Loveless in the Nam by Jim Boersema

Jim Boersema was drafted into the U. S. Army after graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in journalism. He served in various countries over a period of years, including as in infantryman in Vietnam. His novel Loveless in the Nam (Dorrance Publishing Co., 216 pp., $23, paper) tells the story of Frank Loveless and his service in the Vietnam War as a 2nd Lieutenant.

Lt. Frank Loveless is a modern Harry Flashman, who was made famous in a long series of popular novels written by the great George MacDonald Fraser. It was inevitable that eventually an author with the right credentials and talents would come along and give the Flashman treatment to the Dirty Little War I took part in.

I am glad that I lived long enough to get to read this comic masterpiece about the combat adventures of our anti-hero, Lt. Loveless, a craven coward and a womanizer who always lands on his feet. He comes out of every situation, no matter how dire, smelling like a rose and being awarded yet another medal.

This book was a delight to read, and I highly recommend it to every reader who is tired of sober, serious, and often boring accounts, whether fiction or memoir, that claim that America really did win that war, and that we stopped the spread of worldwide communism.

Loveless, who has “a reputation as a fearless, gung-ho soldier with a lucky star over his head,” actually enters every risky battle situation with his “insides quaking with dread” and is often so scared he wets his pants.  “Vietnam showed me that it’s not who a man is, but who he appears to be that counts,” our hero ruminates.

I came home from Vietnam having learned that same lesson. Frank Loveless is my kind of hero, and I am eager for the next book in this series.  I hope Boersema cranks it out fast.

—David Willson