EBOOK or KINDLE (The Healer's War) º Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
The Apache Wars: The Hunt for Geronimo, the Apache Kid, and the Captive Boy Who Started theLongest War in American History kTo why the hell they are halfway across the world fighting Communism when their supposed allies don t seem to want them thereThe Healer s War pulls no punches when describing the dreadful injuries of war but what stands out is that Kitty treats Vietnamese civilians as well as US soldiers and actually forms closer bonds with her Vietnamese patients who are just caught in the middle Everyone is a victim sacrificed for a larger Cold War political chess game between the US and Communist powers like China and the Soviet Union So whether her patients are American soldiers South Vietnamese civilians or even Viet Cong POWs her mission remains to treat their injuries and bring them comfort One of her patients is an old man named Xe with a mysterious amulet that he refuses to surrender even when going into surgery Despite being a double amputee he seems to have a strange power and aura of strength that draws her to him When the amulet comes into her possession she discovers she can see and shape the psychic auras of others which helps her in her treatment of patientsThe first half of The Healer s War is hardly science fiction or fantasy at all it is a memoir of a young nurse treating soldiers in Vietnam and also about her private relationships with the soldiers all of whom are desperately horny for the company of an American woman It s uite funny how they all try to pick her up some with crude comments others with finesse but freuently they are married and concealing it After all they are far from home and could beilled any day It s both flattering and insulting to her how much attention she gets Eventually she does meet a handsome and fairly charming chopper pilot named Tony and they are able to share some intimate moments amid the stress and miseryHowever when Kitty is transferred to a new medical facility and assigned a new head doctor his virulent racism and hatred of all Vietnamese people because his younger brother was illed in Vietnam leads to an insurmountable conflict due to her close bonds with her Vietnamese patients One day he simply orders her to discharge all of them saying he d be damned if he devotes a single resource to helping the enemy This includes many of her close friends and sending these amputees to local Vietnamese clinics amounts to a death sentence It s a very emotionally wrenching situation very finely describedThe final third of the book is the only part in which the fantasy element becomes prominent as Kitty is stranded in the forest with a one legged young Vietnamese boy and a crazed black American soldier who has lost his entire company As they wander through combat zones hoping to avoid the Viet Cong and find friendly US forces Kitty discovers just how much psychological damage the war has inflicted on both herself and her companions assisted by the aura sensing power of the amulet When they are then captured by Viet Cong soldiers things get very complicated The resolution is dramatic but morally ambiguous as any treatment of the Vietnam War must inevitably be It did remind me of Vietnam war films like Platoon Casualties of War and even Coming Home and Born on the 4th of July at the endThe Healer s War is a memorable Vietnam War memoir with a uniue female perspective and though its fantasy elements are not really crucial they do add to her ability to try to understand and heal the wounds of war I would recommend it to anyone who wants some perspective of this war though it is a visceral and gut experience and not for the faint of heart I read this book when #it first came out and debated with about whether to nominate it #first came out and debated with myself about whether to nominate it the Mythopoeic Award It is an amazing book in my opinion but I didn t consider it mythopoeic After I regretted not nominating it but it won the Nebula Award so that s even betterI find it as powerful today as when it first came out I still can t uite consider it mythopoeic but it is a tremendous story of change and struggle Scarborough drew on her own experience as an army nurse in Viet Nam and this book has the ring of truth The book starts with Kitty in panic mode trying desperately to save a young girl she accidentally overdosed because she Kitty was resentful at the doctor who had prescribed the meds We see Kitty grow from a rather truculent and somewhat careless young woman into a compassionate healer This is accomplished largely through the magical amulet which a dying patient gives her Learning to use the amulet Kitty learns about it and herself I don t want to say because it would reuire spoilers but I found Kitty s journey to be uite believable especially her reactions after she returns to the StatesThis book could so easily have been written today about an army vet who did a stint in Ira It s timeless and priceless Check it out I would never ever suggest censoring any piece of literature especially one as honest as this despite the fact that it s fiction However I would have given it four stars if only I could have stomached the brutality That s my own failing of course but I wasn t exactly prepared for it as about 75% of the book was probably about to my limit of violence and then the jungle happensI do realize this
written in 1988 and as such does not reference happening in today s world but good literature is often relate able through the years and I think the reason I had such a gut wrenching reaction really to the point of nausea is because of what is happening in the Middle East right now Elizabeth Ann Scarborough first nown to me as the author of bawdy funny fantasy was a nurse durse the American war in Vietnam THE HEALER S WAR is what cam. Her own personal experiences to create the central character Lt Kitty McCulley McCulley a young and inexperienced nurse tossed into a stressful and chaotic situation is having a difficult time reconciling her duty to help and heal with the indifference and overt racism of some of her colleagues and with the horrendously damaged soldiers and Vietnamese civilians whom she encounters during her service at the China Beach medical facilities She is unexpectedly helped by the myster. The Healer s War is a great example of a book I shouldn t have liked for at least two reasons One it s set in the Vietnam War a downer topic if ever there was one Second it s yet another example of the pseudo fantasy genre In other words fiction that s been classified as a fantasy due to so In theory this should be right up my alley A fantasy novel set during the Vietnam War I can neither confirm nor deny that I ve run that DD campaign multiple times I ll even go for Magical Realism Vietnam War a la Apocalypse Now or Going After Cacciato In some ways given the shambles of the actual war it serves well enough as a playground for psychological drama above logical senseThe first half plays it pretty straight Lt Kitty McCulley is a nurse in Vietnam in 1969 much like our author Her life consists of 12 hour shifts on the ward treating a rotating cast of wounded GIs and a long term group of Vietnamese patients Americans don t stay long either well enough to head back to their units or hurt enough to be medevaced to Japan The Vietnamese lucky enough to get care at a medical facility are there for uite a while There s a lot to be said about Xinhdy a cheerful woman with a hip wound Ahn a little boy who lost a leg and Xe a holy man who lost two legs When she s not on the ward Kitty is dating helicopter pilots and suntanning at the beach The memoir is pretty solid as far as these things go I ve read a lot of memoirs from the soldiers perspective and for them a date with an American nurse was the white whale holy grail of things to do in Vietnam and it s fascinating to see that sexual environment from the other side The never very pretty Kitty has her pick of sexy charming crazy liarsThe second half of the book the fantasy part is where it comes apart Xe bestows an amulet on Kitty that lets her see auras and heal by touch and then dies When a new surgeon comes in and begins icking the Vietnamese out of the ward to die Kitty finagles an evacuation for Ahn She and the boy are shot down in the jungle where they wander through an increasingly unlikely series of encounters They meet a crazy GI who s the lone survivor of his suad and gain the loyalty of a village by fighting a giant snake and healing the victims of an airstrike Then Kitty is captured by the VC and rescued by the Americans only to have a General propose to ill her in case she s been subverted At the end it s back to The World only to find America unusual and strange Kitty drifts around in a nurses version of a PTSD fugue working night shifts and edging towards suicide only to find salvation when her flight to LAX arrives at the same time as a planeload of boat people refugees The memoir worked well enough and I m a fan of the lightly fictionalized memoir genre since few people have lives that nicely match a three act structure But I didn t much like the magic Auras are a cheap trick to tell readers the emotions of characters rather than showing The ability to heal by touch is a power fantasy for a nurse in the same
Was Written In 1988 And As Such Does Not Reference
Way That To Kill that to ill will is a power fantasy for a warrior but Kitty doesn t do much with it And while the parts of the story set in the hospital felt very grounded the parts set in the hinterlands of Vietnam felt very floaty and imaginary You can be there without being there Still we spent most of our beer drinking time talking about
book so I ll count it as a win And thing that ept coming up for both my husband and I was that this really wasn t a fantasy Yes there s an amulet in the book with a few magic powers but it s in some ways such a minor part of a straight forward Vietnam novel The most magical power it seems to have other than you now healing is as a plot pass to get a white woman in among the Vietnamese people and then the Viet Cong without long term injuryNote The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I came to this decision hereIn the meantime you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook The Healer s War Harrowing tale of a Vietnam combat nurseOriginally posted at Fantasy LiteratureThis is another Nebula winner I ve had on the shelf ever since it was published in 1998 but hadn t got around to reading So when I found an audio version on Audible narrated by Robin Miles one of my favorite female narrators after listening to NK Jemisin s phenomenal The Fifth Season that was enough to pull it to the top of my TBR list Elizabeth Ann Scarborough is mostly nown as a writer of humorous fantasy novels along with several collaborations with Anne McCaffrey #so it was uite a surprise to discover that she was a combat nurse in Vietnam #it was uite a surprise to discover that she was a combat nurse in Vietnam The Healer s War is a fictional treatment of her experiences there complete with fantasy elementsThe Healer s War is the story of Lieutenant Kitty McCulley an inexperienced young nurse who feels it s not fair for just young American men to go off to Vietnam and risk their lives so she signs on for a stint as a combat nurse at China Beach The first third of the book is about her struggles with the stressful conditions away from home fending off constant sexual advances from the soldiers though not always and trying to come to terms with the chaos and brutality of warThough she is not on the front lines dodging bullets land mines Viet Cong soldiers hostile villagers and punji stick traps she treats the young soldiers that have to deal with these conditions every day freuently suffering horrendous physical injuries and just as often psychological trauma like PTSD along with the anger and suspicion that come from distrust of the South Vietnamese and uestions as. Although perhaps best nown for her lightly humorous fantasies and for her collaborations with Anne McCaffrey on the Petaybee series and the Acorna series Elizabeth Anne Scarborough has also written Healer's War a classic novel of the Vietnam War enriched with a magical mystical twist which won the 1989 Nebula Award for Best Novel of 1988 The Minneapolis Star Tribune called it A brutal and beautiful book Scarborough herself was a nurse in Vietnam during the war and she draws on. .
the book so I ll count it as a win And