. Do these things matter? I believe they do.

Mendelson has produced a superb, exciting, beautifully written novel that should prove to be a classic of the Vietnam War, if there were any justice.  But I think novels published by major publishers have an edge (think of Matterhorn) and important reviewers tend to ignore the publications of small presses. This reviewer begs readers to buy and read this novel for an amazing experience of living in the skin of an forward artillery observer.

—David Willson

The author in Vietnam