Wednesday, April 7, 2010
FOUR HOURS IN MY LAI by Michael Bilton and Kevin Sim
Bilton and Sim's Four Hours in My Lai is an important and sickening book that should be required reading for anyone who still nurses delusions of glory about the events American historians quaintly refer to as 'the Vietnam experience.' This is a shockingly direct and brutal account of the war's most notorious American atrocity. It is as difficult and necessary to read as, say, Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian for readers who wish to appreciate (I won't say 'understand') the terrible nihilistic psychosis that under the 'proper' conditions can erupt out of otherwise 'ordinary Americans.' Essential and definitive, this is one of the Vietnam books everyone should read. It belongs on the shelf with Herr's Dispatches, O'Brien's The Things They Carried and Going After Cacciato, Stone's Dog Soldiers, Wright's Meditations in Green, Karnow's Vietnam: A History, and Young's The Vietnam Wars.