On Friday, November 16, host Jonathan Zarov speaks with Doug Bradley, author of DEROS Vietnam: Dispatches from the Air-Conditioned Jungle. Though this fictional work is not about the actual battlefield, it is based on Doug’s experiences in Vietnam, and deals with “the battle for the human soul.” Doug explains the acronym DEROS -Date Eligible for Return from Over Seas, something that was constantly in the minds of the men who were serving overseas, waiting to return home safely.
The book provides a lengthy introduction that provides readers unfamiliar with the Vietnam War a background of the various aspects of the war, including the draft and lottery. Doug explains how he himself was drafted, and did not face many other options other than jail or moving to Canada, and ended up joining the military. He worked in an army information office. They speak about war journalism, and the significance and role the journalists played during the war. Doug says, “people forget about the extraordinary journalism that came out of that era. Every good journalist from that era….was pretty much in Vietnam or covered the Vietnam War.”
Doug explains that he returned from Vietnam unharmed, and felt a great amount of guilt about those that did not return, or who returned with injuries. To deal with this, he worked to help other Vietnam vets, and decided that it would help to write about it. Inspired by Hemingway’s In Our Time, Doug’s book is a series of connected short stories that deal with the war experience. Doug also reads an excerpt from his book.
Visit Doug Bradely’s official website.
Listen to the full interview here: