By Julie Titone
In the 1990s, after Grady and I had produced a first draft of Boocoo Dinky Dow, I received the most wonderful letter from Zack, the talented husband of a journalist friend. When I'd learned he was a Vietnam vet who served in the 9th Infantry Division (Grady was in the 4th), I had sent him a manuscript. I was touched and encouraged by his response. Here is part of Zack's letter.
"What I think is so important about what you've done is that you've made it possible for a person to tell his story who would otherwise never have told it. Most often, when a soldier tells a story about war, it's a soldier who is or will be a writer. For example, 'The Naked and the Dead' by Norman Mailer, 'Catch 22' by Joseph Heller, etc. Or it's a writer/reporter who, although not a soldier, is at the war in some capacity. Michael Herr, a reporter for Esquire, Rolling Stone and Ramparts, wrote 'Dispatches.' Hemingway wrote 'For Whom the Bell Tolls' after being in the Ambulance Corps. But it's unusual that an ordinary soldier who is not a writer can tell his own story.
"I thought the ambush scene where Grady gets wounded was particularly good. What I most liked about it was there's no sense of orientation. It's an incredible kind of chaos -- which I think is very close to the truth. and some of the details -- the way Grady sees three little red marks suddenly appear on the back of the solder standing above him -- I don't think could be invented by the best writer in the world."
Zack was never able to meet Grady, but told me how much he wished he could. Our readers regularly say that, and it's the highest compliment that "Boocoo Dinky Dow" receives.
Julie Titone is co-author of the Grady Myers memoir "Boocoo Dinky Dow: My short, crazy Vietnam War." Grady was an M-60 machine gunner in The U.S. Army's Company C’s 2nd Platoon, 1st Battalion, 8th Regiment, 4th Infantry Division in late 1968 and early 1969. His Charlie Company comrades knew him as Hoss. Thoughts, comments? Send Julie an email.