Jungle in Black by Steve Macguire


Jungle in Black is the memoir of Steve Maguire. McGuire was a young, gung-ho, Airborne Ranger who lead a 9th Infantry Division battalion Reconnaissance Platoon in the 6th Battalion, 31st Infantry in the Mekong Delta. The story opens with drawn-out and generic combat descriptions that lead up to Maguire’s wounding. The rest of the book covers his treatment. We learn that an exploding Vietcong mine blinded him for life. This is an honest first-person account that never wallows in self-pity. Unfortunately, he in no way offers enough background about his life to round out his person. He missed the mark with his book. He paints a broad description of the early stages of rehab. The description covers the usual male boasting, lust for nurses and hopes dashed by physicians not healing or restoring his sight. He fails to feature how he coped with his loss of sight and earned a doctorate in psychology (not mentioned until in an epilogue). This could have been a very inspirational and motivational story; instead it’s just another war story memoir.