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dhaupt
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Week 1 Discussion for Finding Jack by Gareth Crocker

[ Edited ]

Happy Monday and welcome to the General Fiction May discussion of Finding Jack

Here are the first weeks questions, use these to get the conversation going and please feel free to add your own thoughts and feelings as well. Remember the author is with us all month long but he is in South Africa so beware of the time differences. Enjoy!!

And

 

  •  

    Questions for Finding Jack

     

    Part 1

    First thoughts

     

    1. On page 10  & 11 we get a description of Charlie “Just cunning and cutting” – “Charlie was a ghost that never slept”
    What does this mean to you

     

    2. We’ve met the Fat Lady Platoon – are there any who stand out
    why or why not

     

    3. While in the “soup” the men talk about the hopelessness of the war
    I remember being in high school near the end of the war and I was always sad how some of the people treated the returning Veterans.
    Do you remember Vietnam, if so what were your feelings about the war itself and the participants.

     

    4. We find out the discipline that Fletcher received for disobeying orders
    Are you surprised by it-where you expecting more- did you understand what Rogan was talking about

     

    5. Jack recovers his wounds rather miraculously so much so that Bruno says it’s due to divine intervention
    Can you see that, or are the men just looking for anything to believe in at this point

     

    6. Jack is soon “one of the boys”, he’s saved all of the platoon while out on patrol and has earned the love and respect of all the soldiers of “the strip”.
    Tell us how you feel about Jack, has the author done a good job of character development for him.

     

    7. Death is unavoidable in war and this novel is no exception and even though we’d rather the author kill off the people we hate that isn’t always possible
    So in that respect how do you think the author handled it

     

    8. In chapter 49 Fletcher knows that if he looses Jack he will never recover from it
    Are you surprised by what Fletcher does

     

    Distinguished Correspondent
    A_G_D
    Posts: 270
    Registered: ‎02-04-2011

    Re: Week 1 Discussion for Finding Jack by Gareth Crocker

    Happy Monday to you too Debbie and to everyone here!! Let's hope we all have a wonderful week!!:smileyhappy: I couldn't wait for this day to come and I have to tell you I am very happy that I decided last moment to join in the conversation. I started reading the book on Friday and couldn't put it down. When I reached chapter 52 I forced myself to stop reading and switched back to my other book because I wanted to share my feelings and answer the questions with what I know so far. This is such an emotional story that it was hard not to cry at certain parts. Mr. Crocker did a wonderful job at capturing the emotions of the characters and combining the crude and violent war life with the sensible and caring nature of human soul. Before buying the book I read a few reviews and some of them were arguing the accuracy of the information as well as condemning the language used by the author. I have to say that I am not usually in favor of curses and I do my best to restrain from them as much as possible but I have to defent Mr. Crocker in his use of words. After all this is war we're talking about and this men are fighting for their lives and we have to accept the reality of the situations they are faced with. I think the appropriateness of their vocabular is the last thing these soldiers think about when any second their life could be over. We have to look at the bigger picture and accept the good and the bads that come with it. I just felt like sharing my thoughts on some of the comments I read about the book. Now back to the questions...

     

    1. On page 10  & 11 we get a description of Charlie “Just cunning and cutting” – “Charlie was a ghost that never slept”
    What does this mean to you

     It's almost impossible to imagine having to watch your back every second of the day and not be able to relax not even at night. But this is what the situation looks like and that is why Charlie is described as a "ghost that never slept". You can never be safe enough and whenever you least expect it they hit and you have to be ready for the attack. It's hard to imagine this kind of life and for me, it makes me appreciate and respect those enroled in the army even more. What they do and go through is beyond imagination for those of us sitting in the comfort of our homes.  

    2. We’ve met the Fat Lady Platoon – are there any who stand out
    why or why not

    To me it's all about Fletcher. Not to say that the other ones don't play a crucial role in the succes of their platoon but his instability and his reason for enroling in Vietnam make me almost hold my breath whenever there is a chance he might die or help himself die. But nevertheless, Rogan is definetely an important figure in their formation and from the beginning I knew there was more to him than he initially showed. His seriousness and detachment from any sort of humourous situation is mostly due to the responsability he has for the men in his platoon. He can not afford to lose concentration, not even for a minute because he knows this might cost them their lives. I am not so sure that he sees a higher purpose in the war and that he doesn't share in the feelings of his soldiers but he is a very disciplined individual who knows how to restrain himself and follow orders.

    Travis also caught my attention probably because he shares a similar tragedy as Fletcher which is why I assume the two men become so close. When they talk about retreating to Miami and spending some time finding themselves and deciding what to do with their lives when the war is over, the only thing you can do is hope that their dream could come true. These two men lost the most important thing in their lives and there is so little left for them that's meaningful that every sign of hope and thought of the future on their part makes you hopeful as well that they will survive both tragedies.

    Of course Mitchell (I think that's his name if I am wrong please forgive me I do not have the book with me right now can not double-check) plays a crucial role as well. After all it's thanks to him that they survive so many traps and before Jack arrives in their unit they probably couldn't have made it without him.

    I haven't expressed any thoughts on Fletcher yet..But as a soldier in the Fat Lady Platoon he deserves the recognition as well. In spite of the seriousness of the situation I must admit that I was impressed how fast he adapted to the war life and became a great shooter. He clearly gained the respect of his partners and was considered an essential part of their Platoon. But behind his fighter's shell, we see his vulnerability, depression..his internal war. His recollections of the time spent with his family are heartbreaking and I can't even imagine what a person in his situation feels like. It's also hard to believe that he is not even 30 years old. The tragedies he witnessed caused him to mature faster than other men of his age. Up until the point where he saves Jack and finds a new purpose for him even if only in the short-run, I see him as being almost immune to everything that goes around him. He is a soldier, a machine gun among so many others lost in his own mind, his own inner tragedy. But the moment Rogan orders Jack to be shot he snaps out of his inner world and I think that's when we see Fletcher wake up to the reality of what surrounds him.

    These are the 4 characters that caught my attention right away but of course we have all the other ones, especially the very young soldiers. It was again heartbraking to see one of them die (I apologize again I can not remember his name) and not be able to come home to his fiancee. It was even sader the reason for which he enrolled in the first place and the fact that Fletcher decided to write to his family and to his fiancee and tell them how courageous he was and respected among his war partners tells us a lot about Fletcher's character.

     

    Have to stop here for now, be back in a little bit to finish the questions..But I have to say I love the book! Great job Mr. Crocker and thank you Debbie for selecting it!!

     

    Andreea
    "Books are the quitest and most constant of friends; they are the most accesible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers." -Charles Eliot
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    GarethC
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    Re: Week 1 Discussion for Finding Jack by Gareth Crocker

    Hi there,

     

    Thanks so much for taking the time out to participate. I'm so pleased you've enjoyed the novel. You mentioned in your opening comments that some of the reviewers have questioned the book's factual accuracy. While I feel that some of these remarks are unfair, some of them are most certainly justified. The truth of the matter is that I've tried to create as realistic a Vietnam as I could - drawing on the experiences of several veterans. But, to be honest, perfect factual accuracy was never the point of Finding Jack. It is a novel, not a work of non-fiction. I wrote Finding Jack in the hope that it would move and inspire those who read it. So, if there's anyone out there expecting a perfect factual account of the war - I'm afraid Finding Jack isn't quite the place for that. But if you want to feel some emotion, if you want to accompany a soldier and his dog on the journey of their lives ... well, perhaps I can help you there.

     

    Anyway, thanks again - and I'll keep watching. If you have any questions, fire away!

     

    PS: In terms of the language, I don't enjoy foul language - but it is the reality. Stephen King said it best. He said that for an author's novels to be believed, the author has to tell the truth of a situation. Even if he doesn't like the truth. If a person tries to hammer a nail into a wall and succeeds only in hammering his thumb, chances are that person is not going to say: 'Oh darn, that's dreadfully painful.' The truth is, they're probably going to roll out three or four swearwords and then throw something across the room. lt's an author's duty to tell the truth. That's also the reason why there are a great many cliches in the novel's dialogue - because it's the truth of the situation.   

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    dhaupt
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    Re: Week 1 Discussion for Finding Jack by Gareth Crocker

    [ Edited ]

    Andreea, I'm glad you like the choice and thank you for your responses.

     

    I remember reading some of the other reviews as well and it reminded me of when The DaVinci code came out and there was all this turmoil and I just kept thinking what part of it's fiction don't they understand. Just like this novel, it's fiction, yes it's based on a certain time and place but it's not a War Novel like Gareth told us in his interview. I'm so glad I don't rely on other people's reviews for choosing my reads. 

     

    And thank you Gareth for jumping right in.

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    A_G_D
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    Re: Week 1 Discussion for Finding Jack by Gareth Crocker

    Thank you Mr. Crocker for checking in with us! I totally agree that is not the accuracy of the information that is important here. Of course I am not implying that it's all fabrication, I am just saying that even if there might be some pieces of information not entirely accurate first of all I think nobody without the actual experience will notice anyway and secondly, like you said, that is not the focus of the story. As far as the language is concerned it definetely reflects the reality and the atmosphere so no worries there:smileyhappy:.

     

     

    Andreea
    "Books are the quitest and most constant of friends; they are the most accesible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers." -Charles Eliot
    Distinguished Correspondent
    A_G_D
    Posts: 270
    Registered: ‎02-04-2011

    Re: Week 1 Discussion for Finding Jack by Gareth Crocker

    Now back to the questions:

     

    3. While in the “soup” the men talk about the hopelessness of the war
    I remember being in high school near the end of the war and I was always sad how some of the people treated the returning Veterans.
    Do you remember Vietnam, if so what were your feelings about the war itself and the participants.

      

    I can not comment too much on this question since I wasn't even born during the war but what I can say is that if it's true what was said in the letter Fletcher received from his editor, that the returning soldiers were seen as criminals and not heroes than I think that's wrong! A war is a war and these soldiers would have to deal with emotional instability and other post-war issues for the rest of their lives. The least they could get was recognition for their efforts! It's easy to judge and comment when you are not forced to face death every minute of every day.

     

    4. We find out the discipline that Fletcher received for disobeying orders
    Are you surprised by it-where you expecting more- did you understand what Rogan was talking about

     

    In spite of it being a hard and cruel decision, I totally understand why Rogan ordered Jack to be killed. I didn't know that Charlie used to plant grenades in the dogs' skin but it makes sense. So Jack posed a great risk for the whole platoon. I don't believe  that Rogan acted out of pure cruelty. He was doing his job and protecting his soldiers and Fletcher admitted that what he did was risky and could've caused them their lives. I was impressed by the fact that Rogan did not report the incident to his superiors and that only makes me think higher of him. It confirms that he has a heart and understands human nature and feelings beyond the cruelty of war.

     

    5. Jack recovers his wounds rather miraculously so much so that Bruno says it’s due to divine intervention
    Can you see that, or are the men just looking for anything to believe in at this point

     

    Jack's recovery is definetely impressive but not impossible! I'm sure there have been similar recoveries in real life and to me it's a matter of chance and good medical care. I am very happy that he survived (of course, without him there wouldn't be a story). I also think he is a strong dog, used to the war environment but I am not sure that this contributed to his recovery. I think it's the care and love he received from the soldiers. I agree that for them Jack becomes a symbol of what they love the most: home and their families and taking care of him it's also a break from their routine. It's something with a purpose, something for which they understand putting the effort in.

     

    6. Jack is soon “one of the boys”, he’s saved all of the platoon while out on patrol and has earned the love and respect of all the soldiers of “the strip”.
    Tell us how you feel about Jack, has the author done a good job of character development for him.

     

    I guess I answered part of the question above but I do like Jack's character. What is there not to like about a dog anyway??:smileyhappy: He's loyal, smart and forgiving..I am an animal lover so reading the pain that this doggy had to go through was heartbreaking. No animal deserves to be brutalized or abandoned. I love Jack and I am proud of the way he saved the platoon during their dangerous missions!

     

    7. Death is unavoidable in war and this novel is no exception and even though we’d rather the author kill off the people we hate that isn’t always possible
    So in that respect how do you think the author handled it

     

    Again I think Mr. Crocker captured the reality of the situation very well.. Like you said, Debbie, not only the bad people die. Unfortunately, from the beginning I expected at least one of the soldiers in the Fat Lady Platoon to die. When there were so many soldiers dying every day it would've seemed too good to be true for all of them to survive. The irony of the sitution is that they survived all their risky assignments just to be killed so close to the end of the war..I was hoping Travis would survive because I really wanted to see the 2 of them, him and Fletcher together with Jack in Miami, recovering after the war. But I guess hoping too much when it comes to war it's dangerous so I should've waited a little longer before creating certain scenarios in my head.

     

    8. In chapter 49 Fletcher knows that if he looses Jack he will never recover from it
    Are you surprised by what Fletcher does

     

    I was a little bit surprised by him jumping out of the helicopter. I initially thought he would come up with a plan to take Jack with him but I didn't expect him to stay behind. Given the circumstances, however, I think that was his only option. I am also impressed with Rogan for helping him and understanding what Jack means to him. I totally understand what Fletcher meant when he said that if he looses Jack he will never recover. For him, Jack is more than just a dog. He is a symbol for the family that he lost. He IS his family now and loosing him would probably, at the stage he is right now, cause as much pain as the first time and I am sure he is aware that he would not survive the second time. The description of Jack running after the helicopter made me cry. How can you NOT want to jump out and hug him??I hope they don't have to separate again and that they will find their way home!

     

    I am so anxious to continue reading!! This is a wonderful story that I am sure every animal lover would enjoy to the fullest!

     

     

     

     

    Andreea
    "Books are the quitest and most constant of friends; they are the most accesible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers." -Charles Eliot
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    A_G_D
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    Re: Week 1 Discussion for Finding Jack by Gareth Crocker

    Andreea, I'm glad you like the choice and thank you for your responses.

     

    I remember reading some of the other reviews as well and it reminded me of when The DaVinci code came out and there was all this turmoil and I just kept thinking what part of it's fiction don't they understand. Just like this novel, it's fiction, yes it's based on a certain time and place but it's not a War Novel like Gareth told us in his interview. I'm so glad I don't rely on other people's reviews for choosing my reads. 

     

    And thank you Gareth for jumping right in.


    Yes, I remember the turmoil around The DaVinci Code :smileyhappy:. I actually loved the book and 2 others written by Dan Brown. The turmoil was caused by the religion implications that the book had but like you implied, the readers should take the book for what it is : a mistery, fiction novel. A very fast-paced and entertaining one in the case of The DaVinci Code. My opinion is that if you strongly believe in something, it should take more than a book, a story to shake that belief so in my opinion the turmoil was unjustified. That is why I didn't consider serious the comments made regarding the accuracy of "Finding Jack".

    Andreea
    "Books are the quitest and most constant of friends; they are the most accesible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers." -Charles Eliot
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    1AnneB
    Posts: 848
    Registered: ‎08-03-2009

    Re: Week 1 Discussion for Finding Jack by Gareth Crocker

    Hi Everyone -  Here's my thoughts...

     

     

     

    Part 1

    First thoughts - This is MY war - my generation lived and died through this war

     

    1. On page 10  & 11 we get a description of Charlie “Just cunning and cutting” – “Charlie was a ghost that never slept”
    What does this mean to you
     
    Unfortunately, that description fits with the explanations given to me personally and through the media. Chilling, aren't they? - yes they were.

     

    2. We’ve met the Fat Lady Platoon – are there any who stand out
    why or why not

     

    The 3 that stood out for  me, other than Fletcher, are: Travis, Lord and Rogan. Travis for his "boy-next-door" vulnerability. Lord for his invincibility and cool. Rogan for his authority tempered by his humanity.

     

    3. While in the “soup” the men talk about the hopelessness of the war

    I remember being in high school near the end of the war and I was always sad how some of the people treated the returning Veterans.
    Do you remember Vietnam, if so what were your feelings about the war itself and the participants.

     

     Tough question, Debbie - I think I speak for many of my generation when I say that while I think that it was a futile war that was politically movtivated by Washington, DC, I was proud of the men and women who served bravely and were there because they felt a duty to their country. They should have been welcomed home with open arms, but instead they were treated like pariahs.

     

    4. We find out the discipline that Fletcher received for disobeying orders
    Are you surprised by it-where you expecting more- did you understand what Rogan was talking about

     

    I think that both Fletcher and I were surprised by what Rogan did. In a way, it shattered my (and possibly Fletcher's) ideas about Rogan.
     

    5. Jack recovers his wounds rather miraculously so much so that Bruno says it’s due to divine intervention
    Can you see that, or are the men just looking for anything to believe in at this point

     

     I can see it both ways, and personally, I like to think it was a little of both.

     

    6. Jack is soon “one of the boys”, he’s saved all of the platoon while out on patrol and has earned the love and respect of all the soldiers of “the strip”.
    Tell us how you feel about Jack, has the author done a good job of character development for him.

     

     I'm a sucker for animals - that said, I think we are given excellent insight into Jack's character.

     

    7. Death is unavoidable in war and this novel is no exception and even though we’d rather the author kill off the people we hate that isn’t always possible
    So in that respect how do you think the author handled it

     

    He should have included Kleenex with the book and I have a sinking feeling that we are going to need them again.

     

    8. In chapter 49 Fletcher knows that if he looses Jack he will never recover from it
    Are you surprised by what Fletcher does

     

     No, it did not surprise me, after all the other options were exhausted. I just didn't see the actual method coming ------Now, I can continue to Part 2 -  with a big box of Kleenex at my side.

     

    Thank You Gareth Crocker for a wonderful book --- so far

     

    Anne

     


     

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    Re: Week 1 Discussion for Finding Jack by Gareth Crocker

    Hi Anne,

     

    Thanks so much for getting involved. I hope you enjoy the remaining parts!

     

    Best wishes,

    Gareth.

     

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    dhaupt
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    Re: Week 1 Discussion for Finding Jack by Gareth Crocker

     


    1AnneB wrote:

    Hi Everyone -  Here's my thoughts...

     

     

     

    Part 1

    First thoughts - This is MY war - my generation lived and died through this war

     

    1. On page 10  & 11 we get a description of Charlie “Just cunning and cutting” – “Charlie was a ghost that never slept”
    What does this mean to you
     
    Unfortunately, that description fits with the explanations given to me personally and through the media. Chilling, aren't they? - yes they were.

     

    2. We’ve met the Fat Lady Platoon – are there any who stand out
    why or why not

     

    The 3 that stood out for  me, other than Fletcher, are: Travis, Lord and Rogan. Travis for his "boy-next-door" vulnerability. Lord for his invincibility and cool. Rogan for his authority tempered by his humanity.

     

    3. While in the “soup” the men talk about the hopelessness of the war

    I remember being in high school near the end of the war and I was always sad how some of the people treated the returning Veterans.
    Do you remember Vietnam, if so what were your feelings about the war itself and the participants.

     

     Tough question, Debbie - I think I speak for many of my generation when I say that while I think that it was a futile war that was politically movtivated by Washington, DC, I was proud of the men and women who served bravely and were there because they felt a duty to their country. They should have been welcomed home with open arms, but instead they were treated like pariahs.

     

    4. We find out the discipline that Fletcher received for disobeying orders
    Are you surprised by it-where you expecting more- did you understand what Rogan was talking about

     

    I think that both Fletcher and I were surprised by what Rogan did. In a way, it shattered my (and possibly Fletcher's) ideas about Rogan.
     

    5. Jack recovers his wounds rather miraculously so much so that Bruno says it’s due to divine intervention
    Can you see that, or are the men just looking for anything to believe in at this point

     

     I can see it both ways, and personally, I like to think it was a little of both.

     

    6. Jack is soon “one of the boys”, he’s saved all of the platoon while out on patrol and has earned the love and respect of all the soldiers of “the strip”.
    Tell us how you feel about Jack, has the author done a good job of character development for him.

     

     I'm a sucker for animals - that said, I think we are given excellent insight into Jack's character.

     

    7. Death is unavoidable in war and this novel is no exception and even though we’d rather the author kill off the people we hate that isn’t always possible
    So in that respect how do you think the author handled it

     

    He should have included Kleenex with the book and I have a sinking feeling that we are going to need them again.

     

    8. In chapter 49 Fletcher knows that if he looses Jack he will never recover from it
    Are you surprised by what Fletcher does

     

     No, it did not surprise me, after all the other options were exhausted. I just didn't see the actual method coming ------Now, I can continue to Part 2 -  with a big box of Kleenex at my side.

     

    Thank You Gareth Crocker for a wonderful book --- so far

     

    Anne

     

     


     

    Anne, thanks so much for your contribution as we're of about the same age I agree with your outlook of the war too.

    Your other thoughts were spot on for me as well, as for the kleenex I guess we'll just have to see :smileyhappy:

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    Peppermill
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    Re: Week 1 Discussion for Finding Jack by Gareth Crocker

    Do you remember Vietnam, if so what were your feelings about the war itself and the participants.

     

    I think we need to treat those as several very different questions, Debbie.  Even though the losses to America were huge (~58,220), the Vietnamese losses were some 1-3 million.  When McNamara published his memoirs, one of the comments was that he still didn't get it: the war was about what it did to Vietnam and the Vietnamese, less about America.

     

    Now, close to forty years later, one probably needs to reassess.

     

    As for the participants, they range from those of us who were citizens, the government officials and politicians who made critical decisions about involvement, the military leadership, as well as the soldiers who fought in the war.  There are probably better analyses around, but this site does suggest some things about the poor treatment our soldiers received:

     

    http://www.providence.edu/polisci/students/vietnam/index.html

     

    However, we must also remember that this was a period of incredible social change.  I remember feeling that Martin Luther was wrong when he began to speak out against the Vietnam War.  Yet, in hindsight, I realize this was a period in history that young and old alike decided that they needed to speak against long held customs and expectations.  A question that I ask now is, were the young who didn't participate in those protests get unfairly treated.  And I certainly don't think that was the only consideration by any means.

     

    The treatment of those who serve continues to be an issue, as we know from the protests that have been held at military funerals even during the current conflicts.  Shame on us.

     

     

    "Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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    dhaupt
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    Re: Week 1 Discussion for Finding Jack by Gareth Crocker

     


    Peppermill wrote:

    Do you remember Vietnam, if so what were your feelings about the war itself and the participants.

     

    I think we need to treat those as several very different questions, Debbie.  Even though the losses to America were huge (~58,220), the Vietnamese losses were some 1-3 million.  When McNamara published his memoirs, one of the comments was that he still didn't get it: the war was about what it did to Vietnam and the Vietnamese, less about America.

     

    Now, close to forty years later, one probably needs to reassess.

     

    As for the participants, they range from those of us who were citizens, the government officials and politicians who made critical decisions about involvement, the military leadership, as well as the soldiers who fought in the war.  There are probably better analyses around, but this site does suggest some things about the poor treatment our soldiers received:

     

    http://www.providence.edu/polisci/students/vietnam/index.html

     

    However, we must also remember that this was a period of incredible social change.  I remember feeling that Martin Luther was wrong when he began to speak out against the Vietnam War.  Yet, in hindsight, I realize this was a period in history that young and old alike decided that they needed to speak against long held customs and expectations.  A question that I ask now is, were the young who didn't participate in those protests get unfairly treated.  And I certainly don't think that was the only consideration by any means.

     

    The treatment of those who serve continues to be an issue, as we know from the protests that have been held at military funerals even during the current conflicts.  Shame on us.

     

     


     

    All very true Pepper, I did mean the statement more conversationally than politcally and by participants I should have said GI's.

     

    The novel takes place during the Vietnam conflict but the author has made it clear that this is a ficitonalized account and so I didn't really want to dwell on the actualities of the War, just sort of a what did you think in general kind of a question.

     

    And speaking from my heart I have asked myself those same questions that you did.

    thanks for your attention to detail as always.

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    Peppermill
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    Re: Week 1 Discussion for Finding Jack by Gareth Crocker

    your attention to detail ...

     

    LOLI'm afraid my attention to detail got a bit careless, Debbie.  My excuse is that I wrote the original post, then realized I needed to get somewhere and had to decide whether to post or abandon.  I think it was the realization that we now have a generation that does not know first hand those painful, growing times in our nation's history that called me to say something, albeit inadequate.  Even those of us who lived through those days weren't necessarily as aware as we might have been.  Personally, I was out of college, where much of the foment occurred among those potentially directly impacted, and in a job that day-to-day kept me relatively detached from the "big picture" of this country.  Also, at that point my college experiences had been on campuses less likely to take aggressive stances on public issues.

     

    I just spent a few minutes searching the Wall for a name I believed I would recognize, but no longer recall (without success).  A sobering experience.  But, some of you reading this may like to know about this site:  http://thewall-usa.com/index.asp#search.  Note the quotation there from Major Michael Davis O'Donnell -- if this post weren't already so long, I'd repeat it here.

     

    I have corrected a couple of obvious errors in the quote below, one Dr. King's name; the other, grammatical.

     

    My library did have Finding Jack.  I read a few chapters last night. 

     

    I have always been deeply impressed by the memorial in Washington, DC, designed by Mia Lin and expanded by the Three Soldiers statue and the Vietnam Women's Memorial.  The Memorial Wall, the shard of black, the "healing wound" cut deep into the living green turf (reminiscent of "In Flanders Field") ... each individual name, and an aspect I had not considered until I read the Wikipedia article today -- the polished surface reflecting the image of each of us who view it.  (There is another war poem that speaks of the healing green grass, rather than poppies, but I don't remember enough right now to find it.)

     

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_Memorial

     

     


    dhaupt wrote:

     


    Peppermill wrote:

    Do you remember Vietnam, if so what were your feelings about the war itself and the participants.

     

    I think we need to treat those as several very different questions, Debbie.  Even though the losses to America were huge (~58,220), the Vietnamese losses were some 1-3 million.  When McNamara published his memoirs, one of the comments was that he still didn't get it: the war was about what it did to Vietnam and the Vietnamese, less about America.

     

    Now, close to forty years later, one probably needs to reassess.

     

    As for the participants, they range from those of us who were citizens, the government officials and politicians who made critical decisions about involvement, the military leadership, as well as the soldiers who fought in the war.  There are probably better analyses around, but this site does suggest some things about the poor treatment our soldiers received:

     

    http://www.providence.edu/polisci/students/vietnam/index.html

     

    However, we must also remember that this was a period of incredible social change.  I remember feeling that Martin Luther King was wrong when he began to speak out against the Vietnam War.  Yet, in hindsight, I realize this was a period in history that young and old alike decided that they needed to speak against long held customs and expectations.  A question that I ask now is, were the young who didn't participate in those protests unfairly treated.  And I certainly don't think that was the only consideration by any means.

     

    The treatment of those who serve continues to be an issue, as we know from the protests that have been held at military funerals even during the current conflicts.  Shame on us.

     


     

    All very true Pepper, I did mean the statement more conversationally than politically and by participants I should have said GI's.

     

    The novel takes place during the Vietnam conflict but the author has made it clear that this is a ficitonalized account and so I didn't really want to dwell on the actualities of the War, just sort of a what did you think in general kind of a question.

     

    And speaking from my heart I have asked myself those same questions that you did.

    thanks for your attention to detail as always.


     

    "Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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    dhaupt
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    Re: Week 1 Discussion for Finding Jack by Gareth Crocker

     


    Peppermill wrote:

    your attention to detail ...

     

    LOLI'm afraid my attention to detail got a bit careless, Debbie.  My excuse is that I wrote the original post, then realized I needed to get somewhere and had to decide whether to post or abandon.  I think it was the realization that we now have a generation that does not know first hand those painful, growing times in our nation's history that called me to say something, albeit inadequate.  Even those of us who lived through those days weren't necessarily as aware as we might have been.  Personally, I was out of college, where much of the foment occurred among those potentially directly impacted, and in a job that day-to-day kept me relatively detached from the "big picture" of this country.  Also, at that point my college experiences had been on campuses less likely to take aggressive stances on public issues.

     

    I just spent a few minutes searching the Wall for a name I believed I would recognize, but no longer recall (without success).  A sobering experience.  But, some of you reading this may like to know about this site:  http://thewall-usa.com/index.asp#search.  Note the quotation there from Major Michael Davis O'Donnell -- if this post weren't already so long, I'd repeat it here.

     

    I have corrected a couple of obvious errors in the quote below, one Dr. King's name; the other, grammatical.

     

    My library did have Finding Jack.  I read a few chapters last night. 

     

    I have always been deeply impressed by the memorial in Washington, DC, designed by Mia Lin and expanded by the Three Soldiers statue and the Vietnam Women's Memorial.  The Memorial Wall, the shard of black, the "healing wound" cut deep into the living green turf (reminiscent of "In Flanders Field") ... each individual name, and an aspect I had not considered until I read the Wikipedia article today -- the polished surface reflecting the image of each of us who view it.  (There is another war poem that speaks of the healing green grass, rather than poppies, but I don't remember enough right now to find it.)

     

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_Memorial

     

     


    dhaupt wrote:

     


    Peppermill wrote:

    Do you remember Vietnam, if so what were your feelings about the war itself and the participants.

     

    I think we need to treat those as several very different questions, Debbie.  Even though the losses to America were huge (~58,220), the Vietnamese losses were some 1-3 million.  When McNamara published his memoirs, one of the comments was that he still didn't get it: the war was about what it did to Vietnam and the Vietnamese, less about America.

     

    Now, close to forty years later, one probably needs to reassess.

     

    As for the participants, they range from those of us who were citizens, the government officials and politicians who made critical decisions about involvement, the military leadership, as well as the soldiers who fought in the war.  There are probably better analyses around, but this site does suggest some things about the poor treatment our soldiers received:

     

    http://www.providence.edu/polisci/students/vietnam/index.html

     

    However, we must also remember that this was a period of incredible social change.  I remember feeling that Martin Luther King was wrong when he began to speak out against the Vietnam War.  Yet, in hindsight, I realize this was a period in history that young and old alike decided that they needed to speak against long held customs and expectations.  A question that I ask now is, were the young who didn't participate in those protests unfairly treated.  And I certainly don't think that was the only consideration by any means.

     

    The treatment of those who serve continues to be an issue, as we know from the protests that have been held at military funerals even during the current conflicts.  Shame on us.

     


     

    All very true Pepper, I did mean the statement more conversationally than politically and by participants I should have said GI's.

     

    The novel takes place during the Vietnam conflict but the author has made it clear that this is a ficitonalized account and so I didn't really want to dwell on the actualities of the War, just sort of a what did you think in general kind of a question.

     

    And speaking from my heart I have asked myself those same questions that you did.

    thanks for your attention to detail as always.


     


    Well as usual Pepper your incomplete response puts some of mine to shame. Thanks for the link to the wall, I didn't know about that. I'm glad your library had it and that you're joining us.

     

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    1AnneB
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    Re: Week 1 Discussion for Finding Jack by Gareth Crocker

    Hi Debbie ( and Pepper, too) I just read your latest posts, and, at least for me, it is interesting to note where in the "generations" we are. At the times we are talking about I was in college in the Baltimore/DC area, as well as engaged to (although didn't marry)  a member of the military who was in Vietnam for 2 tours. In those tours, he was with a group very like The Fat Lady - so when I read the book, things that I had not thought about in a long time, rushed into my memory - not always in a good way. Fortunately, he returned from Vietnam and has made a good life for himself. He was welcomed home joyously by his family and friends, thank goodness, because many returning veterans were not. I think, as with many books, we read them through the lens of our experiences - past and present. That colors out perceptions, and is why I think that no two people feel the same way about the same book, movie, event etc. Often I think that if only everyone would remember this.....

     

    Anne

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    dhaupt
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    Re: Week 1 Discussion for Finding Jack by Gareth Crocker

     


    1AnneB wrote:

    Hi Debbie ( and Pepper, too) I just read your latest posts, and, at least for me, it is interesting to note where in the "generations" we are. At the times we are talking about I was in college in the Baltimore/DC area, as well as engaged to (although didn't marry)  a member of the military who was in Vietnam for 2 tours. In those tours, he was with a group very like The Fat Lady - so when I read the book, things that I had not thought about in a long time, rushed into my memory - not always in a good way. Fortunately, he returned from Vietnam and has made a good life for himself. He was welcomed home joyously by his family and friends, thank goodness, because many returning veterans were not. I think, as with many books, we read them through the lens of our experiences - past and present. That colors out perceptions, and is why I think that no two people feel the same way about the same book, movie, event etc. Often I think that if only everyone would remember this.....

     

    Anne


     

    How right you are Anne, I was a senior in High School in 72 so much younger than most of the stars of this novel and you are right about and I love how you put it "through the lens of our experiences"

    thanks

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    Peppermill
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    Re: Week 1 Discussion for Finding Jack by Gareth Crocker

    ''...I think, as with many books, we read them through the lens of our experiences - past and present. That colors our perceptions, and is why I think that no two people feel the same way about the same book, movie, event etc. Often I think that if only everyone would remember this....."

     

    SO much, I agree with you, Anne.  I have been especially struck by that the past few days as the media has interviewed the families and survivors of the 9/11 attacks.  Some of those around me have expressed especial concern about the jubilation that broke out Sunday night, this in a community that was especially hard-hit that day.  Yet, at some level, we also can understand the underlying emotions.

     

    I have always considered such diversity of viewpoints one of the reasons to read -- not to reinforce one's own views, but to challenge them.

     

    That's part of why questions like Debbie's are powerful, but difficult to draw down deep within ourselves from which to respond.

     

    (I presume the "Fat Lady" at some level is derived from Kate Smith and "God Bless America"?)

     


    "Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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    Re: Week 1 Discussion for Finding Jack by Gareth Crocker

    (I presume the "Fat Lady" at some level is derived from Kate Smith and "God Bless America"?)

     

    Pepper, that is an excellent question for Gareth.

     

    Gareth?

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    A_G_D
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    Re: Week 1 Discussion for Finding Jack by Gareth Crocker

    I read your latest posts, Debbie, Pepper and Anne and I have to admit I feel a little bit dissapointed that I can not comment too much on the experiences and feelings all three of you shared. This is mainly because for me, the Vietnam war is all but an image I created for myself from reading and listening to others..While not having the first hand experience is not such a bad thing considering what we're talking about, I am sure you understand how it feels discussing about something without having the chance to form your own opinions. But at the same time, I am grateful that I am able to read about it and share in your own personal experiences and so I appreciate you mentioning all the things that you did.

    Anne, I think it must've been extremely hard having your fiancee in the war. I can't imagine having my husband gone for so many months in a row facing death every day. It must be nerve recking and I admire and respect all the families that have to deal with this separation.

    Wars, as you can still see today unfortunately, are for me an unbelievable thing to be facing in this day and age especially if you consider the reasons behind them. Considering the latest news and all the uncertainties behind them, it makes you wonder when will we reach a point where innocent people will stop paying for the political and religious disagreements of much smaller groups of people than those dying every day? My first thought after hearing the news on Sunday was at all the families who have loved ones fighting in this war who will probably see what happened as the return of their husbands, wives and children. And I can only hope that soon that will be the case but at the same time I am afraid that this is far from over and that there are so many unknown reasons to us that it's hard to predict with certainty when there will be an end to it. 

    Andreea
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    Re: Week 1 Discussion for Finding Jack by Gareth Crocker

    Hi Pepper, Thanks so much for your contribution to the discussion - it is much appreciated.

     

    I chose the name 'The Fat Lady' following an interview with one of the soldiers. Apparently 'The Fat Lady' was a nickname for his team/platoon. It just stuck in my head, I guess.

     

    Best wishes,

    Gareth.