Tag Archives: VVA Veteran magazine

Review: The Butterfly Rose

A new review of my novel The Butterfly Rose by Tom Werzyn in the Oct. 3, issue of the online VVA Veteran Magazine:

Rarely these days are readers granted an opportunity to enjoy an offering so well constructed and presented as Dick Stanley’s novel, The Butterfly Rose(Cavalry Scout Books, 252 pp. $13.08, paper; $.99, Kindle), a three-generation story of an American and a Vietnamese family’s involvement with each in Vietnam.

Stanley, a former journalist who served in the infantry in the Vietnam War, wordsmiths the English language to an almost lyrical presentation.

One example: “It is a valley of flowers but none is more beautiful than the silken, five petal roses that turn many colors in their brief lives, as ephemeral as butterflies fluttering on a green bush.”

The Butterfly Rose centers on a young, Confederate Army officer, Sean Constantine, a large man with a glowing mane of red hair and a beard to match. After participating in The battle of Manassas, he joins the French Foreign Legion. Through a series of events involving his brother, father, black servant, and a stay in Paris, Constantine is posted to a colonial French garrison in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.

His love of roses, developed over the years of his Mississippi youth and his worldly travels, finds a like-minded individual in the 1860s in Vietnam: a village shaman, an old woman skilled in naturopathic and herbal medicines and remedies. She also is a conjurer who converses with the many gods and deities roaming the Vietnamese jungles.

Dick Stanley

Fast forward a century to a team of American advisers working with an [RF-PF] combat team in that same Central Highlands valley near Que Son. Neal Constantine, a red-headed grandson of Sean, is a member of that American team, working as a historian. He possesses his grandfathers’ 1860s diary and flower guide. And he meets the great granddaughter of the village healer, without knowing about the earlier family connection.

The story toggles back and forth between the centuries, chapter by chapter. Parallels are drawn, including the weather, expectations of higher commands, tactics, ideologies, as well as the relationship between the big, red-headed American and the old healer and their shared interest in the roses that populate the valley.

This novel artfully spans nations, generations, wars and people, and it ties all those strands together with a shared love of flowers and of the short gift we all share with each other—that of life.

VN vet study reaffirms PTSD is chronic

Latest print issue of VVA Veteran has results of the Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study of 2014, a followup to the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study of 1986. Both were funded by the VA.

The new study confirms the 1986 findings in that a majority of “Vietnam theater veterans,” presumably meaning those who served in-country “are mentally and physically healthy four or more decades after their warzone service.” Their average age is now 67 years old.

But “a significant number [about 14 percent] are suffering from persistent and chronic PTSD symptoms related to their experiences in the war.” And their rates of depression are “more than fifty times greater” than those who do not have PTSD. The PTSD also appears to be episodic, waxing and waning on its own cycle.

The study and its results are expected to be useful in anticipating the long-term needs of veterans of more recent campaigns, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

Via VVA Veteran.

Nice review

More or less. Well, just four words, actually. But coming from Marc Leepson, arts editor of the Vietnam Veterans of America’s VVA Veteran magazine, they were aimed right at the target audience: Vietnam vets.

"…a first-rate collection…" he wrote in the January/February issue of my 16-story "Leaving the Alamo, Texas Stories After Vietnam," which is thumbnailed over on the sidebar, at the top, courtesy of Amazon.com. Hasn’t produced a sale yet, but after being ignored by POD-dy Mouth the print-on-demand world’s most famous reviewer, it was a lift, anyhow. Try it, you might like it. Professionally-edited and just a hair over $8. How can you miss?

UPDATE  Well, it was just over $8, then the print-on-demand house, Lulu, repriced it, so now it’s $10.78. Still a bargain, I think.