Vietnam authors signing booksPublished 9:05pm Tuesday, March 20, 2012
BENTON HARBOR — Meet the writers of two different perspectives on the Vietnam War at a book signing from 7 to 9 p.m. April 4 in the Blue Lecture Hall at Lake Michigan College’s Benton Harbor campus.
“Donut Dolly,” written by Joan Kotcher, shares the unique experiences of a young woman, while “Cherries,” written by John Podlaski, reflects on the challenges of young male recruits.
Kotcher’s book transports you to the Vietnam War, taking you face down into the dirt while under sniper attack, in a helicopter being struck by lightning, at dinner next to a commanding general and slogging through mud along a line of foxholes. See the war through the eyes of one of the first women officially allowed into the combat zone.
With one year as an American Red Cross Donut Dolly in Korea, Kotcher departed for Vietnam in 1966. She visited troops from the Central Highlands to the Mekong Delta, from the South China Sea to the Cambodian border. At four duty stations, she set up recreation centers and made mobile visits wherever commanders requested.
Podlaski’s book puts you directly into the action, and you are one of them, until you close the cover. The story is set in 1970 and follows the 18-years-olds — drafted and trained by the Army infantry for five months – to Vietnam with others their age to fight in an unpopular war.
Nothing could have prepared them for what they faced.
You will get an in-depth look at their daily struggles, feel the fear, awe, sorry and drama; witness bravery and sometimes, laugh at their humor. The battles of Vietnam reached beyond those against enemy soldiers; they included the personal battles which challenged these teens every day.