The National Book Award-winning author of Paco’s Story returns with a haunting memoir of his year as a combat soldier in Vietnamand the ghosts he encounters on his return 30 years later. Download and start listening now!
In 1966 just as the American military buildup in Vietnam was going into overdrive a working-class 22-year-old from Chicago was drafted into the army. Larry Heinemann served one year of combat duty with the 25th Infantry Division most of it in the vicinity of Cu Chi. It was the most horrific and consequential year of his life and it served as the raw material for his two classic war novels Close Quarters and Paco's Story.
The memoir chronicles a 1992 railway journey Heinemann took from Hanoi to HoChi Minh City as the guest of the Vietnam Writers' Association. Along the way he encounters Vietnamese war veterans and views sites that trigger powerful memories. His journey ends with a crawl through the tunnels of Cu Chi and a climb up the sacred mountain that is this book's namesake. A work of mourning and an act of reconciliation Black Virgin Mountain considers the psychic costs of awar that is still taking its toll.