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  - sallylou61 - LibraryThing

Lynda Van Devanter wrote Home before Morning, which was published approximately 13 years after she returned home from her war service, as a form of therapy. Lynda vividly shows the effects of the war ... Read full review

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User Review  - KerriL - LibraryThing

An outstanding book. I first read it in college for a literature class and then read it again a few years later. You really get pulled into her life and feel what she is going through. Read full review

Selected pages


Just Another Warm Summer Wight
The AllAmerican Girl
Dunes til Dawn
This Mans Army
New Blood
One Giant Leap For Mankind
Vietnam Rag
Vietnam Sucks
Welcome Home Asshole
Youre in the Army Still
The World?
Acting Normal
My Wife the Vet

Gods Will Be Done
Same Same Stateside
Baby Come
Singing in the Rain
Hump Day
You Were My Heroes
Going Back
Afterword 2001

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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.
Page 29 - The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life.
Page 30 - To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required, not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor it cannot save the few who are rich.
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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