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HOMECOMING When the Soldiers Returned From Vietnam by Bob Greene (Ballantine: $4.95)

March 18, 1990|CHARLES SOLOMON

"Homecoming" grew out of the responses syndicated columnist Bob Greene received when he tried to ascertain if soldiers returning from Vietnam had really been spat upon by strangers, or if the stories were just urban folklore. Depressingly enough, many were true. In these brief letters, former servicemen share their bitter memories of being hit, kicked, spat upon and called "baby killers" and worse. To balance these accounts, Greene includes letters from soldiers who were treated kindly, but nothing from anyone who insulted a serviceman. While some of these letters express a searing anger, the book seems shallow: Greene should have researched these stories more thoroughly, instead of just reprinting the letters.

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