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Page 46
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I Want to Kill a Commie for Mommy

By John Zutz (reviewer)

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I Want to Kill a Commie for Mommy by John Lindquist (2021)

This self-published memoir is a series of vignettes memorializing the author's time in the Marine Corps. It includes basic training as well as his Vietnam experiences.

Marine boot camp was much stricter than my experience in the Army. Though we were in different services, and we served in different areas of Vietnam, the Vietnam section of the book includes many experiences that were similar to my own.

Driving down roads that were turned to tunnels by the tree growth, filling sandbags and building bunkers, punished with crappy duty for minor infractions, meeting at night in secluded areas to smoke dope. Been there, done that. Only the names are different.

In fact, I think this is where Lindquist's story stands out. I've talked to many Vietnam vets, and I've read many versions of others' time "in country." The refreshing part of Lindquist's story is the open way he discusses the frequency of drug use, and the variety of drug availability. I've heard, "Oh, we smoked a little pot, but never in the field." I know from my experience that's a lie, and according to Lindquist, the Marine experience wasn't that different.

Lindquist's writing inexperience is obvious. In the beginning, he introduces characters without giving their background (though this improves later in the manuscript). He uses Marine jargon, and though there is a glossary included, it is attached to the back. I'm sure Wendy—who got the hand-written version into readable condition—cleaned up the spelling, but there are few obvious typos.

This isn't the great Vietnam novel, but even with these faults, it's worth a read.

John Zutz is a Milwaukee VVAW member.

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