book Visions of War, Dreams of Peace

reviewed by Candace Moonshower

Published in Issue No. 19 ~ December, 1998

Visions of War, Dreams of Peace is a compilation of poems written by women intimately involved with the Vietnam War and the soldiers who fought it. The poets include mothers, daughters, wives, sweethearts, nurses, Red Cross workers, anti-war activists, journalists and entertainers, but the themes are the same. The war irrevocably changed their lives. For these women, the horror of the Vietnam conflict devastated them as they experienced it. Worse, though, are the consequences of what Americans did there, and what we did to ourselves. Over and over again, these women veterans of Vietnam describe the gore and bloodshed, the fear and pain, the frustration and anger of first-hand involvement in the war. The women were not only physically alone during their tenure “in country;” they were emotionally alone, both during their time in Vietnam and since returning. They experienced the agony of watching their male compatriots die in a brutal and senseless war, and die as well on their return stateside. The women are both sympathetic and empathetic to the fragile human condition of the disenfranchised soldiers and the women who hid their Vietnam experiences from others upon re-entry to “normal” life.

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Candace Moonshower is an army brat who taught herself to type the summer she turned eight, knowing even then she would write. Now a graduate student at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, she studies English and writes both fiction and nonfiction. Candace's personal and ongoing work involves researching and writing about the cultural aftermath of the Vietnam War, especially with regard to the men and women that served and the families they left behind, in the hopes of promoting an understanding of our national consciousness before, during and since our involvement there.