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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Action & Adventure
  • Language:English
  • Pages:254
  • eBook ISBN:9781617929052


A Novel of Vietnam

by Richard S. Rose

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Tarnished Brass Curtain: A Novel of Vietnam explores the sibling themes of conscience and responsibility. The thoughts and feelings of two men—one young, innocent and practical; the other, older, experienced, and idealistic—are examined. In the frame of the present, the main story deals with Senior Chief Journalist Dan Levin, his relationship with the Navy, his doubts about his leadership abilities, and the handling of a public relations crisis over the apparent desertion of the admiral’s son. Dan is an idealistic and conscientious career Navyman trying to adjust to an environment that is frequently hostile and always alien to him. He is concerned about his obligations to the Navy, to his family, to his friend (the admiral’s son), and to his conscience. Interwoven with Dan’s scenes are those showing Lieutenant (junior grade) Fred Hetherington, Annapolis graduate, attack helicopter pilot, and product of generations of in-breeding within the Navy’s aristocracy. He, too, is attempting to reconcile his conscience with his duty. He has refused to return to his unit in Vietnam and has taken sanctuary with a peace activist group. There, he begins to question the correctness of his action, while he seeks someone who will understand him and his action. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ALTERNATE From the skies over the Mekong Delta to the Admiral’s headquarters to the coffee house of the anti-war movement, explore the duties, loyalties and obligations of two men, one young, one experienced, and both conflicted. Why did the Admiral’s son go underground? What is the chief-of-staff covering up? What responsibility did the Public Affairs Senior Chief have? How does he deal with being a career Jewish Navyman in an essentially alien environment, a perpetual stranger in a strange land. Dick Rose offers you a chance to re-live six months in 1968, a year of turmoil, in this controversial but revealing novel, Tarnished Brass Curtain:: A Novel of Vietnam, as relevant today as it was over 40 years ago. Direct order from the author at dickrosebooks.com or on amazon.com. or dickrosebooks.com amazon.com
TARNISHED BRASS CURTAIN: A NOVEL OF VIETNAM SYNOPSIS “”Tarnished Brass Curtain: is a frame story, taking place during a single week in October, 1968, with flashback chapters from one week to six months. It opens in a Navy Public Affairs Office on the west coast. The admiral’s son, a helicopter pilot, has apparently gone underground rather than return to his unit in the Mekong Delta. The frame deals with how the command handles the PR crisis. The flashbacks show combat, discussions of conscience and loyalty, and how the lieutenant reached his decision. Two men are shown in transition: Fred Hetherington, the young lieutenant, who grows throughout the story, matures and goes from uncertainty to conviction; and Dan Levin, the older senior chief journalist in charge of the enlisted staff of the PAO, who goes from certainty to denial. The younger man is a product of generations of military tradition, son and grandson of flag officers. The older man, a career navyman, is an outsider in this military world; he is ambitious, Jewish, has intellectual pretensions and an almost fatal love for words and their meanings, without a full understanding of their consequences. The story begins in the Public Affairs office of the commander of the Pt. Cambiar, Calfifornia Navy Base. A call comes in from the local newspaper concerning a rumor that the commander’s son, a navy combat helicoptaer pilot, has gone underground, rather than return to his base in the Mekong Delta after being home on leave for his mother’s funeral. The command chief of staff not only wants to suppress the rumor, but actually fabricates a message implying that the pilot is on extended leave. The decision is also made not to inform the admiral, who is still mourning the loss of his wife. The PAO staff leadership—the acting public affairs officer and the leading chief petty officer -- is divided on the suppression of the truth. The pilot begins to discover that his action was not as uncomplicated as he thought. He finds himself unwilling to be used as a propaganda tool by the anti-war group with which he has sought sanctuary. He ultimately prepares a brief statement of justification to the press, which is expanded and amended by the group’s leader to advance anti-war, anti-government opinions. Flashback show earlier conversations with the chief and the pilot’s first combat mission. In the present, the chief, Dan Levin, is concerned about his conversations with Lt. Hetherington, and is worried that he may be the cause of Lt. Hetherington’s action, become involved in the furor, and lose his up-coming promotion. He attempts to hide from himself his involvement, although his wife is sure of the reason he seems disturbed. Dan is a perpetual student, now deeply involved in the intellectual exercise of dissent, from Antigone to Martin Luther King. After Fred’s doctored statement is read to the press, all hell breaks loose at Navy headquarters, and a high-powered public affairs officer is called in from Washington. A news conference is set up for the Admiral, who is still unaware of the coverup. He finds out during the conference. Meanwhile, Fred has left his sanctuary and gone to Dan’s house. Dan reluctantly admits him. Dan’s wife, Natalie, cuts through all the strings and forces resolution by calling the admiral and inviting him over. Resolution comes with Fred gaining understanding from his father and turning himself in. Dan’s promotion is safe, but despite his intellect, he is still vaguely and deliberately unaware of the subtleties what has happened.
About the author
Born in Chicago; raised in California. Served in the U. S. Navy from 1951-1971. He served as head of a team of Navy Combat Photojournalists in the Mekong Delta. Married to Barbara Ruth Rose from 1955 until her death in 2007. Earned an MA in Creative Writing from San Diego State University, 1975. Retired from Civil Service in 1997. Now living in Henderson with his daughter, Debbi. "Tarnished Brass Curtain" was a finalist in rhe Military Fiction Category, 2011 Indie Press Excellence Awards, announced on May 15, 2011.