Friendly Casualties

Friendly Casualties, a novel in stories by Tom Glenn, is centered on the Têt Offensive of 1968. It tells the stories of casualties, Vietnamese and American, of the Vietnam war. At the core is the destruction of the McIntyre family—the colonel, his wife, and their two sons.

In the first part, “Triage,” set between February, 1967 and April, 1976, one soldier murders another, an old Vietnamese woman gives up her chances of survival to save an American child, a woman marries the wrong man, a lieutenant sacrifices his life for questionable motives, a reporter helps soldiers build their club, and a military family disintegrates. Casualties are GIs (the killer Kerney, angelic Griffin, the black alcoholic Diver, the aspiring journalist Sam), officers (the retired cancer-ridden Colonel McIntyre; his elder son, Jamey, the army doctor whose wife kills herself; Earl’s younger son, Chris, who cannot live up to his father’s expectations), Vietnamese (the old amah Yen, the prostitute Xuan, and the shadowy Doctor Xuyen), and American civilians (the alienated journalist, Larry; the ugly-duckling Sissy; the flirt Roxie; and Betsy, Earl’s estranged wife).

In part two, “Healing,” the threads of the disparate lives are brought together through the story of Maggie, an intelligence analyst at the Embassy in Saigon who violates security to save her lover. At the end, Maggie agrees to have lunch with a one-armed soldier because “we have to begin somewhere” to learn all over again how to live.

(adapted from Goodreads)

More reading

Author blog

Dr. Tom Glenn Recognized as a Professional of the Year by Strathmore’s Who’s Who Worldwide Publication (includes a brief bio)

Tom Glenn’s Facebook Page

Interview with Tom Glenn on Army.Mil (including some nifty old photos from his service)




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