In Country by Forrest R. Lindsey

The simple fact is that Forrest R. Lindsey’s memoir— In Country: My Memories of Vietnam and After (Dorrance, 198 pp. $47, hardover; $36, paper; $34, Kindle)—is a confession. In it, Lindsey chronicles his transformation from a nearsighted, skinny 20-year-old to a dispassionate killer.

Lindsey tells his history with little interference from his ego. He mainly presents facts to the reader, and the most telling is: “I had picked up the habit of shooting whoever I hit after they went down, usually a burst of three rounds, just to make sure he stayed down.”

By the time that habit was ingrained, he had come to believe that death wasn’t that frightening and that “when you’re dead, you’re dead.”

A 1965 enlistee in the U.S. Marine Corps, Lindsey arrived in Phu Bai in January 1966 and progressed from an accident-prone 5-ton truck driver to an OJT artilleryman, a gunner, and then a scout with an Artillery Forward Observer Team as part of  Echo Company of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines. He extended his 13-month tour to move up to the scout level where, along with directing supporting artillery, he became a rifleman.

“Grunts had their own uniquely dangerous war,”  he says. They “were always active. Every single day was spent out in the field and patrolling, looking for the enemy.” Lindsey was amazed to learn that all of his fellow grunts had been wounded—many as many as three times, which automatically qualified them to go home—but they self-doctored minor wounds so they could stay with the unit.

Ignoring regulations, Lindsey continued to use an M-14 rifle after American forces converted to the M-16. More than once, Marines looked to him for the riflery magic their weapons could not provide.

Lindsey took part in 19 operations before being wounded in May 1967. He writes about a Marine attack on a suspected Viet Cong battalion headquarters that easily qualified as a walk through hell. “I won’t describe what I saw,” he says, after watching an overhead 155-mm-howitzer-round booby-trap kill a dozen Marines and wound many more.

He is less hesitant to discuss his own wound—a “comminuted fracture” from a bullet that pulverized his thigh bone into a cloud of fragments. Surgeons put him in a full body cast and saved his leg. His two years in a hospital were nearly as horrid as his time in combat except that the new enemy consisted of Navy and Air Force nurses who outranked enlisted men and haughitly ignored their needs.

Discharged from the Marine Corps when his four-year enlistment ended, Lindsey finished rehabilitating his leg, went through post-traumatic stress, enrolled in college, married, divorced, and drank too much. In 1973, the Marine Corps invited him back and commissioned him as a lieutenant. After becoming an artillery battalion commander and serving a total of 27 years, Lindsey retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1996.

He says he has no regrets for his actions in the Vietnam War, and feels strong compassion for wounded and dead Marines. “The Marine Corps exists to kill people or to be killed in the process of killing people,” he says.

Although In Country initially offers the standard war memori litany of arriving in Nam, eating C-rations, and taking cold showers, Lindsey’s recollections about his three jobs and medical treatment presented surprises and facts that were new to me.

Forest Lindsey’s experiences went well beyond what most Vietnam War veterans encountered.

—Henry Zeybel

My Year in Vietnam by Phillip Elkins

If I had to choose one word to best describe Phillip Elkins’ My Year in Vietnam: How I Managed to Survive: June 1966 to June 1967 (Senior Felipe Press, 374 pp. $20, paper; $9.99, Kindle), it would be “ambivalent.” The book qualifies as a war memoir, as well as a tell-all tale about military life, a love story, a study in psychology, a tour guide, soft-core pornography, and an indictment of whomever or whatever the reader prefers.

Elkins, AKA “Senor Felipe,” pours out attitude, insight, and humor in abundance. He can describe taking a piss in a style that simultaneously educates, repulses, and amuses. He has perfected the mood and voice of a 19-year-old, unhappy draftee who lacks goals beyond the moment.

This is Elkins’ second book about his Army years. His first, Running from the Fire, tells of his growing up in East L.A. and training as an Army medic. A third, Coming Home from Vietnam, is in the works. Presently, he hosts the “L.A. Sounds with Sr. Felipe” show on KZFR-FM in Chico, California.

During the first half of his year in Vietnam Elkins served under the pseudonymous Sgt. Ulysses Sidell, who the men considered as more dangerous that the Viet Cong. They operated from Bien Hoa’s 3rd Surgical Hospital in the 1st Preventive Medicine Unit attached to 56th Med.

Their mission centered on reducing infectious diseases, water problems, food spoilage, mosquitoes, rats, and fleas. Sidell sent his men on unproductive cross-country trips to remote sites in the Viet Cong-controlled countryside. When the unit went to Dak To, the VC overran their compound.

Elkins’ descriptions of combat and post-battle scenes contain an uninhibited nakedness of emotions that are gut-wrenching. He does not dwell on gore; he makes concrete observations about death and moves on.  

Naturally, the men despised Sgt. Sidell. Elkins played a major role as spokesman for his fellow draftees. They sent protest letters to their commander and—surprise—Sgt. Sidell was reassigned.

At this point the story makes a U-turn. Under a new commander, Elkins found a broadminded friend. Because Elkins knew his job and did it well, the new lieutenant gave him almost unlimited freedom and Elkins took advantage of it.      

Elkins at An Khe, Christmas 1966

He continued to meet his obligations as a traveling preventative medicine lecturer and trained new troops to emulate his humorous, sex-centered, and highly effective manner of educating the masses on how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.

Parallel with that throughout the second half of the book, Elkins does little more than frantically pursue women, day after day in Saigon and during R&R in Bangkok. The story becomes a sexual romp with a lineup of beautiful women with whom he falls in love. He promises the moon to each of them—after all, he was 19 years old.

Elkins repeatedly shatters today’s standards about sex and race. He warns the reader that he uses “some harsh words, some derogatory terms, and some graphic scenes.” He used them, he says, because he wanted his book to be “as realistic as possible.” He delivers in every department.

Phil Elkins loathed the Army. It stole a year of his life for no productive purpose, he believes. The book’s outrageousness shows, however, that despite the system, he followed his self-centered lifestyle, which makes his Vietnam War story one of a kind.

—Henry Zeybel

Fort Bragg to Hué by James M. Dorn

What is it with all these lawyers who, having served in the Vietnam War, after retiring from the bar, write a war memoir and not one about their lengthy legal careers. My theory is that their short war experiences are more memorable than their decades-long practice of law. 

One of the latest such war memoirs is Fort Bragg to Hué: A Paratrooper with the 82nd and 173rd Airborne in Vietnam, 1968-1970 (McFarland, 234 pp. $29.95, hardcover; $13.49, Kindle) by retired Army Maj. James M. Dorn. In this highly readable and lucid book, Dorn chronicles his two-year Vietnam War tour of duty, during which he served in three of the war’s four Corps—all except IV Corps in the Mekong Delta.

2nd Lt. Dorn and his 82nd Airborne unit—the Third Brigade—were sent to Vietnam on an emergency deployment in February 1968. He began as a Public Information Officer running a small brigade newspaper and added Post Exchange Officer to his portfolio. After five months, he was transferred and, as an XO, commanded his battalion’s defense perimeter at night for nine months. Then he was transferred to Saigon for five months to lead a platoon defending the U.S. Embassy. 

Dorn found his niche and his love as a platoon leader. Then he was transferred to the 173rd, where, for four months, he was in command of a recon platoon. After yet another transfer, he commanded another infantry platoon for six months. Then, after turning down an offer to be a staff XO, he ran squad-size patrols as a platoon leader in the pacification program. 

Dorn spent his final months in-country as an Assistant Operations Officer at battalion HQ.  He describes all those assignments in great detail.

A 173rd Trooper in-country

The strength of the book is how Dorn conveys the boredom, fatigue, mud, rain, leeches, and the endless and exhausting days humping the boonies on patrol without contact with the enemy. He pulls no punches in his criticism of some of the decisions made by superiors, several of which led to unnecessary casualties. He was relentless in his work ethic and preparation for operations and for the safety of his men. He was creative when necessary and—when deserved—praises his superior officers.

Dorn had limited contact with the Vietnamese people, but, after politely refusing to use nuoc mam (fermented fish) sauce at the one meal he had with a Vietnamese family, I hope he has since acquired a taste for it.

Dorn recounts a USO show in which he first thought the veteran actor and World War II veteran Tom Tully was a “wino.” In the book, he belatedly offers an apology and hopes that Tully will accept. Alas, Tully, who was nominated for an Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his role in The Caine Mutiny, cannot accept because he died in 1982. 

While on that Vietnam USO tour, Tully contracted a filarial worm, which ultimately led to the amputation of his left leg, as well as to pleuritis, deafness and serious debilitation, and alll but ended his acting career.

One can never imagine the story behind the person who pops out of a chopper for a USO show.

–Harvey Weiner

A Tour of Chuong Thien Province by John Raschke

John Raschke’s A Tour of Chuong Thien Province: A U.S. Army Lieutenant with MACV Advisory Team 73 in the Mekong Delta,1969-1970 (McFarland, 238 pp. $29.95, paperback) tells the remarkable story of a young second lieutenant’s 10-and-half month tour as part of a MACV advisory team in one of the most dangerous—if not the most dangerous–provinces of the 44 in South Vietnam. Raschke, a life member of Vietnam Veterans of America, grew up on an Illinois farm, was one of ten children in a house with no indoor plumbing, and educated in a one-room schoolhouse. 

His book is well written and is as much a history as a war memoir. Considering that Rascke kept a diary only of his combat operations and that he waited almost fifty years to begin the book, the level of detail and recall in it is extraordinary. It is supported by substantial research, endnotes, a glossary, a “what happened to them” section, and an index. 

The contribution of this book to Vietnam War military history is Raschke’s documentation of the role of U.S. military advisers to the South Vietnamese. Each adviser had a separate role from other members of his 50-person advisory team and each role required training, initiative, and judgment. John Raschke had all of these qualities, well beyond his years. I know—I was his hooch mate. 

Raschke was the engineer adviser, but when he realized his more experienced Vietnamese engineer counterpart didn’t often need his advice, he made himself useful to the Team and the war effort by volunteering to take part in many combat operations. He was so effective in the latter role that the Province Senior Advisor officially switched Raschke’s duty position for a month so that he could qualify for the Combat Infantryman Badge, his proudest decoration and one he richly deserved.

Among Raschke’s many combat operations was his heroic rescue under intense enemy fire of a fellow Team member who had been shot six times, including a bullet in his heart and one in his head. He miraculously survived and Rascke (and I) visited him a few days later in the Can Tho hospital. A mason jar with six bullets inside sat at his bedside.

The book emphasizes the warm relationship between the American Team members and the South Vietnamese. To the Team, they were not “gooks” or “slopes” or “the other,” but rather close friends and equals. They were combat buddies.

John Raschke spent decades trying to locate members of the Team, including those who were members when he was not there. The Team existed for nine years. The book discusses the seven reunions Raschke has organized since 2009, their cathartic and healing aspects, and the new and renewed friendships that have resulted. 

The first reunion in 2009 included the first meeting between Raschke and the soldier he rescued from the rice paddy since we saw him in the Can Tho hospital 40 years earlier.

In Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, the fictional narrator recreates his youth as filtered through his subsequent life experiences and accumulated wisdom. In a sense, John Raschke does the same in this book, but with a humility and a modesty that Proust’s narrator lacked.

Looking back, Raschke understates what he did, and that makes the book even more compelling.

–Harvey Weiner

MASH Doctor in Vietnam: by Reuel S. Long

Reuel Long has lived a highly challenging life. In the Vietnam War as an anesthesiologist, sometimes surgeon, and too-frequently a soul-blistering, life-or-death triage doctor, he dealt with more gore and destruction than any human being should have to endure. His compassion for the troops he treated taught him to detest leaders such as President Richard Nixon who prosecuted the war despite preaching otherwise.

Long tells his life story in MASH Doctor in Vietnam: A Memoir of the War and After (McFarland, 227 pp. $29.95, paperback; $13.49, Kindle). He begins by unfolding his experiences as a young man and progressed to the present time with an emphasis on his work treating people with combat wounds. 

Long smoothly describes his medical training and his initial jobs in emergency rooms that prepared him for his medical responsibilities as an “obligated volunteer” (draftee) in and around Chu Lai and Da Nang during his 1970-71 Vietnam War tour of duty. At the 27th MASH unit and then the 95th Evacuation Hospital, he handled countless offbeat situations that built on each other. During that year, his life held no dull moments.

He provided anesthesia for amputations and eviscerations and laparotomies for bowel perforations and bleeding, as well as debridements of fragmentation wounds, and craniotomies. Case after case of unsightly mutilations depressed him. As he says: “All of us honed our skills and got very efficient at our tasks, but at a terrible price.”

Long more than captures the trauma of the time with stories such as a soldier begging doctors not to amputate his legs; a shattered man with half of a body striking a nurse so he can be left alone to die; and the image of a torso hacked by spinning helicopter rotor blades.

For Long’s MASH team, the destruction of bodies reached a climax when the North Vietnamese Army attacked Fire Support Base Mary Ann on March 28, 1971, killing 30 Americans and wounded nearly 80. Overwhelmed by the number of casualties and threatened by rocket attacks, doctors and other medical personnel wore helmets and flak jackets in the operating rooms.   

Since the war, Long has concentrated on doctoring and fatherhood, which he talks about at length. He has worked and lived primarily in his hometown of Flint, Michigan. Forty-four years after the war, Long met and befriended Jim Dehlin, a double-amputee he had helped recover after being serverely wonded in a booby-trap explosion in Vietnam. Long includes a mini-memoir of Dehlin with many photographs about the former lieutenant’s highly successful post-war life.

Vietnam War MASH hospital medical personnel waiting for casualties

Taking a last look at events from a half century gone by, the final chapter of MASH Doctor in Vietnam offers a tell-all account of the jamming problem of the U.S. Army’s M-16 rifle. Metallurgist Dan Sebastian helped Long with his insider knowledge of the issue. Although Sebastian’s information was classified, the two men decided it should be publicized even at this late date. Long cites the case as an example of governmental mismanagement that needlessly cost the lives of American fighting men.

I enjoyed the book because, in thirty years of both military and civilian medical duties, Reuel Long accepted challenges beyond the norm and solved problems by improvising solutions. His independent character favored his patients above the medical administrators, and he freely shared his skills and time among the needy.       

–Henry Zeybel

Passing Time by W.D. Ehrhart

Passing Time: Memoir of a Vietnam Veteran against the War (McFarland, 303 pp. $19.99, paperback; $10.99, Kindle) is a newly published revised edition of W.D. Ehrhart’s classic 1989 memoir of his time in the Vietnam War and a few years after. Ehrhart is considered by many to be the most important American poet to come out of the war. He served thirteen months as a U.S. Marine in South Vietnam.

Passing Time is the second of Ehrhart’s memoir trilogy. The others are Vietnam-Perkasie: A Combat Marine’s Memoir (1983) and Busted: A Vietnam Veteran in Nixon’s America (1995).

Bill Ehrhart enlisted in the Marines right out of high school in the spring of 1966. Since he was only 17, he needed his parents’ signatures to join. He wanted to go to Vietnam, and got his wish, serving a combat-heavy tour based at Con Thien and seeing action throughout I Corps. He recalls a time when he was reading a letter from his mother encouraging him to stop smoking while he was in the middle of an artillery assault.

On one mission Ehrhart moved from one hamlet to another over several hours, blowing up and burning hooches. At the time he hated such actions, but felt as though they were necessary. He had only wanted to do his duty as he had been raised to understand it. Receiving a Purple Heart, he considered it a “booby prize” since all you need to do to get it is “to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

After serving in Vietnam the young Marine returned to a country that appeared, in his eyes, to have radically changed. “When I’d gotten back to the States, I discovered that in my absence America had become an alien place in which and to which I no longer seemed to belong.” He volunteered to go back to Vietnam, but was sent to Okinawa and then the Philippines.

Once he was out of the Corps Ehrhart began attending classes at Swarthmore College in his home state of Pennsylvania. He was older than most of his fellow students and soon became aware that he was likely the only Vietnam War veteran at the school.

In college he had a change of heart about the war and his role in it. Large events spurred the changes, such as the May 1970 National Guard shootings at Kent State University and the release of the Pentagon Papers, but he also had reoccurring nightmares of atrocities he had witnessed.

Ehrhart (left) in country

Ehrhart joined the student antiwar movement, he says, when he realized “It was time to stop the war.” Once he became involved, he went all in.

Many of sentences in Passing Time are naturally poetic. Such as:

“The moon was almost full, and the sky was clear, and the trees and buildings cast shadows on the dark earth.”

“As the gray false dawn gave way to a glowing pink fringe on the edge of a cloudless sky….”

“My whole life didn’t really lie in front of me, but rather lay behind me broken and scattered like the bodies of the Vietnamese I had left broken and scattered among the green rice shoots.”

It’s great to see Bill Ehrhart’s work republished by McFarland. His memoirs and poems need to be read as long as there is a memory of America’s participation in war in Vietnam.

–Bill McCloud

Marching to a Silent Tune by Gerald R. Gioglio

Gerald Gioglio’s Marching to a Silent Tune: A Journal from We Shall to Hell No (ACTA Publications. $19.95, paperback) is a compelling book. This Vietnam War era memoir is a well-executed scholarly effort worthy of a graduate thesis. It also is a deep dive into the psyche of a newly drafted soldier coming to grips with his Catholic upbringing and its conflicting demands as he goes through Army Basic Training and Infantry AIT with an assignment to Vietnam in the offing.

Gioglio, a life member of Vietnam Veterans of America, began questioning the morality of war based on his upbringing, as well as military life in general. He describes Basic and AIT as dehumanizing and degrading, with drill instructors belittling him and his fellow trainees as they try to turn them into trained Viet Cong killers. 

Throughout the book Gioglio poses a series of italicized questions and observations that read like a psychologist’s footnotes from a counseling session. It’s almost as if he’s falling back on his religious training to define the unwholesome challenges he encounters in the military.

This confused and unhappy soldier finally decides that the solution to his inner turmoil is to become a Conscience Objector and to seek a discharge from the Army on that basis, thus avoiding being deployed to the warzone and forced to take the lives of enemy combatants.  Spoiler alert: Jerry Gioglio eventually gains CO status, is discharged, and joins Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

This is a book suffused with deeply held beliefs and is a worthwhile read—perhaps a necessary read.

–Tom Werzyn

A Different Military Life by Stephen Frushour

Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Stephen Frushour strings together countless engaging anecdotes in his colorful memoir A Different Military Life: Interesting Short Stories from 12418 Days of Service (226 pp., $8.50, paperback). Frushour guides the reader through virtually every step of a military career that spanned four decades. It begins with with his plebe year at West Point in the fall of 1964, and moves through his service as an artillery officer in the Vietnam War and his transition to becoming an orthopedic surgeon in the Army and then the Air Force.

Anyone even remotely familiar with the four years of training and service at the United States Military Academy likely knows that the first year—the Plebe year—can be the most difficult. Upperclassmen inspect every aspect of the new cadet’s life; demerits are handed out for the slightest infraction. Whether a cadet’s uniform is not impeccably turned out, or a bed is not perfectly made, the opportunities are endless.

But, as with other elements in his life, Frushour finds a quiet humor in it all, offering the reader reasonable questions: Exactly how is it possible to have clean laundry improperly placed in a clean laundry bag? Why is it necessary that a cadet design his own guide to refer to when he is ordered to slice a cake into seven pieces of exactly the same size? The purpose, of course, is to instill in the cadet habits of precision that must soon become instinct—a given for anyone training to become an artillery officer.

In Vietnam, the newly minted lieutenant was assigned as a Forward Observer, Fire Direction Officer, and Air Observer with C Battery of the 1st Battalion/27th Field Artillery Regiment in from February 1969 to February 1970. He Frushour makes plain for the reader two key aspects of a mobile unit he was part of that this reviewer was previously unaware of. First, despite their appearance, tracked vehicles’ resemblance to tanks is misleading. Unlike a tank, the vehicle’s aluminum construction makes it vulnerable to enemy fire, and requires extra vigilance by the crew when going into action.

One harrowing event Frushour recounts occurs when, on returning from a combat assignment, the brakes of one track failed. In order to stay on the road, the driver often had to rotate the vehicle as much as two hundred-seventy degrees. When it finally broke down,  Frushour offers a gripping account of he and his men finding themselves trapped and outnumbered in enemy territory waiting for help that they thought would never arrive.

Like many such accounts, Frushour provides context with each anecdote. Yet, at the same time, he requires the reader to be familiar with military strategy and the political landscape of the war in Vietnam. The work also would benefit from stronger editing, especially with formatting and spelling.

But these are minor missteps when considering the colorful journey Steve Frushour brings to us as he leaves Vietnam for Germany, and then returns to U.S., as well as his transition from soldier to surgeon, and from the Army to the Air Force.

This is account of a life well lived is as enjoyable as it is edifying.

–Mike McLaughlin

Hail and Farewell by Frank Jodaitis

Frank Jodaitis’s Hail and Farewell: A Vietnam Era Memoir (BookBaby, 656 pp., $26.99, paper; $7.99, Kindle) is a prodigious effort by a first-time author. Jodaitis adroitly blurs the line between memoir and fiction with this first-person account of his adventures before, during, and after his 1969-70 Army Engineering tour of duty in the Vietnam War. The post-war chapters tend to devolve into minutia regarding people, places, and occurrences, but continue to tell his story.

Jodaitis, a life member of Vietnam Veterans of America, starts by describing his college days at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts. In 1967, he graduated with a Civil Engineering degree and an ROTC commission as a U.S. Army 2nd Lieutenant. The book’s title refers to the social gatherings that signaled the welcomings and departures of fellow officers in the commands in which he served.

Through a series of assignments, locations and commands, Jodaitis brings the reader along as a passenger—and at times as a confidant—as he navigates the places and personalities he encountered during his time in the war. An abundance of dialogue drives the narrative.

As the chapters unwind, Jodaitis tends to close a good number of them with a bit of editorializing and introspection. These asides make for an interesting read and a deeper understanding of his frequently almost-morose takes on his surroundings. At times, some of today’s events factor into his musings.

A constant thread is his wartime ebbing and flowing relationship with a girl back home, including with her changing attitudes about the war. Suffice it so it was not a happy time. Jodaitis uses his Epilogue to bring some of his relationships up to date, tie up the book, and make plain his feelings about the war.

In all, this is an interesting, albeit at times overly detailed, book that is not exactly a quick read but a deeper one than many other Vietnam War memoirs.

–Tom Werzyn

The Dreaming Circus by Jim Morris

The works of soldier-writer Jim Morris—who served three Army Special Forces Vietnam War tours of duty—have enraptured readers for decades. War Story, his Vietnam War memoir, and The Devil’s Secret Name, largely about his time as a combat correspondent for Soldier of Fortune magazine during the 1982 war in Lebanon, are but two examples.

With his latest book, The Dreaming Circus: Special Ops, LSD, and My Unlikely Path to Toltec Wisdom (Bear & Company, 288 pp. $20, paper; $13.99, Kindle), Morris proves to be an even more fascinating person than legend holds.

Morris feels bitter about the way the U.S. abandoned the Vietnamese people in 1975. He reveals just how bitter in the opening pages of The Dreaming Circus:

“When the U.S. bailed on the people it had sent me to save all that patriotism died. The U.S. toyed with those people’s lives for a decade and a half, and then casually abandoned them when the going got tough.”

Before he served in Vietnam, Morris patriotically supported the war. After being wounded four times, that patriotism evaporated when the U.S. failed to keep a promise to the beloved Montagnards with whom he fought. “When I retired from the Army, I had done all the right stuff,” he writes. “I had repeatedly put my life on the line [but was] abandoned by the people who sent me to do it. The basis on which I had built my life was destroyed.”

Back home, in late 1969, Morris’s consciousness was awakened after he read Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid and became aware of Ken Kesey and his frolicking busload of hippies known as the Merry Pranksters. “One thing I noticed is how many in Kesey’s group were ex-GIs. Not just ex-GIs, but former combat arms officers,” Morris writes.

Jim Morris In Country

In one of his own forays into the world of LSD, the lives of Jim Morris, soldier, and Jim Morris, acid imbiber, seem to collide. In The Dreaming Circus, he writes about “walking into his soul.” That is precisely what he did in finding “the path to Toltec wisdom.”

The Toltecs, who flourished from the 10th to the 12th centuries, were the predecessors of the Aztecs. For Morris, their wisdom was channeled through two people he writes extensively about: mystical historian Carlos Castaneda, author of The Teachings of Don Juan, with whom Morris seems to have connected in a deeply spiritual sense, and author-shaman don Miguel Ruiz, whom he interviewed.

From their teachings, Morris learned “spells, prayers, and ceremonies are ways of focusing intent to create what you want. That means the world you experience is part of you, as much as the other way around. You are a wave in a vast ocean, but the ocean is you. Claim it all. See what you want to see. You have eternity to complete this task.”

The Dreaming Circus: Special Ops, LSD, and My Unlikely Path to Toltec Wisdom is a book that could well help readers do so.

–Marc Philip Yablonka

Marc Phillip Yablonka is a Burbank, California-based military journalist and author. His book Hot Mics and TV Lights: The American Forces Vietnam Network, will be published in 2023 by Double Dagger Books.