Like the Afghan war today and the ten-year war in Iraq, the Vietnam War left no one unchanged, particularly not the nearly eleven hundred Americans who lost multiple limbs and returned home from Vietnam to face a different kind of battle: acceptance.
How Can You Mend This Purple Heart goes inside the minds of amputees struggling to heal from the ravages of war and chronicles a journey of love, redemption, and joy, a journey of pain and anger . . . and a journey of hope. Most of all, it is a journey of the human spirit and its triumph over the most impossible odds.
In this riveting first novel, author T. L. Gould draws upon his experience recovering in a military hospital to create a plain-truth, no-holds-barred narrative stark in its simplicity, detail, and humor. From dressing changes and morphine drips to off-site forays into neighborhood bars and brothels, Gould chronicles the precipitous journey to recovery of the men of Ward 2B: how they learned to walk again, to love again, and to triumph over crippling injuries.
A farewell to his family in the summer of 1968 begins what would have been a four-year enlistment in the Navy for eighteen-year-old Jeremy Shoff. It is a third choice for Jeremy: a choice he let others make for him. A few months earlier he had made a verbal commitment to join the Marines, and the jungles of Vietnam were waiting. But somehow—between the 2-S deferment, the ensuing fistfights with his old man, and the lovemaking with his flower-child girlfriend—he gives up on the Marines and is left with no other choice. It is a choice he will regret for the rest of his life.
How Can You Mend This Purple Heart is a tribute to all the combat-wounded veterans of past and present conflicts.
Winner of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation’s James Webb Award for distinguished fiction.