Described as ‘a small book in terms of pages, but huge in story’, McGinnis’s new novella captures the raw, rare yet very real experience that tens of thousands of young men experienced in Vietnam. Following one soldier’s life during active duty, ‘Good For One Ride’ is poised to resonate with readers around the world.
Santa Fe, NM -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/28/2013 -- For those who served in Vietnam, what they saw and experienced is charred into their memories forever. For millions who didn’t serve or were born after the conflict, a burning curiosity and thirst to find out more makes Gary McGinnis’ latest novella a must-read.
‘Good For One Ride’ sets aside the blood-and-guts details to instead depict the haunting, bold and vivid human side to the Vietnam War. As one of the only books of its kind, the memoir-style novel is shedding new light onto a side of the war that is rarely made public.
A review from his editor, Warren Layberry says it all:
This is not a novella about the Tet Offensive or even about the war in Vietnam. It is a thoughtful, often sobering, insight into the lives of the young men who found themselves there. It is about the psychological landscape that shaped the lives of those who were forced to navigate it. It is a very human story with a distinct lack of heroes or villains. Gary McGinnis is a writer with a good eye for detail and solid sense for the human condition. His portraits—not just of American GIs but also of the people of Vietnam—are real and immediate, and a reader cannot help but feel connected to the human element of the manuscript.
Needless to say, this is a novella that would be of obvious immediate interest to anyone who has studied (or experienced) the war in Vietnam—or elsewhere in the late twentieth century for that matter. Its deft human portrayals though make its appeal far broader than that, much in the same way that the appeal Cold Mountain stretches beyond the ranks of Civil War enthusiasts.
As the author explains, his book comes to life through his own experiences in Vietnam.
“The story is enhanced by my experience as a water purification specialist during the Vietnam Tet offensive in 1968. It describes the descent into fragmentation for a combat engineer,” says McGinnis.
Continuing, “As an author, I tried to portray the descent into PTSD for the main character, and it would apply to anyone who has been involved in Vietnam combat, or combat relevant to today in the Middle East, and for those soldiers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder from those tours.”
Further glowing reviews add weight to McGinnis’ goals.
This vivid short novel utterly transports the reader to the field of war: its infinite manifestations of fear and dreamlike connection and nightmarish loss. In each section the protagonist enters a more terrifying zone of psychological transformation. On every page, the skillful storytelling conveys the immediate effects and the permanent consequences of situations the narrator describes this way: "I strained to see enemy movements everywhere, to feel beyond my senses, to know without reason, to hear without hearing, to become united with the stench and to endure." Gary McGinnis has written a wise, haunting story that is a remarkable gift to our nation at this moment when our citizens wish to honor and to truly make the effort to understand the soldiers returning to us and those who cannot return,” says Kevin McIlvoy, teacher and author of ‘Little Peg’.
Jim McGarrah, author of ‘A Temporary Sort of Peace’ and winner of the Eric Hoffer Award, was equally as impressed. He added, “I’m forty-five years from The Tet Offensive in Vietnam, but I remember it as if the bodies in the streets of Hue were still warm. I’ve read hundreds of books about that war and written several more, but the one thing that most often eludes these stories, my own included, is the terrifying sense of anticipation that every soldier carries through every day and then brings home to live with for the rest of his life, should he be so lucky. To feel that every second in a war zone holds the origin of your oblivion and to realize once you leave that you are living on time borrowed from corpses is emotionally exhausting and almost impossible to put into words. And yet, Gary McGinnis has managed to do just that with grace and lyricism and great honesty. His book Good for One Ride is a small book in terms of pages, but it is a huge story. If you read it, you will understand the scourge of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that curses combat veterans forever. This is an important work and only enhances the Vietnam War literature that has come before.”
With the book expected to be in high demand, interested readers are urged to purchase their copies as soon as possible after release.
‘Good For One Ride’ is due for imminent release, published by Friesen Press. It will be available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other national retailers.
About the Author: McGinnis
McGinnis served as an Army water purification specialist during the entire 1968 Tet Offensive. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his wife, Anita.