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My Detachment by Tracy Kidder
My Detachment is Tracy Kidder's memoir of his Vietnam War experience. As an aspiring writer and Harvard student, he joins the ROTC, for reasons he's never quite grasped. Trained as an intelligence officer, he's sent to the rear echelons in Vietnam and given a small detachment of men to command. Far from battle, saddled with a group of men who don't seem to need or want any leadership, he relieves his boredom by writing letters full of falsified war heroics and a non-existent Vietnamese girlfriend. Some of these letters he never sends, other he sends in bitterness to the girlfriend back home who is slowly breaking up with him. He includes excerpts from the war novel he tried to write, whose violence and lurid prose were far from his reality. My Detachment has received mostly positive reviews with the Village Voice saying, "In My Detachment, with its candor and humor, Kidder not only pokes fun at his failed Vietnam book; he redeems it."