Pennies from Vietnam

A Sister at Home, a Brother at War

Not Yet Published


New 2024 Pre-Order

Available for pre-order / backorder

About the Book

In this personal collection of 70+ letters from Vietnam, the raw honesty of one homesick teenage boy speaks for every lonely soldier at war. Huey crew chief Larry Smith grew into a hardened man in his First Cavalry helicopter while his little sister Tracy started kindergarten back in New Jersey and memorized the sounds of combat from the black and white television. This dual perspective unveils the war’s invasion on the whole family as they revered every envelope and suffered alongside their hero. In December 1967, Larry turned 19 as battles intensified and his letters darkened, making his promise to return home harder to keep, or even believe.
Decades after the war, as he laid in a coma, Tracy discovered her brother’s letters and vowed to find Army friends he lost to uncover the whole truth of his war. She found a boy she never knew, innocent, fearful, and fearless, full of many words, then silenced. These truths offer a two-fold lesson and make the case for generational trauma in the mental health realm: children do not belong in war, nor should they watch one unfold on television.

About the Author(s)

After a career in commercial real estate development, Tracy Smith Mathis completed broadcasting school, won a Telly Award with Naka Productions for associate producing “Moving America’s Lighthouse” with Walter Cronkite and became a freelance author and public speaker. She lives outside Charlotte, North Carolina where she spent 12 years as a newspaper columnist with the Concord/Kannapolis Independent Tribune and continues to share her experience with the lasting effects of war and PTSD on military stages.
Larry Ray Smith is a co-author in memoriam, sharing his private words in over 70 letters.

Bibliographic Details

Tracy Smith with Larry Ray Smith
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: ca. 40 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9463-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5255-9
Imprint: McFarland