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Fear is a reaction.

Courage is a decision.

Winston Churchill

Barbwire, Brothels and Bombs in the Night: Surviving Vietnam is a 2023 Nonfiction Authors Association Gold Award Winner

I'm a proud of this book's recognition in the self-published nonfiction> biography & memoir
category!

Barbwire, Brothels and
Bombs in the Night:
Surviving Vietnam

(award-winning memoir)


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Cover Design by Lewis Agrell

Back Cover Description

 

Drafted at the age of twenty, Connard Hogan answers the call to serve his country, even while millions of Americans question their country’s presence in Vietnam. A naïve and inexperienced young man with an alcoholic and abusive father, Connard finds himself immersed in the toxic masculinity of the army and the unpredictability of warfare.

 

While serving as an intelligence analyst in Vietnam, Connard endures the constant awareness that death is always close by while observing the widespread daily infliction of trauma upon others. From seeking female companionship in darkened brothels to being awakened by VC mortar attacks in the night, the contradictions of living in a war zone as a burgeoning young man creates a landmine of temptations for Connard. He seeks escape from fear, frustration, and restlessness through various diversions, none of which provides him relief from the adrenaline-induced moments of personal threat. Through the chaos of it all, he searches for his humanity and the true meaning of manhood.

On a new life path after his military discharge, the debilitating effects of Connard’s time serving in the army intensifies until his inner turmoil reaches the breaking point, and he seeks help through counseling. Ultimately, through his healing journey, Connard awakens to the lasting effects of trauma and PTSD, and comes to understand that it’s not about the forgetting . . . it’s about the remembering.

This book's Kirkus Review in its entirety:

A Vietnam veteran recalls his experiences in Southeast Asia in this memoir.

 

“I’d entered the army ass-first, not by any well-thought-out design,” writes author Hogan in this exploration of his one-year tour in Vietnam. As a naïve Kentuckian, Hogan’s “draft evasion maneuvers” were foiled by academic probation at the University of Louisville, and, like many of the more than 2 million Americans who served, the author was thrust into an “awkward and difficult transition to manhood” by the war. The work contains harrowing stories of “bombs in the night” and the deaths of fellow soldiers, but since Hogan didn’t experience direct combat, the book’s strength lies in its exploration of the war’s psychological impact. To “survive a year in a strange world where I never wanted to be,” Hogan turned to alcohol, drugs, and sex. But the celebrated baby boomer concept of “adulthood” and its associated privileges seemed “hollow” to young soldiers like Hogan in Vietnam. The persistence of trauma long after the war ended is a major theme of the book, and the author grappled with a recurring nightmare of duty reactivation. Dedicated to a counselor at Western Kentucky University who listened “without judgment when I most needed to be heard,” the memoir emphasizes the value of therapy. Hogan eventually obtained a master’s in counseling and now serves in the field of alcohol and drug rehabilitation. Using his professional expertise, he offers guidance to other veterans with a warning against facing one’s “demons alone.” Hogan writes thoughtfully and does a fine job of balancing storytelling and reflection. On the topic of patriotism, for example, he says that he has “proved my patriotism beyond doubt,” and no longer feels the need to pledge allegiance to the flag, place his hand over his heart, or engage in any other gestures that he believes society incorrectly uses to judge levels of personal patriotism. Hogan’s candid, cleareyed perspective may help others manage their own lingering PTSD.

 

An introspective memoir that catalogs the mental tolls of war.

- Kirkus Reviews

Book Blurbs

(What some have said about this memoir)

"Most of us want to forget all the trauma we’ve endured. But as Connard Hogan so eloquently reminds us, life is not about the forgetting, it’s about the remembering. In this brutally honest account, we are given a front row seat into the ghosts of one man’s past, serving as a reflection of all that can be healed inside of us—as individuals, a nation, and as a world. Prepare yourself to plumb the depths of humanity and emerge with a grander perspective on the challenges that bring forth positive and lasting transformation."

       - Cherie Kephart, award-winning author of A Few Minor Adjustments

"Barbwire, Brothels and Bombs in the Night: Surviving Vietnam offers provocative insight into the human frailties resulting from time spent in Vietnam during wartime. Connard quickly struggles with the amount of control held over him once he is drafted into service and repeatedly faces his mortality throughout his journey in Vietnam. I was surprised by the amount of toxic masculinity emerging from the pages and at times was disheartened by Connard's evident lack of respect for women. However, it is evident his involuntary military presence in a dangerous country far from home held a gloomy shroud over his psyche, nudging him into a world where vices may have meant survival. My husband was a medic in the Vietnam War, and he had his own demons. I am thankful Connard reached out for counseling and is now able to provide professional services to help others. His perspective on the war, while unique to me and difficult to comprehend, likely will be relatable to others who have been there and will provide some degree of understanding for those who have not."

       - Martha Louise, author of Married to Merlot: A Memoir with a Message of Hope

"Connard Hogan's Barbwire, Brothels and Bombs in the Night: Surviving Vietnam proves that history repeats itself in this coming of age insider’s view of repeated generational trauma from a traumatized Vietnam veteran who grew up in the shadow of his father’s World War Two traumas, driving him toward a path in search of healing. There is a certain magic about the transformation that comes through healing and redemption which you will find here in Barbwire, Brothels and Bombs in the Night: Surviving Vietnam."

       - Matthew J. Pallamary, author of Spirit Matters and Holographicosmic Man

"Camus once said we used to wonder where war lived and now we know, inside ourselves. Connard Hogan’s book brings Camus’ words to life as Connard, searching for the meaning of his life while fearful for his own mortality as a young man of twenty, takes the reader into his experience of war in Vietnam — a struggle that continued within his soul long after that war ended. There are many moments in these pages of perseverance and of healing that we can all recognize within ourselves and take solace from as we find our own way."

       - Rebecca Robins, journalist and author of The French Laundry: A Critical Study of the Relationship Of Ethics to Excellence in Restaurant Organization

 

"Very few who went to Vietnam left unscathed. It was physically traumatic, emotionally traumatic, or in many cases, both. Barbwire, Brothels and Bombs in the Night: Surviving Vietnam is the story of one young man’s journey through the challenges of his military service in Vietnam. It is the chronicle of someone who, though he does not face combat, bears the psychic wounds of his coming of age in a wartime environment. Connard Hogan goes to Vietnam a naïve, inexperienced boy of twenty and returns no longer naïve and with experiences that are a far cry from what a boy becoming a man would normally encounter. From the extreme boredom of an office assignment, permeated with an ongoing fear of danger, to a warped sexual awakening in the arms of prostitutes, the year Connard spends in Vietnam, like for many vets, affects him for years to come. It is only when he recognizes the damage he has sustained that he has a chance, finally, to heal and move on."

       - Dale Griffiths Stamos, author, filmmaker and award-winning playwright

"Barbwire, Brothels and Bombs in the Night: Surviving Vietnam by Connard Hogan marks an important and incisive addition to the literature and legacy of the war in Vietnam. In his searing (but ultimately inspiring) memoir, Hogan, who was drafted at age 20, mines his own experience as an Intelligence Analyst to shine a bright light on the dark currents of toxic masculinity, generational trauma, addiction and PTSD that combined to make the conflict in Vietnam America’s most unpopular war, a war from which many never came home, and many more have yet to recover." 

       - Elizabeth Ridley, author, Searching for Celia

"A very engaging story—thoughtfully written and with plenty of emotional, physical tension and well-placed detail that made me connect and empathize with the author’s plight and root for him to succeed."

       - Amberly Finarelli, freelance editor

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