The Nam Within (Paperback)


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The Nam Within, by Leonard Reese, is a narrative non-fiction memoir that speaks to veterans from all wars and others who deal with PTSD, depression, and the feeling that they may be “going crazy,” and their families and friends, so that they can see that survival is possible and that they are not alone, despite the battle scars that keep rising to the surface long after the physical combat ceases. “I did the best that I could to tell my story with all of the truth that I have within me. Almost fifty years have passed since my thirteen-month tour of duty in Vietnam from 1969-1970. I still see some of those images as clearly as if they were happenings within a blink-of-an-eye past. While others, partially confused and shaking like a pile of pick-up-sticks awaiting the next attempt at success or tragedy, arrive within the shadows of the night, blurred and weighted by the evening’s dew. Incorrect names and misplaced trails, rice paddies, and small areas of high ground dot these pages as if they were paint sprayed across canvas. Yet, in my mind’s eye they are accurate and certain in their descriptions, and even more clearly, in their grip upon my scared soul. Please know that these lines are much less about the fight than they are about the emotions of the men who did the fighting. We were more than just sand-box warriors moving from one pile of windblown up-turned-bucket encampments to the next moment’s instant rebirth, within a new pack of forest green plastic men preparing for counter attack or ambush. It is the feel for the war as it happened, and continues to happen, to this one man trapped within his memories, and that, I pray, might open at least one lone person’s eyes, or increase a loved one’s ability to understand his self-imposed blindness. I want you to experience the loss of self that many like myself went through so that you might more accurately understand the ghosts that continue to walk a kill-radius behind, or to our front.” Leonard Reese is a retired school-bus driver who makes his home in the country outside of the small, East Texas town of Tatum. During his time as a bus driver, he taught English and History at Tatum ISD for thirty-five years to supplement his bus-driving income. He is married to his college sweetheart, Cynthia Jameson Reese, and they have two children, Elizabeth and Downs, who rule their world. Leonard was a rifleman in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam with the 2nd platoon of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Regiment, 1st Marine Division from 1969-70.


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