When I Turned Nineteen: A Vietnam War Memoir

A review of When I Turned Nineteen: A Vietnam War Memoir by Glyn Haynie

The Vietnam War was an unpopular war. This war memoir gives a young soldier’s view of that unpopular war in a way that really touches the reader. The narrative is engaging and well written in a format the non-soldier can easily understand. The photographs are also fantastic and add greatly to the feel of the narrative. The author is fair and non-judgemental in his recounting his experiences. But, the reader can feel the fear, frustration, resentment, and anger that grows … seeing friends killed in a war with no clearly defined mission or purpose, and a war that, in the end, they are not allowed to win.

Author Glyn Haynie

When I Turned Nineteen: A Vietnam War Memoir chronicles Glyn Haynie’s long journey as a nineteen-year-old that was sent by his country to fight in an unpopular war. In 1969, Haynie served with the U.S. Army in the First Platoon Company A 3rd Battalion/1st Infantry Regiment 11th Brigade Americal (23rd Infantry) Division. Haynie eloquently tells of his experiences in a manner that is easy to read and understand. Almost any reader can identify with and connect with the narrative. Whether running all-out to escape a jungle fire set by artillery fire on a hill they had just choppered in to or being blown into the air by a command-fired 250-pound bomb, or even a weekend of R&R in Bangkok, Thailand; the reader will enjoy the narrative and identify with the characters.

A Detailed and Cohesive Narrative

Author Glyn Haynie tells his story in a cohesive and easy to read style which is easy to follow even for those not familiar with military jargon and history. I also loved how the author used letters provided by other platoon members and their families to flesh out and add variety to the narrative voice. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 stars!

7 thoughts on “When I Turned Nineteen: A Vietnam War Memoir”

    1. Platoon is certainly a harsh movie. However, you also have to realize that the director, Oliver Stone, is very politically motivated and likes to make personal statements with his movies … meaning that his movies, while often quite excellent, have a slight “spin” to them.

  1. Hi. I liked the review you wrote for this book. It sounds like it was written in the same style as my late husband’s Vietnam War memoir, “Through Smoke-Teared Eyes: The Vietnam War I Fought” by Johnny F. Pugh which went on sale on Amazon.com last October. And speaking of the movie “Platoon,” my late husband was in the same unit as the characters in that movie, the 25th Division, 27th Infantry Brigade, stationed near Cu Chi, Vietnam. He was there in 1966-1967 whereas the movie took place 1967-1968. And I agree the movie definitely had a Hollywood slant ot it. I think it’s great that people are finally talking about that tragic war and it seems like there are more and more books being written by the men who did all of the fighting and dying, like Mr. Haynie and my late husband. Especially since so many of them are going to an early grave, thanksin large part to Agent Orange. My husband had a severe stroke in 2007 and then 3 years later, passed away from lung cancer, both linked to his exposure to Agent Orange while stationed in Vietnam. I’m working on designing a webpage devoted to discussing the war and possibly showcasing works by veterans who, like my late husband, are/were artists and writers. Thanks, Cristina Pugh

    1. Hi Cristina, I agree it is about time these veterans got the notice and appreciation they deserve. I was at the Vietnam Veteran’s Day at the NC Museum of History Saturday and spoke to several. They were amazing men with such stories to tell.

      While I did serve in the US Army, I was a little too young for Vietnam. When I enlisted in ‘79, the war had been over for four years. In Basic and AIT, however, many of Drill Sergeants I had were Vietnam veterans. I had nothing but respect for these men. They were men like Glyn Haynie and your late husband.

      I can only offer my thanks and respect to men like your late husband, and family members and spouses like you, because their families also sacrificed so much. I tried, in my recent novel, to express the pride and gratitude all Americans should have for these men who answered their Country’s call and I will continue to do that in future works.

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Please keep me informed about your webpage progress.

      1. I will have to check out your late husband’s book as well. It sounds interesting.

  2. Greetings, D.C.! It’s so great to hear from you. Thanks again ever so much for the fantastic review you wrote about my late husband’s, Vietnam War memoir, Through Smoke-/teared Eyes: The Vietnam War I Fought. His book is now in its second edition and it only costs $10.99 for the printed soft cover version and is still only $3.99 to download it from amazon and barnes and noble. I did this to make his book more affordable to a wider group of interested readers. You really have put together a very professional WordPress website for your own published books, which I am using as inspiration for the WordPress site I’ve been building to give interested readers more background information about the author, including photos of him as a soldier and as a father, husband and an artist and poet. I’m adding more material as I find it, including links to your review, other editorial reviews, book contests and awards his book has won, newspaper articles written about his memoir and even several book trailers videos that have been made about his book. I also hope to add one or more blogs as part of this site, hoping to engage with potential readers about their feelings after reading his powerful and moving narrative. Since my late husband, Johnny, was a Chicano from the mean streets and barrios of the American southwest, I plan to engage with Spanish-speaking and Chicano and other Latino-Americans and highlight the enormous contribution to the war effort these soldiers of color made during that tragic and long conflict, but who have so far received little or no recognition for their sacrifices and bravery. I also hope to engage with family members who lost their own husbands, fathers, sons and brothers during the war, or later from early deaths due to cancers and others diseases linked to being poisoned by the deadly Agent Orange herbicide that was sprayed by the tons all over Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. I believe this is a painful subject that really needs to be addressed by our government and community leaders. Hundreds of these Vietnam Veterans are dying every day, many forgotten and alone in their suffering. This March 29, 2022 will be the 5th annual National Vietnam War Veterans Remembrance Day. I plan to send a poster that I found on Facebook about this special day to my local newspapers in order to raise public awareness of these long-suffering and forgotten heroes. I also plan to make copies of this poster and put them up all around town. Thanks again, my friend, for all your support and all that you inspire me. Cristine Pugh

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