Sunday, June 26, 2011

Book Alert: Nam - Robert McGowan

NAM: Things That Weren't True and Other Stories
some funny ~ some sad
The thirty-seven stories in this sometimes harrowing, sometimes hilarious collection look back at the Vietnam War from a distance of over forty years. It is derived of the author's Vietnam War experience, and adds the perspectives of not only the soldiers themselves, but also their children, spouses, siblings, parents, friends.

This is hardly just another batch of macho war stories. These short fictions, most of them memoir-based, neither glorify nor excuse war. They are, instead, an eloquent testament to the tragic lunacy of war.

Nothing comparable to this collection exists within the literature growing out of the Vietnam War.

Excerpts of reviews for NAM:
"Rob McGowan’s stories have the energy and grip of a pit bull... But the risks any reader takes in entering such tightly leashed tales will be copiously rewarded."
— Brian Bedard, author of the story collection, Grieving on the Run.

"Reading these stories from NAM brings back the heart of the war for all to see and hear. I am a fan of McGowan's work because, even when it’s impossible to know from your own experience whether a story is factually accurate, you know very well that the story is true, really true."
— Carol Brightman, editor of the influential underground Viet-Report during the late 1960s.

"The tales in NAM: Things That Weren’t True and Other Stories approach their troubling subject from all sides, chipping away at the mysterious monolith that was the American war. In this collection, Robert McGowan displays remarkable range and depth."
— Stewart O’Nan, eminent American novelist and editor of the anthology, The Vietnam Reader.

"This collection is unique... a narrative imbued in turn with brutal frankness, pathos, irony, and the blackest of humor. The author’s sense of place is palpable; his eye for detail crazy-clear; his ear for dialogue both true and great fun."
— Susan O’Neill, an Army nurse in Vietnam (1969) and author of the Vietnam War story collection, Don’t Mean Nothing.

(NAM is published by Meridian Star Press, an imprint of the great Murder Slim Press and is an impressive debut for this new line.)


pattinase (abbott) said...

I am definitely looking for this one.

Jack Badelaire said...

May have to pick this up. I have the memoir collection NAM by Mark Baker, published in 1981. Definitely a book of the same vein.

Rick said...

I went to to get it. The asking price was $159.00. I can't afford it.

Cap'n Bob said...

Last night I finished the only Nam book I've ever read--mostly for research purposes.

James Reasoner said...

That Amazon price has got to be a typo. Or a third-party seller has got an ARC priced really high. I'm sure the regular edition won't be nearly as much when it comes out.

Steve Hussy said...

Don't buy NAM from Amazon at $159! The book will be available soon via and also directly from Amazon in the USA and UK. Thanks for your comments... and thanks to James for posting about the release of NAM.

Ron Scheer said...

Best books for me on Nam were nonfiction and memoirs, like Tobias Wolff's IN PHARAOH'S ARMY and Tim O'Brien's THE THINGS THEY CARRIED. I know people loved TREE OF SMOKE, but I didn't get what all the fuss was about.

Steve Hussy said...

Hellow everyone. Just wanted to say that NAM: Things That Weren't True and Other Stories is now available properly through both Amazon in the US ( and Amazon in the UK (
Thank you again, James, for posting this alert!