Meet the Poets: Carl Sandburg – 1919 and 1951 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, 1940 Pulitzer Prize for History

“I make it clear why I write as I do and why other poets write as they do. After hundreds of experiments, I decided to go my own way in style and see what would happen.” – Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg (January 6, 1878 – July 22, 1967) was an American writer and editor, best known for his poetry. He received three Pulitzer Prizes: two for his poetry and another for his history, a biography of Abraham Lincoln.

Sandburg was almost unknown to the literary world when, in 1914, a group of his poems appeared in the nationally circulated Poetry magazine.

Two years later his book Chicago Poems was published, and the thirty-eight-year-old author found himself on the brink of a career that would bring him international acclaim.

Sandburg published another volume of poems, Cornhuskers, in 1918, and wrote a searching analysis of the 1919 Chicago race riots.

More poetry followed, along with Rootabaga Stories (1922), a book of fanciful children’s tales. That book prompted Sandburg’s publisher, Alfred Harcourt, to suggest a biography of Abraham Lincoln for children. Sandburg researched and wrote for three years, producing not a children’s book, but a two-volume biography for adults. His Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years, published in 1926, was Sandburg’s first financial success.

With the financial success, he moved to a new home on the Michigan dunes and devoted the next several years to completing four more volumes, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1940.

Sandburg continued his prolific writing, publishing more poems, a novel, Remembrance Rock, a second volume of folk songs, and an autobiography, Always the Young Strangers.

In 1945 the Sandburg family moved with their herd of prize-winning goats and thousands of books to Flat Rock, North Carolina.

Sandburg’s Complete Poems won him a second Pulitzer Prize in 1951. Sandburg died at his North Carolina home July 22, 1967. His ashes were returned, as he had requested, to his Galesburg birthplace. In the small Carl Sandburg Park behind the house, his ashes were placed beneath Remembrance Rock, a red granite boulder. Ten years later the ashes of his wife were placed there.

Source:  Pulitzer Awards 1919, Pulitzer Awards 1940, and Pulitzer Awards 1951

For more on Carl Sandburg see: http://carl-sandburg.com/biography.htm

Buna, Texas and the Polka Dot House

Buna Polka Dot HouseIn southeast Texas at the southern end of Jasper county is a community called Buna. I lived in Jasper County from 1984 through 1993 and again in 1996. Buna was my home in 1992 and 1993. I had the blessing of serving a wonderful group of people as associate pastor of the First Baptist Church of Buna.

Two large questions filled my mind when I first talked with the church’s search committee about joining their staff. The first was how the community got its name. The second concerned a certain house in town.

Buna was named by the owners of the lumber mill. I was told the Beaumont Lumber Company mill in southern Jasper County was first called Carrolla. It was named for the Carroll family. They were prominent Beaumont lumbermen and industrialists. The site was renamed Buna, however, in honor of one of the family’s cousins, Buna Corley. So Buna was named after a cousin of the saw mill’s owner.

The second question concerned that certain house. At first glance the house was nothing special. It was painted white like many other houses. At second glance I realized it was different. There were spots on the house. Cleaning my glasses didn’t help. The spots were still there. As I got closer I realized the spots were actually polka dots. The polka dots were painted blue!

Several members of the associate pastor search committee taught me the history of the house as they knew it.

Some told me a couple bought the house after World War Two and couldn’t agree on the color to paint it. They said the wife wanted a white house, but the husband wanted it painted blue. He grudging gave in painting it white to please the wife. Then he painted blue polka dots to please himself. I believe it was the Odell family that purchased the house.

Not all on the search committee agreed with how the house got its polka dots. Others told me the Davis family owned the house and later sold it to the Odell family. Some thought it may have already had the polka dots before the Odells got the house. One said no matter how many times the Odells painted the house white the dots just kept bleeding through the white paint so they finally gave up and kept the polka dots.

Buna water towerApparently the house originally had red and blue polka dots, though I only remember the blue ones. They were a royal blue, just like the high school colors.

Through the years the house has been a residence, florist, gift shop, home of the Buna Chamber of Commerce, and a few even remembered it housing the sub-courthouse of Jasper County.

Any residents of Buna that know the real or rest of the story please feel free to leave a comment.

Does Buna, Texas still have the little white house with blue polka dots? I don’t know for sure. I haven’t been to Buna since just after Hurricane Rita. That certain house was still there then.


A reader shared this website with me that has more info on Buna’s Polka Dot House: http://bunapolkadothouse.wix.com/bunapolkadothouse. Also please read the below comments to get the rest of the story from local residents and kinfolks of Buna’s Polka Dot House original owners and polka dot painters.


Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a novelist, poet, book reviewer, and award-winning short story writer. His work has appeared in over twenty venues, including Bewildering Stories and Beyond Imagination. When not writing each morning at his favorite coffee house, he supports his writing, reading, and book reviewing habit working as an IT application support analyst. He is a former Captain in the US Army. His blog Kepler’s Book Reviews was named a 100 best blogs for history buffs. You can visit him at http://www.jimmiekepler.com.

A Life in a Year: The American Infantryman in Vietnam, 1965-1972 by James R. Ebert

Wisconsin high school teacher James R. Ebert does a masterful job as he combines interviews and printed primary sources in this remarkable telling of the infantryman’s experience during the Vietnam War. Ebert tells the story of the US Army and a few US Marine infantrymen during the Vietnam War. He takes their story from induction into the service through basic and advanced individual training, arrival in Vietnam, their first combat experiences, the first killed in action they experience, in some cases the soldier’s death, and the freedom birds that take them back to the world. Ebert points out while infantryman accounted for less than 10% of the American troops in Vietnam, the infantry suffered more than 80% of the losses.

Ebert uses an interesting technique starting every chapter with a letter by Leonard Dutcher to his parents. Dutcher just wanted to do his part for God and country and go home at the end of his 12-month tour (13 for Marines). In the last chapter, we find out that Dutcher was killed. It caught me off guard and really added to the impact of the book. Ebert takes many of the soldiers and Marines experiences word for word from the individual himself through interviews or letters. It is a collective look at similarities of the many infantry soldiers and Marines in the war. It is a very personal account from many points of view.

This is an important book in Vietnam War literature. This is what the grunts really went through. I was left with somewhat of feeling of guilt from reading the book. Why? I graduated high school in 1971. Some of my high classmates went to Vietnam and fought. Everett Maxwell was killed in action. I went to college and was ultimately commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry, went through airborne school and served three years active duty. My becoming an officer deferred my entry on active duty from 1971 to 1975. This is the reason for my reflective thoughts. Read by Jimmie A. Kepler in August 2004.

Bob Dylan Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature

bob_dylan_-_azkena_rock_festival_2010_2The singer and songwriter Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature on today for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” in the words of the Swedish Academy. He is the first American to win since the novelist Toni Morrison, in 1993.

In a 2013 Op-Ed Essay in the New York Times Bill Wyman wrote, “Mr. Dylan’s work remains utterly lacking in conventionality, moral sleight of hand, pop pabulum or sops to his audience. His lyricism is exquisite; his concerns and subjects are demonstrably timeless, and few poets of any era have seen their work bear more influence.”

Below is my poem, “Gone Electric.” It is a poetic tribute to Bob Dylan. It includes one line “And played the greatest poet – lyricist ever seen.” Today’s award kind of validates my point of view. The poem is my most viewed poem and second most viewed post on my blog with over 2,000 views a day.

If Dylan were sitting with me I could help but ask, “How does it feel?” to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Gone Electric

Our music choice back then was known as folk
the surgeon general told us not to smoke
Acoustic was our favorite sound
In Washington, D.C. The Beatles played in the round

We cried when JFK was assassinated that November day
and why the Vietnam War we asked LBJ
The Newport Folk Festival was going strong
And Bob Dylan wrote our favorite song

On television we all got Lost in Space
And Ryan O’Neil made hearts throb on Payton Place
Back in ’65 three girls sang with a sound which was Supreme
And played the greatest poet – lyricist ever seen

And the times were a changing because of him
Playboy Playmate Sara Lownds was his wife, young and trim
She gave him three sons and a beautiful little girl
Some before, some after the tour that rocked the world

His acoustic half-set sounded the same
the electric-half critics called a shame
and his music still changed the world
Even as shouts of Judas started to swirl

They hated him at the Royal Albert Hall
and were glad when he took that horrible fall
some thought after his motorcycle accident
That his life and career were totally spent.

Eight years before he toured the world again,
He wouldn’t let the critics boss him with their poison pen
And his music never really would change
Though his voice now shows age’s strain

To the arenas, stadiums, and theaters we still all come
and he sings putting the sunshine:  in our lives glum
Just Like a Woman, Mr. Tambourine Man and Desolation Row
Then with Like a Rolling Stone he closes the show.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler
© 2011

Originally published in:
WORDS..RHYMES..POETRY & PROSE! as  Electric Dylan
“Gone Electric” is the title poem in “Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection” available on Amazon.

Photo Credit: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
Description: Bob Dylan, onstage in Victoria-Gasteiz, at the Azkena Rock Festival.
Date 26 June 2010, 21:14
Source Bob Dylan
Author Alberto Cabello from Vitoria Gasteiz.


Jimmie Aaron Kepler’s work has appeared in six different Lifeway Christian publications as well as The Baptist Program, The Baptist Standard (ghostwriter), Thinking About Suicide.com, Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine, WORDS..RHYMES..POETRY & PROSE, and more. His novels The Rebuilder and Miss Sarah’s Secret as well as Charlie’s Bells: A Short Story Anthology and the award-winning short story The Cup, and the short stories Invasion of the Prairie Dogs, Miracle at the Gibson Farm: A Christmas Story, The Paintings and poetry collection Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection are available on Amazon.com.


Available on Amazon

My Spiritual Birthday – July 11, 1977

Benita, Jimmie, and Kristopher Kepler 1977
Benita, Jimmie, and Kristopher Kepler 1977

July is the birthday of America. July is also my spiritual birthday.

What’s that? You don’t know about spiritual birthdays? My physical birthday is the day I was born. It was November 25, 1953 at Brooke Army General Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. My spiritual birthday is when I was “born again”. It is when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. It is when I was “saved”. It was July 11, 1977 at the First Baptist Church of Lakewood in Tacoma, Washington.

Did you know being good doesn’t get you to heaven. Being “saved” does. Here’s my story of “being saved”.

On July 11, 1977, my life changed. If you look up that date in history, you will find nothing historically significant happened on that Sunday. It was a noteworthy day to me. That day was the watershed event in my life.

July 1977 found me on active duty as a second lieutenant in the United States Army. I was serving as Battalion Maintenance Officer, 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington.

Life was good. I had a beautiful, intelligent wife. I had a new son born in January that same year. I had just gotten a commendable rating during an annual general inspection in maintenance. It was the first commendable rating since the division had returned from Vietnam. Named an Outstanding Junior Officer of the Ninth Infantry Division because of the commendable rating, I received an offer of a regular army commission. My career was going great.

I always tried being the best I could be, and doing what was right. I was a detail-oriented perfectionist, high-achieving, and a workaholic. I excelled at most things I did. However, after all of this, I still had an empty, unsatisfied, void, and alone feeling. Beginning in my college years I tried drinking adult beverages, women, materialism, partying, and hanging-out with the right crowd to fill this unexplained need I had. I knew something was missing from my life.

I was also attending church. At my church I noticed a group of men my age that seemed to have what I was missing. I attended a Bible study with them. Here I found that God has given us an important manual for life — the Bible. He has the answers to the problems and emptiness we may face. I found out I was here for a purpose, and not by accident. I learned Jesus loves me, and desires to have a personal relationship with me. However, sin separated me from Him.

I realized I had a sin problem.

The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23 But no one is perfect! Not even a perfectionist. We have all sinned and therefore cannot save ourselves by simply living a good life. Why?

I learned there was a penalty to be paid for my sin.

The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23

I learned God gives us a promise.

The Bible says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.

I learned that God made provision for me.

The Bible says, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. – Romans 10:9-10

I prayed to accept the gift of eternal life through Jesus.

I prayed, “Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. I believe that You died for my sins and rose from the grave so that I might have eternal life in Heaven with You. I willingly repent of my sins and ask you to come into my heart and life. Take control of my words, thoughts, and actions. I place all of my trust in You for my salvation. I accept You as my Lord and Savior, and this free gift of eternal life. Amen.”

What came next?

Since then my life has not been perfect. It’s been far from it. I have messed up from time to time, sometimes failing miserably in my decisions and choices. However, I have had direction and purpose in my life. I know where I am headed. I have the Bible to give me the principles for daily living. I am never alone. I have had real peace for the last 37 years.

How about you?

Have you ever been “saved”? You can do like I did. Romans 10:9-10, 13 tells us, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. … For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Can an intelligent person or intellectual/scholar believe in God?  Can an Intelligent Person Believe in Christianity?

The Real Question — The answer to the above question(s) is, “Yes, of course! We cannot deny that many intelligent people do believe in God and Christianity.” So a better question may be, “How can an intelligent person believe in Christianity?” or “Why would an intelligent person believe in Christianity?” Click HERE for more the answer.

About the photo: It was taken in February 1977 in my military quarters at Fort Lewis, Washington. In the photo in Miss Benita, my bride. We have been married since 1974. Also in the picture is our first child, Kristopher. Yes, I look tired. I had just returned home from a fourteen day training exercise. I had not had sleep in over 72 hours at the time the picture was taken. I was very tired. The picture was taken by my late father-in-law William Clarence Breeding, Sr. He and my mother-in-law had came to Washington State to help Miss Benita with our new son Kris.

Yes

Dream On …

Today is Monday, March 31, 2014. It is the 90th day of the year. There are 275 days remaining until the end of the year.

“The world stands aside,” said David Jordan, “to let anyone pass who knows where he is going.” This applies to those, who learn where they are going late in life as well as for the young.

At age 40, James Michener published his first book. He authored more than 50 titles – 26 historical fiction novels, 31 nonfiction books, and 13 of his works were adapted into TV mini series or made into movies.

At age 53, Margaret Thatcher became Britain’s first female prime minister.

At age 65, Winston Churchill became British prime minister for the first time and started the epic struggle against Hitler. Churchill received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 at age 79 for his many published works, especially his six-volume set The Second World War. He wrote the six volume set when he was in his 70s without any assistance or ghost writers. The photo is of Sir Winston Churchill.

At age 69, Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States. He served two terms. He was 77 years old when he completed his second term in office.

At age 70 and again at 80, former President of the USA George H.W. Bush parachuted out of an airplane.

At age 72, Golda Meir became prime minister of Israel.

At age 75, Ed Delano of California bicycled 3100 miles in 33 days to attend his 50th college reunion in Worcester, Massachusetts.

At age 80, Grandma Moses, who had started painting in her late 70s, had her first one-woman exhibit.

At age 80, Winston Churchill returned to the House of Commons as a member of parliament and also exhibited 62 of his paintings.

At age 81, Benjamin Franklin skillfully mediated between disagreeing factions at the U. S. Constitutional Convention.

At age 96, George C. Selbach scored a 110-yard hole-in-one at Indian River, Michigan.

On his 100th birthday, ragtime pianist Eubie Blake exclaimed, “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”

How about you? Have you slowed down, packed it in, given up, and checked out? Have you given up on your dreams? Don’t give up. Dream on!

I know the Heavenly Father has something wonderful still in store for you! It’s never too late. Why don’t you call God up and ask Him what that might be. His number is found in The Bible in Jeremiah 33:3. It reads, “Call upon Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know!”

Picture Source: Churchill V sign HU 55521.jpg This artistic work created by the United Kingdom Government is in the public domain. This is because it is one of the following: 1) It is a photograph created by the United Kingdom Government and taken prior to 1 June 1957; or 2) It was commercially published prior to 1961; or 3) It is an artistic work other than a photograph or engraving (e.g. a painting) which was created by the United Kingdom Government prior to 1961.

March 20, 2014

church fireThis Day In Texas History:

Today is Thursday, March 20, 2014. It is the 79th day of the year. There are 286 days remaining until the end of the year. Typically, the first day of Spring begins as March equinox falls on this date, marking the vernal point in the Northern Hemisphere and the autumnal point in the Southern Hemisphere, when both day and night are of equal length.

Church on Fire:

I wrote this piece twenty-six years ago. I was associate pastor at First Baptist Church of Jasper, Texas at the time. I had just been to Beaumont, Texas making hospital rounds where I visited sick church members.

My ultimate goal was to drive north on Texas Highway 92 until it intersected US Highway 190 just west of Dam B. There I would turn east and drive home to Jasper. I had just left Silsbee, Texas heading toward Fred, Texas when I first saw it in on the horizon.

From more than fifteen miles away, the smoke could be seen rising nearly ten thousand feet above the tall pine trees and dogwood. It’s gray-blue plum acted as a beacon saying something is happening here. But what? But exactly where?

Was someone burning trash? No, the amount of smoke was too great.

Was it a raging forest fire? Possibly, but if so it was only in an embryonic stage.

Was the smoke the signal of a controlled burn by one of the timber companies? Possibly, but yet the signals just did not look correct.

As I continued driving for miles. As I was leaving Fred, Texas a number of vehicles were assembling in the distance. The closer I got, the more recognizable the cars and trucks became. The wind changed and the smoke pushed its deadly midnight momentarily across the highway.

As I got nearer, I saw no flames. Smoke was gushing out the doors and windows of a small framed building. It was erupting in a deadly, black, thickness through the roof.

The Church in the Pines was dying from fire and smoke inhalation.

Ten Things to Know About Me

Jimmie A. Kepler
Jimmie A. Kepler

1. I’m a writer of speculative fiction, nonfiction, poetry and a book reviewer. I primarily write science fiction and fantasy, poetry and review military history books. I sell a high percentage of my nonfiction. My bibliography is listed here.

2. I live with my wife in the Dallas – Fort Worth Area, but I’ve also lived in other places. I grew up a cold war era military brat. I did my bachelor and master’s degrees in Texas and my doctorate in California. Growing up I lived in Texas, Ohio, Texas, South Carolina, Illinois, South Carolina, Arizona, Texas, New Hampshire, and Texas. I have worked in Texas, Kansas, Georgia, Washington State, California, Idaho, and Louisiana.

3. A partial list of my hobbies: reading, computers, history, walking/hiking, guitar, customer care and caring for my wife and aging-parents. I have a strong commitment to lifelong learning.

4. I know a secret about the Texans. As a fifth generation Texan and member of Texas First Families I know a lot about Texans. Texans think they are smarter than you, know more than you, and come from the best place on earth. Texans are born with a bad infection of Hubris – self-confidence is abundant. Garrison Keillor adequately explained a Texan’s view of gun control. They view control as holding the weapon steady as they squeeze off the next round.

5. Yes, Jimmie A. Kepler is my real name. It is Jimmie with an ie, not James. Why? That’s is my father’s first name. The A is for Aaron. I was named after my paternal grandfather whose middle name was Aaron. He passed away eighteen years before I was born. Kepler is my last name. Yes it is the same as the famous mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler. Am I related to him? Heck if I know, but I’ll claim him.

6. I graduated from The University of Texas at Arlington with a BA degree in History and minors in military science and English (creative writing and grammar). I have a MA degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. I hold a EdD degree in educational administration.

7. In ancient history I was a commissioned officer in the US Army. I won the military draft with a lottery number of 25 back in the day. I even went to airborne school and jumped out of airplanes.  I’m honorably discharged at the rank of Captain.

8. Some people tell me I’m driven with lazor focus. I like to say I set and achieve goals.

9. I’ve been blogging and on the Internet since the 1990s. I used Compuserve all the way back to the mid 1970s. I used email as early as 1976 in the US Army and 1979 with CompuServe. I first used Chat in 1980. I’m an old dude. I’m older than Bill Gates or the late Steve Jobs.

10. I am a Christian. My faith impacts all areas of my life. I am not perfect, but forgiven. I won’t preach at you.

My Oldest Son Was Born 37 Years Ago Today

My son KrisOn Monday, January 24, 1977 I was a second lieutenant on active duty stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington. I was serving as the weapons platoon leader (81 mm mortars and T.O.W. missiles) in Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion 47th Infantry in the 3rd brigade of the 9th Infantry Division.

My unit was training with the 2 Battalion 77th Armor that week. In the early afternoon, I was receiving instruction of tank/infantry tactics when my company commander, Captain John Bratton told me my wife had been taken to the hospital to deliver our first child. Diane Davenport the wife of David Davenport the 4.2 inch mortar platoon leader had taken Benita to the hospital. My driver (yes as a mortar platoon leader I had a jeep and a driver) took me to my quarters. I got my car.  From there, I headed to the hospital.

Upon arrival, I found her and Diane. Diane stayed until I arrived to relieve her. My wife, Miss Benita, had her water break about 12:30 PM. Now it was the waiting game. We were in Madigan Army Hospital. It is a teaching hospital. I watched as over a dozen interns and residents as they looked at her lady parts and practiced attaching, unattaching, and reattaching a fetal monitor. At one point, she pulled the sheet over her head to hide from the endless eyes examining her.

Madigan was an old wooden frame World War I era facility. The maternity delivery room used the old hospital open ward concept with four delivery tables in the room. My wife was on one table. On the other was Brenda Schwarzkopf, the wife of then Colonel Norman Schwarzkopf. He was then commanding he first brigade of the Ninth Infantry Division. Their son Christian would be born about 2 and one-half hours after our son Kristopher. I like to joke and say I was on a first name basis with Schwarzkopf. He called me lieutenant and I called him sir.

Yes, I was in the delivery room. I helped coach with the breathing as we used the Lamaze technique to help with the delivery. Benita was amazing, brave and yes I watched it all.

Our son Kristopher was born just after 10 PM. I recall how excited I was to call our parents back in Texas. I called Benita’s parents first and then my parents. The time was after midnight in north Texas.With my call, both sets of parents were instantly wide awake. They were excited, but not as much as I was.

Just a few days later Benita’s parents came and helped with the new baby. I know Benita was so glad to see them and have their help.

Kris has added joy to our lives and continues to do so to this day. He is an outstanding young man. I am proud to be his father. The picture is from December 2013.  It is the most recent one I have of Kristopher.

A Life in a Year: The American Infantryman in Vietnam, 1965-1972

Wisconsin high school teacher James R. Ebert does a masterful job as he combines interviews and printed primary sources in this remarkable telling of the infantryman’s experience during the Vietnam War. Ebert tells the story of the US Army and a few US Marine infantrymen during the Vietnam War. He takes their story from induction into the service through basic and advanced individual training, arrival in Vietnam, their first combat experiences, the first killed in action they experience, in some cases the soldier’s death, and the freedom birds that take them back to the world. Ebert points out while infantryman accounted for less than 10% of the American troops in Vietnam, the infantry suffered more than 80% of the losses.

Ebert uses an interesting technique starting every chapter with a letter by Leonard Dutcher to his parents. Dutcher just wanted to do his part for God and country and go home at the end of his 12-month tour (13 for Marines). In the last chapter, we find out that Dutcher was killed. It caught me off guard and really added to the impact of the book. Ebert takes many of the soldiers and Marines experiences word for word from the individual himself through interviews or letters. It is a collective look at similarities of the many infantry soldiers and Marines in the war. It is a very personal account from many points of view.

This is an important book in Vietnam War literature. This is what the grunts really went through. I was left with somewhat of feeling of guilt from reading the book. Why? I graduated high school in 1971. Some of my high classmates went to Vietnam and fought. Everett Maxwell was killed in action. I went to college and was ultimately commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry, went through airborne school and served three years active duty. My becoming an officer deferred my entry on active duty from 1971 to 1975. This is the reason for my reflective thoughts.

Book review of: A Life in a Year: The American Infantryman in Vietnam, 1965-1972 by James R. Ebert