Prodigals by Richard Taylor

Richard Taylor’s Vietnam War memoir, Prodigals: A Vietnam Story, first published in 2004, is now out in paperback (Casemate, 325 pp., $18.95). Taylor, a VVA member, served two combat-heavy tours in Vietnam as an adviser to the ARVN’s 7th Infantry Division in the Delta in 1967-68 and as a company commander with the 1st Cav’s famed 1st of the 7th in 1970-71.

Taylor grew up in South Georgia, went to military school for four years, and was commissioned an Army second lieutenant after finishing the ROTC program at North Georgia College. He arrived in Vietnam for the first time in August of 1967, and describes that tour, as well as his second, in this thoughtful memoir.

Taylor says that an emotional burden lifted when he attended his first VVA chapter meeting more than three decades after coming home from Vietnam in 1971. “When an overweight and aging vet with a ponytail shook my hand and said, `Welcome home, brother,’” he writes, “I knew for the first time I was really, finally home.”

—Marc Leepson