Valley of The Purple Hearts

The 101st Airborne West of Hue after The 1968 Tet Offensive

The story of an infantry squad in Vietnam.

When eighteen-year-old Buck Marino first meets Rolley Zwyrkowski, he little realizes the young sergeant and their next year together in Vietnam will change his life forever. The months following the 1968 Tet Offensive and the battles of the 101st Airborne between Hue and Phu Bai, and westward into the A Shau Valley, provide the backdrop for a story about boys becoming men in a paradoxical war. And when he meets Army nurse Janie Jorgensen, Buck believes he has found the love of his life only to crash into the reality that the war has left his heart and soul lost in a futureless void.

BIB

Winner of the 2017 Best Indie Book Award for Mainstream Literary Fiction, Valley of The Purple Hearts follows the men of Second Squad through the shadowy jungles and mountains of I-Corps as they fight main force Viet Cong and NVA regulars. With constant enemy contact, booby-traps, sniper fire, and all-out firefights, Buck and his buddies follow their squad leader, Rolley, who puts the lives of his men first. As Rolley faces the young and inept Lieutenant Mallon, Buck realizes his squad leader is becoming jaded and has lost his sense of humor. When the young sergeant sacrifices his safety for that of his men, Buck must step up to face Mallon in the heat of battle, and try to save his friend.

Valley of the Purple Hearts Purchase Options

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You may also enjoy my other books below:

Melody Hill: A Vietnam War Novel

Gomorrah Principle: A Vietnam War Sniper Story

Raeford’s MVP: Military Fiction with a Love Story

Tallahatchie: Southern Fiction and Dark Comedy

Rawlings, No Longer Young: A Western Historical Fiction Novel

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Recent Posts

Designer Dogs and Such

…Or, a failed July beach landing…

Okay, I am certain there have been numerous articles written in dog-world publications about the fad of creating designer dogs for the bored rich. I finally met both at the beach in Florida last week—the bored rich couple with their boutique dog. Properly trussed in a decorative harness with leash, the mutt was tethered to their Yeti cooler, which of course was well decorated with travel decals from around the US. To say the dog looked strange would be an understatement. On occasion, I’ve watched the grandkids with their little animal puzzles assemble such things: A unicorn head with a giraffe body and such, not that the dog had either, but the breeding process must have been similar. The dog’s head resembled something like a Brittany or a Cocker Spaniel, but its body was strangely tapered to very small hips which were covered with a wiry fur resembling that of a Schnauzer.

After studying the animal for a while, I decided to ask the obvious question: Why bring a dog to bake in the July sun at the beach? Just kidding. No, I didn’t, but I did ask what kind of dog it might be. The woman quickly donned a beach wrap upon my intrusion, which was actually a favor to the eyes of nearby beach-goers—not that I am a showpiece of human manhood myself, but just sayin’. The response from the dog was considerably less frosty as she furiously wagged her stubby little tail. The man answered my question with something that sounded like he was trying to say “Cockroach Cereal” with a mouth full of marbles.

After studying the dog for a moment I proceeded to put my foot in my mouth by saying, “Oh! She’s a mix.” And I suppose I could have offended them worse by kicking sand into their wine glasses, but calling the mutt a “mix” seemed to have done the trick. The woman’s lips parted and Mister Dog Owner’s cheeks grew noticeably flushed as his voice tightened to the tone of a blender trying to grind ice. “No! She’s a very popular breed in Souyuth Jawja (I think he meant to say South Georgia)…” but whatever he was saying was lost to my ears as I realized what an inept social klutz I had become.

The thought occurred to me to make amends and regain some social equilibrium by introducing a little humor. “Oh! I see. Yes, we have quite a few dogs like that where I am from. We call them full-blooded Mississippi Mutts.” Their faces solidified into something resembling crimson granite countertops as I tumbled miserably into the abyss of the totally gooberfied nerd world. “Nothing to see here, folks–move along, now.”  I wished them a good afternoon and continued scavenging for seashells.

Update July 2019: Hopefully, in a week or so, I will be announcing the publication of the second book in the Rawlins Trilogy, Rawlins, Into Montana. Rawlins into Montana book coverIn the meantime, I have begun work on the fifth book in the Vietnam War Series, tentatively titled The Birdhouse Man. There’ll be more to come on that later in the summer. As always, I humbly beseech you to write a review on Amazon for any of my books that you have read. It doesn’t have to be War and Peace. A single line is enough as long as it describes some facet of the story you particularly enjoyed.

 

Rick DeStefanis

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