Entwined with Vietnam

A Reluctant Marine’s Tour and Return


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About the Book

In 1968, Theodore Hammett entered a war he believed was wrong, pressured by his father’s threat to disown him if he withdrew from a Marine Corps officer candidate program. He hated the Vietnam War and soon grew to hate Vietnam and its people. As a supply officer at a field hospital uncomfortably near the DMZ, he employed thievery, bargaining and lies to secure supplies for his unit and retained his sanity with the help of alcohol, music and the promise of going home. In 2008, he returned to Vietnam for a five-year “second tour” to assist in improving HIV/AIDS policies and prevention programs in Hanoi. His memoir recounts his service at the height of the war, and how the country he detested became his second home.

About the Author(s)

Theodore M. Hammett served as a Marine Corps officer in Vietnam in 1968–1969. Between 2008 and 2018, he spent five years living in Vietnam and working on HIV/AIDS projects. He lives in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Bibliographic Details

Theodore M. Hammett
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 280
Bibliographic Info: 42 photos, maps, glossary, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8601-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4615-2
Imprint: McFarland

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Theodore Hammett’s poignant, bittersweet memoir, Entwined with Vietnam, is a story about two nations, two cultures, and one man who devoted a significant part of his life trying to understand the conflicts and commonalities that characterized the relationship between them. A gifted, truth-telling writer, Hammett explores the complexities of personal identity, family, war, tragedy, reconciliation, and redemption with consummate clarity and engaging wit. Written more than 50 years after his initial encounter with Vietnam as a young Marine, this unforgettable book joins the short list of indispensable literature on the war that changed America—and Southeast Asia—forever.”—Raymond Arsenault, historian and author of Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice and Arthur Ashe: A Life

• “Ted Hammett, at his Marine father’s command, joined the Corps and, although he thought the war was wrong, went to Vietnam soon after his Harvard graduation—as the very height of America’s military disaster there was approaching. Loafing off, boozing it up, and learning to despise the Vietnamese, he was a less than stellar supply officer and a quintessential version of the Ugly American. Years later, he returned to this scene of youthful disillusion, first as a tourist and then as an idealist bent on halting the spread of AIDS/HIV in the country. His success in this endeavor, his burgeoning stature among Vietnamese officials, and his increasing love for the country and its people provide a stellar example of the dictum one character cites that ‘Bad things can lead to good.’ To borrow a phrase from Bob Marley, this book is a ‘redemption song,’ not only for its author but for America itself.”—Win McCormack, editor in chief, The New Republic