Review: Bullets and Bandages: Bond of Brothers

  • Title:
    • Bullets and Bandages: Bond of Brothers: New Revised Edition
  • Author:
    • Robert J. Saniscalchi
  • Release:
    • March 2, 2022
  • Format:
    • Audiobook
  • Narrator:
    • Tom Lennon

It’s a good thing the story was interesting, ’cause the narrator was terrible. Every line read in the same dull, boring, lifeless tone of voice. He could put an insomniac to sleep. He managed to do a few different voices and accents, they were barely passable at best, but equally as boring. The narrator kept saying “O-700 hours” or “O-800 hours”, I can’t believe I have to bring this up so often; O isn’t a number. Something I found to be even more insufferable was how he kept mispronouncing words. “Farmiliar” isn’t a word and “rations” doesn’t have a y in it. There were a few times when I had to stop to figure out what he was trying to say.

As for the story itself, it was well-told and coherent. It went into graphic detail territory from time to time, which might scare away some, but it’s a war memoir, what would you expect? It’s sad at times, emotional and heartbreaking, and infuriating at others. It’s an interesting read (skip the audiobook), but it tries too heavily to paint the U.S. in a good light. It reads like a pro-U.S. propaganda memoir.

Issues I take with the story itself are how a few characters are talking about how the soldiers are fighting for their freedom. I don’t, nor will I ever hero-worship people who invade foreign countries and murder their civilians, while our own government restricts our so-called freedoms, then praise them for saving our freedoms, which they didn’t do. Another issue is the constant use of military terms without any sort of glossary. I know 0700 hours refers to the time of day and LZ is landing zone, but there were many others I wasn’t aware of.

Finally, if this is the revised edition, why is it that the author kept referring to a venomous snake as poisonous? Venom is injected, and poison is consumed. At one point, the doc sucks out the venom from a soldier’s snake bite which is an incredibly stupid and dangerous thing to do. If you have a sore or cut in your mouth or throat, that snake venom will be poison. I feel a note should have been made if this actually happened, and if not, this incredibly stupid idea should have had a warning next to it.

If you’re looking for an unbiased and honest history lesson on what went down in Vietnam, this isn’t the place. I think it’s interesting and worth a read if you go in aware that it reads like pro-U.S. filtered propaganda that paints the U.S. soldiers as heroes. I personally recommend the book “A True History of the United States: Indigenous Genocide, Racialized Slavery, Hyper-Capitalism, Militarist Imperialism and Other Overlooked Aspects of American Exceptionalism“. It’s a much more honest history lesson about what the U.S. has been up to these last few hundred years. While it’s not about Vietnam specifically, it doesn’t read like propaganda.

NOTE: This copy was provided to me free of charge as a digital review copy. The opinions stated in this review are mine and mine alone, I was not paid or requested to give this book a certain rating, suggestion, or approval.

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