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 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


“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


“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-core Vietnam, 1967-68, and author of Grizzly Years and Walking It Off


“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, American Studies Department, University of Massachusetts, Boston, and editor of Sticks and Stones: Living with Uncertain Wars.


“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


“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
“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

From the back of the book
The author transformed what could have been one veteran’s story into a chorus of voices bearing witness to war and its aftermath. Here are chilling, first person accounts of a firebase in Cambodia overrun. An MP describes the unforgettable attempted escape of a handcuffed Viet Cong. Grunts tell of drug use (including LSD) while on patrol. An essay on war humor, complete with a half-dozen grisly jokes. Postwar, an RTO recalls his months long recovery from grievous wounds. A former grunt in Grenada is interrogated by the same U.S. Army he served with in Vietnam. In fast-paced traveler’s tales the war haunts the narrator’s every step. Veterans respond to the phrase “thank you for your service.” Fake vets and falsifying Army generals are unmasked. The author has breakfast with Muhammad Ali. There are two interviews—twenty years apart, with the acclaimed Vietnamese writer Bao Ninh. A half dozen war poems, with work by Richard Levine, SEAL Preston H. Hood III, and Dave Connolly round out this collection on war and its consequences.

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.