Fire and Rain
A Novel of Vietnam: by Oswald Rivera
* Publisher: Westview Press
* Pub. Date: October 1990
* ISBN-13: 9780941423410
* Edition Description: 1st ed
Based on events surrounding the riot in the Marine Corps brig in Da Nang, Vietnam, Fire and Rain contains the perfect metaphor for the American experience.
Publishers Weekly wrote: (Excellent Review)
The U.S. Marine Corps’ prison in Da Nang, Vietnam, was the scene of a massive riot and outbreak in 1969. Frustrated American inmates, many of them black and Hispanic, released their pent-up anger over inhumane prison conditions and guards’ sadistic brutality by burning down more than one-third of the brig; its recapture took a high toll in soldiers’ lives, with Americans fighting Americans. This true-life incident is the basis for a searing, authentic novel that adds a new dimension to our understanding of the Vietnam War. Through the eyes of Corporal Dawson, a Midwestern high-school dropout accused of stabbing to death his company commander, and through flashbacks, we witness the U.S. military’s bungling in battle and experience the seething racial tensions dividing white, black and Latino inmates. Rivera, a New York police analyst of Puerto Rican descent, saw combat as a Marine in Vietnam. His quietly powerful story is as realistic in its gritty detail as a war diary. (Nov.)
Library Journal wrote:
In Vietnam, 1969, Marine Corporal Dawson is charged with murdering his squad leader. He is incarcerated in the Da Nang brig, a foul pit in which the worst of Marines guard those convicted or suspected of crimes. Eventually conditions deteriorate so much that the prisoners revolt; most are murdered by the guards. This is a thoroughly nasty little book combining the harshest elements of prison and war story genres. Rivera bases the story loosely on a real prison riot and seems mostly concerned with the unfair treatment suffered by black inmates. The events, language, attitudes, and actions of the guards and inmates are for librarians and readers with very strong stomachs. Recommended possibly to round out a comprehensive subject collection.– Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army TRALINET Ctr., Ft. Monroe, Va.
A different review from the Internet:
In this angry and brutal novel, a marine corporal in Vietnam, charged with the murder of his squadron leader, is incarcerated in a loathsome prison and becomes involved in a prison riot.
A young Marine imprisoned for murdering his company commander gets caught up in the riot of inmates at a Marine brig in Vietnam.
“War novels are often called uncompromising, brutally realistic, disturbing. This one really is.”
“Written with Dostoevskian precision.”