Good Reading : March 2016
the reading landscape in the early, mid, or even most of the late part of the 20th century. And talking about the secrets that happen inside your home is still something of a taboo. In terms of the Vietnam War specifically, there is also the fact that in Australia, only 60 000 men served in the war. That’s not a huge pool of children, though significant enough. But what about America? Though my story is Australian, and there are cultural differences, I would have been more than happy to read an American account of what it was like to grow up as the child of a Vietnam veteran. Until I started researching for this book I had no idea about the scale of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War was the longest conflict fought in US history. They were there for over 19 years and sent almost 2.6 million soldiers to the war. That is a lot of people – 10 percent of a generation – many of whom went on to have children. No matter where you are on the planet, if your parent is suffering from PTSD, they are likely to exhibit a very similar cluster of symptoms: easily angered, often detached, hypervigilant, cut off from friends and family, numb, lacking in empathy, suffering flashbacks and nightmares, difficulty with sleeping, irritability, restricted emotions, and an exaggerated startle response. A parent acting in this way makes for a childhood spent walking on eggshells. This is widely known within the veteran community, but not to people outside of that world. It is time for the sacrifice that a veteran’s family makes to also be tallied among the costs of war. Enemy: A daughter’s story of how her father brought the Vietnam War Home by Ruth Clare is published by Viking, rrp $32.99. BEHIND THE BOOK involvement in the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War was the longest conflict fought in US GOODREADINGMAGAZINE.COM.AU GOOD READING MARCH 2016 52 Below: Ruth, aged 11, her father and her brother in 1985.