peteg's blog

Greg Lockhart: The Minefield

/noise/books | Link

I don't tend to read books on the military, but as the Smage review says, this one is worth making an effort for. I found it somewhat disconcerting that there are about forty years between the events and their recounting here, which perhaps reflects that it could only be written by someone with Dr Lockhart's almost-unique abilities and concerns, towards the end of his career.

The book is brutally frank about the military situation in the south of Vietnam in the latter half of the war there. He puts the foreign policy concerns of the day in post-colonial perspective, and gives the commanding brass an almost scornful damning. Perhaps most valuable is his compilation of first-hand accounts of mine incidents, from both the Australian and Vietnamese perspectives. I had a sense of relief when the order comes to clear the minefield, and the tenacity of the engineers charged with the task brought some lightness to a mostly fraught narrative.