Review Digger Dogface Brownjob Grunt by Gary R Prisk
MWSA Review by Rob Ballister
Gary Prisk’s DIGGER DOGFACE BROWNJOB GRUNT will be a huge hit with infantry combat veterans, and especially Vietnam veterans.
Lt. Edward Hardin finds himself in Vietnam as a platoon leader. Losing most of his platoon at Dak To, he vows that the survivors will all make it home. But the Viet Cong have other ideas, and they aren’t the only ones against him. The South Vietnamese Army and even his own operations officer seem out to make sure Edward comes home in a body bag, or maybe not at all. First as a platoon leader, then as a company commander, Hardin takes them all on, and deals punishment to anyone who threatens his men. But will it be enough?
Any reader of this book will quickly see that Prisk not only talks the talk, but he walked the walk. Only a man who led soldiers in jungle combat could so vividly capture this special brand of Hell. In addition, Prisk’s creative and darkly humorous writing style, keep the reader on his toes, forcing him to pay close attention to the scenes portrayed so that nothing is missed. Most readers will appreciate that Hardin is a “grunt’s grunt,” focused on his men and only his men, his own career and reputation be damned. Most readers too will catch one of the underlying themes: generals and colonels didn’t know what they were doing fighting the Vietnam War, and left the average foot soldier holding the bag.
I particularly liked Hardin’s human side, especially when referring to his wife Linda. I admit, I cringed when Hardin went on R&R to meet his wife and little girl, knowing it would be too easy for Prisk to go overboard on how Hardin was unable to shed the war while with his bride. But the author handles the situation well, and the book flows up to and around this tender moment without any loss in focus, and rather than detract from the story, it actually strengthens Hardin’s character even further.
Combat veterans, and Vietnam combat vets in particular, will relate to this book, and while they may find that parts of it stir up some less than pleasant memories, overall I’ll wager they will be glad they read it.
Digger Dogface… is the winner of “Best New Fiction”and “Fiction & Literature: Literary Fiction” in The National Best Books 2009 Awards. (May 2010) Digger is a winner in ForeWord Reviews’ Book of the Year Awards 2009. (May 2010) Digger is the Winner for “The Best Fiction Book 2010” in the International Book Awards. Gary Prisk brings to the art and craft of fiction the sensibility and the facility of a poet, rendering his narrative with a depth and texture that is unique and rare. Raw, gritty and saturated with black humor, “Digger…” is tender in a way most will struggle to understand. *****APEX REVIEWS 5-star. Over the past four decades, countless books have been written about the Vietnam War, often highlighting the experiences of soldiers who fought -and -died in it. Very few works, though, offer the unique perspective of the soldier on the ground, in the heat of battle, detailing the conflicting thoughts and emotions that often consumed them from day to day – and moment to moment.—–Throughout the pages of “Digger Dogface…”, though, Gary Prisk provides the reader with just such insight. Based on his own experiences in Vietnam, “Digger…” takes the reader on a vicarious journey through the heart, mind, and soul of a soldier struggling to come to grips with the unfamiliarity of his surroundings, as well as the uncertainty surrounding his future. Deep, raw, and real, Prisk’s riveting narrative will serve as an eye-opening introduction to the gritty truths of war and conflict for readers heretofore influenced by pop culture’s more glamorous depiction of its true nature. Furthermore, the not-so-subtle commentary that Prisk proffers on the Vietnam War – and such conflicts in general – ultimately proves to be quite difficult to rebut. Equally tinged with humor and gravitas, “Digger Dogface…” is an intelligent, insightful take on a pivotal time in world history that will never be forgotten. A highly recommended, enlightening read.