Sympathy for the Devil
Just wanted to give a very quick review of Sympathy for the Devil by Kent Anderson. It goes somewhat hand in hand with Night Dogs, also written by Kent Anderson. I say this because they both have the same main character and their style is very similar.
One of the first things I noticed before I read these books was the authorís background. The author was both a Special Forces vet in Vietnam and a Portland police officer after that. Since Sympathy for the Devil is written about a young Special Forces soldier in Vietnam, and Night Dogs about a Portland cop it is hard not to think a lot of the books is not influenced by actually experiences the author had, or at least emotions he went through.
That being said, I bought Sympathy for the Devil when I first joined the army, and after reading it thought it was quite good, but didn't give it a whole lot of thought. After having served in Iraq and been in combat it takes on a lot more meaning. A lot of the book delves into psychological changes and the effects they have on a young man that is experiencing combat and being close to death for the first time. For those that have served in the army the language and situations will seem familiar, if not in the combat sections, in others.
While I am certainly not one for reviewing books normally, I thought I should share these two with everyone, especially Sympathy for the Devil. It speaks to some of the emotions those that have to deal with death and life threatening situations deal with. And while it doesn't offer solutions, and while may be more extreme than what most people face, the journey it takes the reader through from a fresh faced recruit to a cynical battle hardened veteran is both tragic, entertaining, informative, and to some people reminiscent of experiences, emotions and transformations they have had to make in their own lives.