"Cherries- A Vietnam War Novel" by John Podlaski is a work of fiction relying heavily on reality. Podlaski served in Vietnam during 1970-1971 in the 25th Infantry and the 101st Airborne as did the main character John Kowalski, AKA "The Polack". The novel follows the Polack through his year in Vietnam starting with the plane ride over and ending the same way. The book starts off with the 25th and the Cherries, or beginners. It continues to follow the 25th even after some are transferred to the 101st, but still keeps the Cherries in the storyline either by point of view or questioning.
When you think of the Vietnam War the first thing you generally think of is the movie, "Platoon". Well, it is similar, but it may not have been as theatrical as that. I really like this novel. It didn't go by the stand-by Nam stuff that is usually portrayed. It showed Vietnam through the eyes of a boy turning into a man. It seemed well researched, though I did doubt some when it mentioned the river that Houdini drowned in (he didn't, btw), but that could have been a "error on purpose" since it is told through the eyes of a boy who probably got most of his history through movies. "Cherries" tells the story, leaving no doubt in your mind that Vietnam was miserable, but doesn't go overboard in trying to impress you. If you're looking for a thrill, this ain't it. If you are looking for some personal history, than here you go. A-. The only reason I give it a minus is because the dialogue seemed a little forced in the beginning. I received this book for free from www.librarything.com.