Home Before Morning: The Story of an Army Nurse in Vietnam

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Univ of Massachusetts Press, 1983 - Biography & Autobiography - 331 pages
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Lynda Van Devanter was the girl next door, the cheerleader who went to Catholic schools, enjoyed sports, and got along well with her four sisters and parents. After high school she attended nursing school and then did something that would shatter her secure world for the rest of her life: in 1969, she joined the army and was shipped to Vietnam. When she arrived in Vietnam her idealistic view of the war vanished quickly. She worked long and arduous hours in cramped, ill-equipped, understaffed operating rooms. She saw friends die. Witnessing a war close-up, operating on soldiers and civilians whose injuries were catastrophic, she found the very foundations of her thinking changing daily.

After one traumatic year, she came home, a Vietnam veteran. Coming home was nearly as devastating as the time she spent in Asia. Nothing was the same -- including Lynda herself. Viewed by many as a murderer instead of a healer, she felt isolated and angry. The anger turned to depression; like many other Vietnam veterans she suffered from delayed stress syndrome. Working in hospitals brought back chilling scenes of hopelessly wounded soldiers. A marriage ended in divorce. The war that was fought physically halfway around the world had become a personal, internal battle.

Home before Morning is the story of a woman whose courage, stamina, and personal history make this a compelling autobiography. It is also the saga of others who went to war to aid the wounded and came back wounded -- physically and emotionally -- themselves. And, it is the true story of one person's triumphs: her understanding of, and coming to terms with, her destiny.

 

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User Review  - Lia Silver - Goodreads

The story of an American nurse in Vietnam during the war. Probably the single best Vietnam war memoir I've read, and I've read lots of them. Well-written, brutal, vivid, and extremely honest. If you ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Just Another Warm Summer Wight
11
The AllAmerican Girl
21
Mercy
32
Dunes til Dawn
50
This Mans Army
62
New Blood
75
MasCal
95
One Giant Leap For Mankind
108
Vietnam Rag
176
Vietnam Sucks
189
ShortTimers
194
Welcome Home Asshole
209
Youre in the Army Still
224
The World?
243
Acting Normal
263
My Wife the Vet
285

Gods Will Be Done
126
Same Same Stateside
133
Baby Come
150
Singing in the Rain
155
Hump Day
166
You Were My Heroes
298
Going Back
304
Afterword 2001
317
Glossary
327
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Page 30 - In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility; I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation.
Page 30 - Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
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Page 29 - And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe - the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.

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About the author (1983)

Lynda Van Devanter served as the National Women's Director of the Vietnam Veterans of America. She counseled other Vietnam veterans and conducted seminars around the country. Coping with ill health since her tour of duty in Vietnam, she died in November 2002 at age fifty-five.

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