Darker Than Dark


Darker Than Dark
The Vietnam War is now fifty years in America’s past. While it was a divisive war, it was an instructive one. It was awash in misunderstandings and miscalculations, many of which were due to our nation’s unfamiliarity with the challenges and consequences of limited war. The insightful novel, Darker Than Dark, by infantry Marine and three-tour Vietnam veteran Major General John Admire (USMC, Retired), is a story of four young Marines attempting to understand the constraints of limited war…a war in which America is today confronted and challenged.
“The limitations are just one big kabuki dance. We just tip toe and lightly dance around targets we should be stomping to holy hell. We’re dancing this little ballet with soft slippers and the North Vietnamese is Texas two-stepping the hell out of us with clod hoppers,” PFC Hawkins railed after mourning the loss of a friend killed because of the constraints. He was a 17 year-old Boston Italian under no illusions war was fair, but he believed in similar rules for all.
In battle after battle they were bloodied and bruised, but their hearts and souls willed them to overcome searing and scaring tragedies. “We want to fight, “Corporal Thunder once exclaimed to his officer, “but often the rules just won’t let us fight like we could and should. We just want to fight to survive.” He was an Osage Indian from Oklahoma and familiar with war’s unfairness.
Lance Corporal Wiley once philosophized, “We’re killing to survive and live. You learn to kill real fast of you’ll be dead real fast. It’s just the way the war is.” The son of a Mississippi sharecropper with roots deep into slavery, Wiley was convinced the limitations threatened their survival and contributed to too many deaths.
Speaking with plain words but provocative wisdom, the Marines strove to understand the complexities of limited war. While neither scholars nor strategic experts, they talked sincerely in their quest to understand and to survive. Ultimately, PFC Clary probably summarized it best for them and our nation when he proclaimed, “It’s just that everything’s pretty easy or simple in theory or in books. But it’s hard and just plain complicated on the battlefield. It’s just hard to take good theories and good words and fight a bad war with them.” A Southern California surfer and accomplished athlete, he was the team’s intellect.
While the Marines lacked the sophistication and articulate skills of generals and politicians, their thoughts focused on practical desires to survive instead of mystifying political debates. As PFC Clary often stated, “Nothing comes easy in Vietnam, except dying. Everything comes hard in war, especially living.” Their first and foremost thought was survival.
Darker Than Dark, states retired Marine General and U.S. Diplomat, Tony Zinni, “Is a must read for veterans who will immediately relate to what (John Admire) has written and for those who want to understand this conflict from an honest, straight forward front line view.”
Darker Than Dark is available on Amazon, as well as other online retailers and bookstores.
More information can be found at www.JohnAdmire.com