The Best of Medic in the Green Time

“Reading this collection of Vietnam-related stories and recollections is excruciatingly painful — which is precisely why it demands to be widely read.”
Andrew Bacevich, professor emeritus, Boston University

“This is a powerful tribute to a generation that was told by society to quietly put away their uniforms and never speak again of what the country asked of them, until now. The stories Levy has collected for this book will help Americans better understand the people who were sent to fight on their behalf in Vietnam, and provide a powerful testimony to the inhumanity of war.”
Seth Moulton, Congressman and Marine Veteran

“This book is simply astounding.  I don’t think I’ve ever learned as much from any text about the Vietnam War, and the emotional impact of some of the entries is almost unbearable.  Levy is a terrific writer.”
—-Seth Jacobs, History Department, Boston College, author of America’s Miracle Man in Vietnam: Ngo Dinh Diem, Religion, Race, and U.S. Intervention in Southeast Asia, 1950-1957

“Levy’s The Best of Medic in the Green Time is as close to war as a book can get. Pulling no punches, the writings grapple with PTSD, and the “moral wounds” that every war provides free of charge that take lifetimes to heal, if ever. Those of us who have experienced war first-hand, never get to not experience war, nor truly ever have it leave us. Given that we live in a country where most of the population celebrates and glorifies the military and the wars it’s been sent to wage, we need antidotes of the truth’s of war, and all of its sights, smells, tastes, loss, horror, bonds, kinship, insanity, brutality, and permanent scarring we can be exposed to. This book should be mandatory reading for everyone in the United States.”
Dahr Jamail, author of Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq

“There are few collective biographies of the American experience in Vietnam—like Christian Appy’s Working-Class War—that so vividly present the realities of serving overseas in one of the United States’ longest wars. Marc Levy’s book is one of those volumes that sets the standard for others to follow. Here are the voices of young American artillerymen from Mississippi, US marines serving in combined action platoons with their Vietnamese allies, and veteran poets at their local VFWs grappling with the costs of war. Levy has preserved their voices (and his) so we all can profit from learning what it is like to go to war.”
Gregory A. Daddis, USS Midway Chair in Modern U.S. Military History at San Diego State University and author of Pulp Vietnam: War and Gender in Cold War Men’s Adventure Magazines

“Best of Medic is a richly engaging collection of pieces that are not simply stories, and not simply poems, and not simply nonfiction narratives, but somehow a combination of all those things. That’s the real genius of this book.”
Bruce Weigl, author of Song of Napalm and The Circle of Hanh

“In Medic in the Green Time, Marc Levy delivers one of the most comprehensive books of the war in Vietnam. In a chorus of voices–a sort of collective memoir–he details the grit of combat and horror of being overrun in jungle warfare, as well as the aftermath of going home and dealing with war sickness. There are cowards, drugs, heroes, humor and a gentle acceptance of raw truth–that which is there before judgement–in memory and poetry. Every Vietnam vet’s reality is particular and Medic in the Green Time gives us a rare wide angle view of the fighting at outposts and isolated fire bases. There’s something for all Vietnam vets and anyone interested  in war in this fine book.”
Doug Peacock, 5th Special Forces medic, I-Corps Vietnam, 1967-68, and author of Grizzly Years and Walking It Off

“Medic is the most comprehensive anthology of veteran writing yet published. It is many times better than the oral histories of the war published years ago in which interviews were merely transcribed. First of all, it is a book of writers, professional and other, who’ve found their voice. Levy has stepped back and let his witnesses speak without editorial intrusion. There is a certain grace and large-heartedness to his non-meddling.”
Doug Anderson served as a corpsman with a marine rifle company in Vietnam. He is the author of Keep Your Head Down: Vietnam, the Sixties, and a Journey of Self-Discovery. His most recent book of poems is Horse Medicine.

“Marc Levy’s collection of essays and poetry makes the Vietnam war come alive in ways that even the best contemporary photojournalism of foreign wars does not. Levy invites the reader to bear witness to his and others’ firsthand accounts of combat and its aftermath. The Best of Medic in the Green Time is unflinching—and difficult to put down. Nothing could be more essential in this age of endless Middle East wars and rising violence in America’s own streets.”
Andrea Mazzarino, co-founder of Brown University’s Costs of War Project and military spouse

“Want to know about the realities and consequences of our indefensible wars, Vietnam and others since? Then heed the conscientious accounts of those who were there! If you seriously wish to unearth some essential truths read the finely honed, forthright passages in this essential compendium, many written by Levy himself, and others who survived their distinctive perditions. I can think of no other to surpass it.”
—-Paul Atwood, Ex Marine, American Studies Department, University of Massachusetts, Boston, author of War and Empire: The American Way of Life

“Levy’s startling essays and poems have long graced the pages of Vietnam Veteran’s Against the War The Veteran. Since 2007 he has curated the website Medic in the Green Time. He has now collected these and many other memorable war and peace stories, by his and hand and those of other vets, in The Best of Medic in the Green Time. Much of the book is focused on recollections by Vietnam veterans who tell of  war jokes, drug use, nightmares, being overrun in combat, being thanked ‘for your service. Among the most bizarre, unexpected stories is Roger Byer’s account of going home to Grenada after surviving a tour in Vietnam as an infantry medic and becoming [the prime ministers] pilot. In October 1983, the US military invaded the tiny Caribbean island and suddenly Byer was treated as an enemy in his own nation by US troops. “Standing in my bedroom in front of an open closet was a private first class. He was gingerly holding up my US Army dress greens jacket with its four and a half rows of assorted medals…. The platoon sergeant’s eyes blazed and his nostrils flared, his head swiveled around threateningly. He barked…”Just who the fuck does this jacket belong to?”
Jan Barry, co-founder of VVAW, co-editor of Winning Hearts and Minds, War Poems by Vietnam Veterans, and author of A Citizen’s Guide to Grassroots Campaigns and Earth Songs, and other works.

“Levy has published a powerful, necessary book, a life’s work, really: Best of Medic in the Green Time. Our country should read this book.”
J.D. Scrimgeour, Chair, Department of English, Salem State University

“The contributions of Marc Levy and his fellow vets make for a truly inspirational book that will surely touch each reader’s mind and soul. The experiences recounted highlight profoundly human issues and struggles, they are both unique and universal which is why I strongly recommend reading this book.”
Renée Dickason, Professor of Cultural and Media History, Rennes University, France

“An invaluable and unique contribution to the growing library of Vietnam military histories and biographies…compelling and informative…especially recommended for community, college, and university library Military History collections and Vietnam War supplemental curriculum studies lists. For military buffs, the book is readily available in a digital book format.”
Midwest Book Review

“This is a great book because of the well-written variety of stories and topics Levy covers. It’s also great because of how it’s put together. Collected from a website that Levy, who served as a medic with the First Cavalry Division in the Vietnam War, started in 2007, these colorful stories burst out in all directions. There is no reason to read the more than seventy chapters in order. Dig in and skip around any way you choose. A kaleidoscope of stories awaits you.”
Bill McCloud, Books in Review II, Vietnam Veterans of America

“The Best of Medic in the Green Time is a compilation of stories, reflections, poetry, and downright painful recollections of time in Vietnam. These short but poignant tales make me laugh and make me cry but I keep reading them. Levy’s anthology is addictive.”
Karl Swenson, former platoon leader and company commander of Echo Company, 1st Bn, 7th Cavalry 1st Cavalry Division, Vietnam ’68-’69

From the Introduction

In this book Marc Levy…takes us so far beyond rituals and salutes and “thank you for your service,” far beyond any “baby killer” confessional, to the everyday sounds and smells of that war, starting with the “dim rustling of one hundred packs, helmets, weapons, reluctantly lifted, slung, shifted to place” (“The Quiet Time”). Levy has been writing poetry, reminiscences, fiction, and analysis for decades…partly for himself, but also with the archivist’s sense of social purpose. Levy’s essays and poetry tell us of the intimate costs of war, how it creeps into the soul, and the complexity and contradictions of an Army medic’s experience within the massive structure of the military machine.

Janet McIntosh, Chair
Department of Anthropology
Brandeis University


Marc Levy served as an infantry medic with the First Cavalry in Vietnam and Cambodia in 1970. His decorations include the Combat Medic Badge, Silver Star, two Bronze Stars with V, the Air Medal, and ArCom. In 2016 he published How Stevie Nearly Lost the War and Other Postwar Stories and subsequently, Dreams, Vietnam, and Other Dreams.  His work has appeared in New Millennium Writings, Cutthroat, CounterPunch, Stone Canoe, KGB Bar Literary Magazine, Review LISA, Chiron Review, War, Literature and the Arts and elsewhere. It is forthcoming in Stand (UK) and Paterson Literary Review. He won the 2016 Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families Writing Prize, judged by Brian Turner.