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


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 say what they feel about the phrase “Thank you for your service.” Fake vets and Army generals are unmasked. The author has breakfast with Muhammad Ali. There are two interviews 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