A Snowman in Hell by Doug Berg

Doug Berg’s A Snowman in Hell: Christmas in Vietnam: A Collection of Photos and Stories, which we reviewed when it came out in 2012, is now available in a second edition (Independent Publishing Corp., 109 pp., $24.90, paper). The book came about after VVA member Doug Berg found a picture he took in Vietnam on Christmas night of 1969 in a bunker at an artillery base at VO Dinh in the Central Highlands.

Berg then went about collecting bits of reminiscences and in his book paired them with photos of scraps of Christmas trees, too much booze, and GI Santas distributing toys to Vietnamese children.

Marine Sgt. Major Daniel Bott playing Santa for Vietnamese children book


As our reviewer, Michael Keating, said four years, ago, the book is “a bittersweet tour of wartime Vietnam during Christmas, with big dollops of machismo and melancholy, and one that captures the surprising innocence of young men in danger. The quality of the photos is sometimes good, other times terrible—just like the times.”

Many of the book’s contributors are VVA members. That’s not surprising, since Berg’s most important resource was the Locator column in The VVA Veteran.

To order, go to ipcbooks.storenvy.com/products/654749-a-snowman-in-hell-2nd-edition

—Marc Leepson


Radiant Angel by Nelson DeMille

Nelson DeMille is one great storyteller. And he has been for three decades. The former Vietnam War 1st Cavalry Division lieutenant has been producing compelling, page-turning, plot-twisting mystery/thrillers with regularity since the Vietnam-War-themed Word of Honor came out in 1985. DeMille’s first-class story-telling ability has reaped dividends: His books always hit the best-seller lists.

So it’s no surprise that DeMille’s seventh John Corey thriller, Radiant Angel (Grand Central, 320 pp, $28), scored big with reviewers and the public when it came out last week. In it, wise-ass former FBI agent and former NYPD homicide detective Corey (now on the federal payroll in New York keeping an eye on foreign spies) gets enmeshed in a dastardly Russian scheme involving a Saudi prince, his yacht, and a small but potentially world-shattering nuclear device.

Much of the action takes place on Long Island—where DeMille grew up and still lives, and a place he often uses in his books. As usual, Nelson DeMille has the endearing but rule-breaking Corey stir up trouble involving his complicated personal life, his bosses, and some very bad guys. There’s also a big helping of the old ultra violence—just what you expect from a top-notch thriller that you’ll sure to see under many a beach umbrella this summer.

—Marc Leepson