Posted by Literary Titan
Silent Spring – Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War uses your personal account of the Vietnam War to shed light on the dangerous conditions US servicemen served in. Why was this an important book for you to write?
In the beginning, writing a book was the further thing from my mind. However, shortly after I had returned home from Vietnam for the last time, my father urged me to file a disability claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) for medical problems I had experienced during my service. I began the process without much enthusiasm and quickly got sidelined by my new civilian life. Little did I realize that I wouldn’t re-visit my disability claims again until almost forty years later when I watched President Barack Obama give a speech on the horrors of the Vietnam War. I’m still not quite sure what happened that day, but after listening to the president, I felt an urgency to commit myself to investigate the causal link between my exposures to Agent Orange and the myriad health problems plaguing not only my life but the lives of many other Vietnam veterans.
When I started my investigative journey into Agent Orange, I never suspected what I would discover. But, I quickly learned we were exposed too much more than just the one infamous pesticide. The deeper my exploration went and the more I thought about all the lives which had been taken and damaged by the rampant use of pesticides during the war; the more determined I became to try to set the record right. So, starting with the death of my friend Larry White the book was born.
It’s a disgrace that so many lives have been lost over the last half-century, and no one knows the truth or exactly how many veterans died because of the chemicals they were exposed to in Vietnam. Likewise, our government can’t even tell us how many of the three million “in-Country” Vietnam Veterans are still alive today. One of my biggest regrets is it took me so long to wake up.
This book discusses many of the toxic pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides used in the war. What do you find is a common misconception people have about their use in Vietnam?
The most common misconception is most people believe Agent Orange was the only pesticide we were exposed too. The truth is the Vietnam War is a disinformation campaign by the government to downplay or outright ignore all the other chemicals we were exposed to in Vietnam. Had the government been forthcoming with the same information in my book there would have been no misconceptions. Then again, no one has ever put together an investigation or book on all the complex issues and chemical of the Vietnam War before either.
You often use your personal account of your time in Vietnam, but did you also conduct any research for this book?
I conducted over three years of research for this book. I have quite literally reviewed thousands of studies, medical opinions, and documents. I’ve talked to doctors and other medical professionals, the vast majority of which came to the same inescapable conclusions as I eventually did at the end of my research. Low-level exposures to just the various known chemicals discussed in my book will attack living organisms on an undetected hormonal, genetic, and cellular/molecular level, producing covert systemic damage and alterations to immune, cardiovascular, endocrine, respiratory, and neurological systems of any human unlucky enough to be put in their path. Exactly how that damage and those alterations manifest depends on the several exposure factors which I discuss in the book.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
As I was putting the finishing touches on Silent Spring – Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War and reading through all the data and information again, it started me concentrating on what our government and the military-industrial chemical corporations were capable of creating in South Vietnam during the war. I began to spectacle, on just how the United States got away with unleashing so many harmful pesticides during the war. Awkwardly, for me at least, even though I was there, the whole concept of what occurred in Vietnam is still quite perplexing and hard for me to fathom.
Still, based on my years of research, it appears that pesticide companies, our government, lumber companies, and large commercial agricultural groups, as well as many of our state and federal agencies, consider pesticides—both herbicides and insecticides—essential for use in today’s modern, industrialized world. Consequently, what occurred in Vietnam hasn’t stayed in Vietnam. It has, over the intervening half century, continued to be ever so skillfully reproduced in today’s world. Like Vietnam, our government and chemical companies are primarily still using the same classic trickery of smoke and mirrors for the specific protection of harmful pesticides and their manufacturers.
So, my next book will be titled, Betrayal of America by the Political and Industrial Complex. In this exploration, there will be a stunning investigation into the depth of corporate and political treachery and greed. Any American angry with the present corporate and political system after reading this shocking investigative account will turn their anger into sheer outrage when they learn what is being allowed to be used in our environment.
As for when it will be finished, God only knows.
Silent Spring – Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War is not just another book about the Vietnam War or Agent Orange. Instead, it is a “silver bullet” which cuts through the heart of the circumstances and pesticides used during that war—highly toxic herbicides and insecticides which in some cases are still being used all over the world.
The book is much more than a memoir of one Vietnam veteran’s struggles over the decades after the war. It is a full-length analysis of the various conditions in Vietnam and the chemicals that were unleashed on not only the enemy but also on US service personnel.
Pat Hogan, the author and the main subject in the biography portion of the book, chronicles his early life and enlistment into the war in the mid-’60s. He starts with the life story of a friend and fellow vet, Larry White, who died decades later from numerous complications of the pesticides he was exposed to while stationed in Vietnam.
Hogan returned from Vietnam in ’69 and started having minor health difficulties himself. He became a police officer and then a police academy instructor. It is this occupational skill set—his investigative and analytical ability—that truly brings a high impact to the rest of the book. As you read through the volumes of information, you will be absolutely stunned at what the US government had willingly dumped on Vietnam and its own troops. In fact, in the book’s postscript, the author even makes a case for some of those same chemicals still being used today on you and your children, not just in the U.S. but all over the globe.
Posted in Interviews
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