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.
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The war in Vietnam may have ended in 1975, but its effects are far-reaching and more devastating to the soldiers who gave their lives to serve on behalf of the United States than anyone could ever imagine. Agent Orange is the most commonly known chemical to have had an impact on the men and women who served in Vietnam during the decades long war, but it is far from the only substance to have made its indelible mark on millions of unsuspecting American soldiers. In addition to the onslaught of health concerns for the soldiers themselves, their children and grandchildren are potential victims of the effect of the various chemicals as well.
Patrick Hogan, author of Silent Spring – Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War, lays out for readers, in no uncertain terms a full and complete breakdown of each of the deadly agents used in the pesticides sprayed so liberally in Vietnam during the duration of the war. Hogan, a man who served for just shy of three years in the throes of the war and in the midst of one of the most heavily sprayed areas, brings to light a lengthy list of facts related to each and every toxin administered during those years as well as a complete breakdown of the physical and mental impact each has been proven to cause.
Sadly, Hogan also shines a light on the fact that these brave men and women, now fighting a battle quite unlike the one they faced in Vietnam and one with no end in sight, are being asked to prove, time and time again, that they served in Vietnam in the areas treated by the deadly mixtures. Hogan makes it painfully clear that humiliation, frustration, and fear are all prevalent emotions among the men and women who deserve nothing but respect and the best care our country has to offer. In addition, Hogan reiterates throughout his book, they deserve and are owed an explanation as to why there have not been answers to the endless questions regarding the safety of Agent Orange and countless other toxins used in the pesticides shipped to and used regularly throughout the conflict.
As I read Hogan’s account of his own tragic experiences, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the fact that the general public is grossly misinformed about Vietnam. He is right–most of us are familiar with the term “Agent Orange,” but we have no idea exactly how it was administered, the type of conditions our soldiers endured, and the gross negligence involved in its use. It is simply mortifying, and Hogan should be commended for doing his part to bring long overdue attention to the veterans and their families who deal with the lingering effects of the Vietnam War each and every day.
For as complex as is the subject matter and as involved are his explanations regarding each chemical listed, Hogan writes with a pleasantly conversational and almost familiar tone. The world needs more writers like Patrick Hogan and more veterans willing to come forward and share their own stories. We, as a country, owe them so much more than we realize. Thank you for your service, Mr. Hogan.
Pages: 247 | ASIN: B07KDXN93H
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A Soldier’s Thoughts: A Collection of Poems by Duke Sherman is an interesting, decent sized assemblage of poetry. Each poem captures different parts of his life. In doing so, Sherman shares intimate thoughts, feelings, and aspects of his life with the reader. His poems run the gamut of his experiences as a soldier, PTSD, depression, and about his love life and other life experiences. Intertwined through these poems are also spiritual and religious messages and beliefs along with some political beliefs. Sherman is honest in sharing his life with the reader and does not hold back any of his thoughts.
This book is a hefty book of poetry. It deals with feelings and experiences of one man’s life. In the beginning, it offers an introduction where the writer speaks of the many different definitions of what makes a soldier. One can be a person who has fought in the military, while the other is someone who has fought hard in their life. Sherman is depicted as a soldier in both senses of the word.
Reading through Sherman’s poetry, you get a sense for the man himself. Not only do you get deep, intimate thoughts, but the reader also gets the author’s introspection and strong belief systems. A book of poetry in this sense is telling of the person’s character and a sense of who they are. Reading Sherman’s words was like an autobiography given in fragments. The poems are broken up in different formats, which flow nicely. The rhyming of the poems gives each one a nice rhythm as well.
I learned a lot reading the collection. Much of it was thought-provoking. Sherman is a veteran. Because of this, he wrote a series of flashbacks detailing the destruction he saw in war. As a result, there was a lot of patriotism mentioned. It really made you think about how soldiers were and are currently treated and what patriotism means to certain people.
One of the aspects of the book that was interesting was the disjointed way in which the poems were presented. There was no chronological time in which each poem was presented; it jumped around. At one point, there would be flashbacks as a soldier in Vietnam, and then at another point, it would be talking about one of his many loves or children. I felt that it was a good metaphor for how thoughts are often loose and disconnected, especially when recalling memories. The way it was written really made me feel as if I was in Sherman’s head.
I could also tell that the way he wrote was a way of healing, which is what poetry is about. It is an art form that some like to share with others. I could definitely feel the intensity of his feelings through his written word. I would recommend this book for anyone who may be interested in what it is like to be a veteran or to learn more about war as it is a deeply personal account.
Pages: 386 | ASIN: 1477146423
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Voice of a Crimson Angel is an intimate and thrilling story that leads up to your debut military science fiction book. What was the inspiration that made you want to explore a prequel?
Creating VOCA was something that was on my mind for many years, but it seemed too monumental a task to handle. It wasn’t until I was in the midst of writing Ballad of Demise that I began to see a grand tale in the making. I took that single scene of Julissa Marconi from Reverence and then imagined what her life had been like up to that point and after. That was the only push for the new trilogy. Many reviewers asked questions about how the characters got to where they are, so I figured it was an opportunity to give them answers. It turned out to be a fun experience.
Your currently studying history at the University of Riverside. How has your major helped you write your story and develop your characters?
A TON. The sad but fascinating aspect of history is that the story of the oppressed vs. an oppressor is a familiar one. From ancient Rome to the Spanish Empire, to the British and French empires, superpowers have always had their reign unimpeded for decades before eventual collapse. I wanted to build up the history of the United Nation Republic before it too faces its ultimate crisis. Whether it is still standing when the dust settles is to be determined in future installments.
I also drew influence from the revolutionaries of old, people such as Che Guevara and George Washington. Once the VOCA trilogy is completed, I believe people will see the connections in a new light. History was also a valuable tool in discovering how a revolution starts. First come the words, then the fight to crush those words, and then bullets. The term ‘regime change’ is one perhaps not widely known by the average person, but it is an unquestionable factor in global history. The U.S. has often played a pivotal role in such operations, among them Guatemala, Vietnam, and Iran. The more I read, the more The Expansion seemed very possible.
When writing, do you look at current events, and use them as a springboard for ideas or try to incorporate them into your story?
Current events play a big role most definitely. In VOCA Part I, we see a world where warfare is basically common place. The majority of the people either ignore or don’t care about the conflicts abroad. Once again, I looked to the U.S. The U.S. has been involved in some sort of war for almost its entire history, from the Civil War, Spanish-American, the World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and now the war on terror. Vietnam was the first U.S. war to not split the American conscious on a massive scale. Since 9/11, the U.S. hasn’t slowed down its war game, now in Niger, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries. Despite this, there are no longer large protests confronting this reality. As we listen to music and watch the latest films, the war machine goes on expanding.
These issues, primarily our war driven economy, were the focal points for me in writing the VOCA trilogy.
Any chance you’ll write a prequel that shows the rise of Chancellor Venloran? Kind of like how Star Wars episodes 1-3 showed the rise of Darth Vader? In either case, what do you think that would be like?
I actually have played around with this idea, and the framework is definitely there. I can imagine a young Venloran who sees his country struggling and decides to act. In a way, he’d be comparable to Joseph Halsey, which would be a great foil. It would take time to plan out, especially since I have much planned for the Reverence series. The idea is very tantalizing, though. As of now, I’ve only hinted at the rise of the UNR. For this envisioned ‘prequel-prequel’, I would go in depth to the formation of the UNR Party itself.
The evilest of deeds start with the best of intentions.
Julissa Marconi’s life has never been quite the same since her husband slipped into a coma. Her relationship with her daughter is hanging by a thread, she’s lost all her friends, and she’s retreated to the bottle amidst her sorrows. Truth is, Julissa is struggling to find a reason to wake up in the morning. That all changes when the mysterious Dr. Neeson offers her a chance to discover the truth, and reclaim her life. With the help of the scheming Captain Halsey, Julissa finally has a reason to fight again. She’ll have to act fast, however. Her nation, the United Nation Republic, is hungry for aggressive expansion and the ravenous Chancellor Venloran will stop at nothing to achieve his own twisted goals. Return to the world of the Reverence series with Voice of a Crimson Angel Part I: Persecution, the long-awaited story that sets the stage for the entire saga.
Posted in Interviews
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In Typhoon of Fire we follow Ace Mcdagger who teams up with Captain Loxwell of November squad to rescue her teammates scattered in the forests of Malaysia. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?
During Call of the Conjurer, when the characters were new recruits to the hidden world of modern, magical combat; they spent a lot of time in a regulated, clean environments. The characters were usually safe. I wanted to go the opposite way in Typhoon of Fire. I wanted the situation throughout to be very rough, challenging and dangerous. My very first thought, visually, was of Vietnam era war films like “Platoon” and “Apocalypse Now”.
The jungle is wild and hostile, and Malaysia is a location brimming with different environments which greatly inspired the events throughout. The characters explore flat, arid plains and damp rainforests, a rundown laboratory overrun by plants, an abandoned mine, a floating fortress above the clouds… I had a great time using colour schemes to set the mood. The use of natural environments also helped me to emphasise major themes in the book. Subjects such as ‘corruption of life’, ‘man versus nature’ and ‘Hell on Earth’.
I felt that the novel was very well paced and kept me engaged throughout. Did you plan the novel as you wrote or did it all happen organically?
It happened organically, for the most part. From my perspective, Typhoon of Fire is a prequel to another book I have written – but I decided it would be better to publish them chronologically. Certain events had to happen in Typhoon of Fire, and with that in mind I just had fun writing what I wanted: a creepy science-gone-wrong scenario!
Developing the supporting cast and their stories happened organically as well. They were new characters, who would not necessarily be seen again; so their personalities, roles and fates were all blank slates. I enjoyed unravelling these characters, adding little twists to their personalities to surprise the reader. A lot of the characters are very different people by the end of the story, for better or for worse. I suppose in essence, the main plot of Typhoon of Fire was an after thought for me. The subplots, however; the individual character arcs which pave the way for future instalments, are the real meat and bones of the book. Away from all the magic and sci-fi, this is a book about humanity and frailty.
Ace, Shimon, Tiffany, and Loxwell have brilliant dialogue and they feel like living characters. What things did you focus your character development on to bring your characters to life?
I absolutely adore writing flawed characters. I like my characters fumble their dialogue, on occasion, or misunderstand information given to them. It makes them more human, to be far from perfect. I enjoy the concept of the “unreliable protagonist” and bear that in mind when I write. Sometimes the characters make mistakes, and sometimes they lie, even to themselves. They are supposed to be human, despite any super human magical powers they possess. Careful dialogue keeps them grounded and relatable.
What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?
Tricky one! I actually have two books in the proof reading stage now. One is a direct follow up to Typhoon of Fire, called Bloodfest, which was the book I had written before this one but decided to release later. The other book I’ve completed is a supplementary story called The Sardonyc, which focuses on the Science Department mentioned throughout Typhoon of Fire. The Sardonyc is a very different book to what I have written before, but it is still within the same self contained universe.
Bloodfest will be a straight up action horror / macabre comedy, continuing the adventures of Ace Mcdagger. He is more grown up and world weary by now, and is deployed to a mysterious island to dispatch a rising army of the undead. Definitely one for zombie fans!
The Sardonyc is more of a psychological thriller, about a troubled new character named Sidney. He is part of a research team stuck on a ship in the middle of the ocean, and everybody is slowly going mad. Sidney must figure out why it is happening before he succumbs as well, and there are plenty of twists along the way.
I hope the Literary Titan will review my next book soon – whichever one is out first!
Three years after training; learning about magic combat and of monsters that terrorise our world, soldier Ace Mcdagger and his allies join Captain Rafaella Loxwell of November Squad for a rescue mission. Her team mates have been scattered following a disastrous attempt to seek out a rogue scientist deep in the forests of Malaysia. Their path is mired by many obstacles; treachery, psychic warnings, scientific abominations, and an overwhelming storm – the Typhoon of Fire, slowly closing in on the region without a known cause.
Worst of all, Ace has to contend with a personal challenge – keeping his mad cousin out of trouble.
Can Captain Loxwell save her team mates and complete the mysterious mission? And will Ace and his friends survive out here in the midst of true, heated battle?
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Black Overalls by Tom Donaldson is an all-American tale of home-grown heroism, set in the struggling farms of Texas during the 1960’s. We follow Roy, failed football prospect turned journalist, as he digs into the history of his football idols – and discovers the tale of an unexpected hero. The story takes us from backwater Texas counties, to the State championships, to the horrors of Vietnam, and beyond. We find two seemingly separate lives are more intertwined than we think, and that there’s not much a small town with a big heart can’t do.
The comeback story has a universal appeal – you don’t have to know much about the game in question to appreciate the little guy standing up to the big team. And that’s exactly what this book is: a classic underdog story.
Black Overalls oozes with heart. Tom Donaldson clearly cares deeply about his subject, about the setting, about old-fashioned American values. The book touches on era-appropriate controversies, particularly around race, which culminates in war-torn Vietnam. I have to admit, it’s not where I expected the book to go. But it gives the story a touchingly human element and a feel-good ending. It’s nice to read a book where there’s no shocking twist, no depressing revelation; just a happy ever after. Occasionally that’s to a fault – scenes can lack conflict sometimes – but you certainly come out of it feeling okay about the human race.
This book is obviously a passion project for the author, but it struggles with a lack of proper grammar and punctuation. The pacing is sometimes confusing. The mixed perspective can occasionally jump between past and present without warning or context. And some chapters are often just technical descriptions of matches, venues, plays and lists of scores more comparable to Match of the Day.
Despite the flaws, a need for an editor, and dry sports commentary, I enjoyed Black Overalls immensely. If you’re a football fan or just looking for a short, light read then I think you might just enjoy it too.
Pages: 145 | ASIN: B01BNR347O
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