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Lynda M. Van Devanter

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Lynda M. Van Devanter, a registered nurse, was a Lieutenant in the Army, stationed at Pleiku, and Qui Nhan, South Vietnam from 1969 to 1970. She was the women's director of Vietnam Veterans of America and the author of Home Before Morning: The Story About Nurses in Vietnam.  Linda M. Van Devanter died in 2002.

 

According to the New York Times, “Ms. Van Devanter's memoir was Home Before Morning,, which helped inspire the television series ''China Beach.'' In it, she wrote of her transformation in 1969 from ''an all-American girl'' and idealistic supporter of the war into an overworked, confused nurse at the 71st Evacuation Hospital in Pleiku, where the gore and horrors of war were constantly before her.”

 

The San Francisco Chronicle said of Home Before Morning, “This incredible story, which plunges us immediately into the bloodiest aspects of the war, is also a suspenseful autobiography that will keep you chewing your fingernails to see if Van Devanter survives any of it at all. She proves herself a natural storyteller. . . . The most extraordinary part in this book is Van Devanter's plight after the war-her attempt to retrieve the love of her family, only to realize they don't want to see her slides, hear her stories; her assignment to menial duties at Walter Reed Army Hospital. . . . How Van Devanter survives all of this to become, incredibly, a stronger person for it is what makes her book so riveting.”


Home Before Morning: The Story of an Army Nurse in Vietnam
Lynda Van Devanter  More Info

The Washington Post said of Home Before Morning, “An awesome, painfully honest look at war through a woman's eyes. Her letters home and startling images of life in a combat zone-surgeons fighting to save a Vietnamese baby wounded in utero, the ever-present stench of napalm-charred flesh, a beloved priest's gentle humor and appalling death, the casual heroism of her colleagues, a Vietnamese 'Papa-san' trying to talk his dead child back to life, a haunting snapshot dropped by a dying soldier with no face-tell the story of a young American's rude initiation to the best and the worst of humanity.”

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