THE MAILMAN WENT UA (A VIETNAM MEMOIR)

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4.0 of 5 stars, by Mike

I chose to read this book because of my older brother. He served in Vietnam around the same time as David Mulldune. They were both Marines. My brother was not a proficient letter writer, but he used to send us back rolls of film that we would have developed to see what he was up to. When he returned – he asked me to give him every picture we had from Vietnam, and he also wanted every letter he had written us. He would never talk about what happened there with us after that. Like Mulldune, he took the early out after his tour of duty in Nam ended. When he returned to the states he had picked up the habit of smoking dope, which would eventually turn to drinking every day, which would – one wife and three kids later – lead to his death at the age of 60. He would die the same year Mulldune’s memoir was published.

Reading this book shed some light on that part of my brother’s life that I knew little about. Like Mulldune, he joined the Marines to get what he thought would be the best training to prepare him for the war.

In his preface Mulldune wrote that he wants what he has written to be “the next best thing to actually being there.” I think he succeeded in that. When he goes on his first night patrol – he details his feelings as he tries to control the terror and fear that consumed him in a very accessible way. Mulldune shares details about his thirteen month tour in Vietnam – his buddies, constant fears, the weather, the soldiers distrust and loathing for Vietnamese civilians, the deaths and injuries all around him, the racial divisiveness among our troops, the role of luck in surviving. His story does in fact show the war to be “horrific, arbitrary, tragic, and boring.” This is not a story of heroic battles and triumphant returns home. It is war viewed from the ground up.

Since my brother would not talk about what happened in battle, I found a lot of this book’s details enlightening. For instance, I figured you were deployed with the guys you had spent time training with. That is not how it works. Mulldune was assigned to a mortar position and told “… find out who is leaving Danang for the 27th Marines or in that general direction and hitch a ride.” Leading Mulldune to think to himself “What kind of fuckin’ unorganized bullshit is this?” His first impression of Vietnam was in fact, correct – as he relays tales of malnourished troops, sleep deprivation, jungle rot, civilian murders, friendly fire deaths, missions carried out for political vs. tactical reasons. When he first saw soldiers who had been in combat – he said they “looked like shit and smelled like shit.” Months later he would find himself in the reverse situation – seeing the fear in inexperienced soldiers’ eyes when they saw him.

When my brother returned from war – he introduced me to marijuana, the word “beaucoup”, and the card game “Back Alley.” We played that game incessantly. I hadn’t thought of that in years. In the glossary of terms at the end of the book – Mulldune lists the rules to the game in detail. Yep – that is how we played it.

I am glad that I read this book and I recommend it for those interested in a real war story told from a grunt’s point of view. It brought back memories from the early 1970s, and as I mentioned filled in some gaps in the life of my brother. Kudos to Mulldune for recreating not only the battlefield but his feelings during battles - three decades after the fact. I was relieved that his Vietnam tour ended without injuries and I felt a sense of relief as he told of the countdown to his day of departure and his feelings from the plane of leaving Vietnam behind.

I have only one criticism – the title choice is not great. Mulldune explains in the preface the tie-in to not receiving mail overseas, but I didn’t learn until reading the glossary that UA = Unauthorized Absence (equivalent to the Army term “AWOL”). I would suggest a more catchy title like Fear and Loathing in Vietnam as I think that more efficiently encapsulates the tone of this book.


5.0 out of 5 stars, Five Stars, by Amazon Customer 

Enjoyed it. Brought me back in time.


4.0 out of 5 stars, Four Stars, by Amazon Customer "mrebman88" (Cincinnati, OH USA)

Good book for the price paid.


3.0 out of 5 stars, Not totally impressed by the language used in the book., by RICHARD T. WATTS 

I can understand why the Marines are either loved or hated. The style and language this book was written in is typical Gung Ho Marine and being a Vietnam Vet , I did not like it and would not recommend it or read it again.


4.0 out of 5 stars, A realistic look at what the infantry and the severe...,by John P. Sapone 

A realistic look at what the infantry and the severe hardships they endured while in the bush in Vietnam. The language is as it was then so don't expect flowery descriptions of events. I wished the author had included what kind of life he led after his release from the Marines. Rated high for the truthfulness.


5.0 out of 5 stars, A head shakingly good read.,.by ps wheeler

An excellent read about a young man having to deal with situations daily that make you shake your head in disbelief. It isn't a literary classic; it's not meant to be. It is simply written, thoroughly honest and thought provoking. I really enjoyed it.


4.0 out of 5 stars, A tough but rewarding read, by wyray

A tough, uncompromising book that is well written but may be difficult for some readers. The language is very bad and the prose at times lacks polish but those who stick with it will be rewarded with one of the better self written Nam books to come out. I recommend it.


4.0 out of 5 stars, Consequences of War, by M. Costa (PROVIDENCE RI) (REAL NAME)

This book shows how a teenager is transformed into a man. It shows how awful war is and how it affected the lives of those who served.


3.0 out of 5 stars, Genuine descriptions, by Randy W. Powell (Pflugerville, TX United States)

It was an interesting book and most of the incidences were right on target. The author just wasn't a very good storyteller.


5.0 out of 5 stars, Feels like your own experience, by Cheyenne "Cheyenne"

My brother was also a Marine in Vietnam and never talked about it except to say he never thought he'd make it out and everything after was gravy. I feel like this was my brother talking. Pulled me right in to the experience just as the author intended. My heart breaks for the vets who returned to an unthankful and hostile response from their fellow Americans. Most of them were kids. God bless you.

5.0 out of 5 stars, I am very glad I read it, by George A. Goldtrap III 

I really didn't know what to expect from this book. It's not what I usually read and frankly, I wasn't expecting much. However, I am very glad I read it. One of the other reviewers warned that the writing was less than professional and gritty. Violent war scenes and the raw behavior of young men in an unbelievably frightening situation fills each chapter but considering this story I would've expected that.

What I got was the unexpected pleasure of reading this compelling story. The writers' fear and anger are honestly reported. The strategies for coping with this horrendous period in his life are exposed without sugar coating anything. I read during my lunch hour at work and sometimes I'd just ignore lunch and read.

The end of the book was, likewise, very stirring as Mr. Mulldune follows up after all these years and let's us know how he feels now and what he learned from his war experience.

A very eye opening read from the perspective of someone on the front lines of battle and history. Thank you, Mr. Mulldune, for your service.

5.0 out of 5 stars, Nam, by Lowell A. Mayon 

I was in VIETNAM, 69 -70. I enjoyed this book and had some of the same feelings, yet different. I was Army and the Marines operated different.


3.0 out of 5 stars, Truth of real life experiences,  by Marian Streeton 

Goes along way to give one what one really experiences in the life of a grunt. Am inclined to give it 5 Stars.


5.0 out of 5 stars, Must READ for politicians - Don't Let It Keep Happening, by W. Page 

Ordered for my Kindle. Have only read about halfway through "Bless the DI." Just ordered a paperback version of the book to share with my Congressman so he can read before voting to send more guys to die in a war being micromanaged by the White House and the Generals in the pentagon. Today you can go to KMart or Walmart and buy products "made in Vietnam." Too much blood on that for me.

Spent 63-64 at USAF Security Service station in NW Frontier of Pakistan but nobody was shooting at us at that time. The true military warriors who served in Vietnam in the mud have earned the right to call me a pogue but I went where the AF sent me and I did the job they gave me. Luckily no s*** duty where we were.

Hard to find but was able to locate bio of Mulldune. He came back and got his act together. All you vets continue to take care. For Liberty!


4.0 out of 5 stars, An honest account, by Colin Marshall 

Not the usual first person account of war but a good read nonetheless. Recommend as an honest account of one Marine's experience of the war in Vietnam.    


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