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Well Done, Those Men

New or Used: 2 copies from $15.35
New or Used: 2 copies from $15.35
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About the Author

Barry Heard was conscripted in Australia's first national service ballot, and served in Vietnam as an infantryman and radio operator. After completing his national service he returned home, where he found himself unable to settle down. He had ten different jobs in his first ten years back, worked as a teacher for a further ten years, and then held several mid-managerial posts before succumbing to a devastating breakdown due to severe post-traumatic stress disorder.


Barry Heard’s quiet life on a remote Victorian farm was interrupted by ‘a very official letter in a brown envelope’ that turned up one day in 1964. He had been called up for National Service, or ‘Nasho’. A lucky brush with German measles kept him out of the army the first time around, but by February 1966 21-year-old Heard was off to the Puckapunyal army base. For a naïve country boy the army training was an adventure full of blokey bonhomie, but one that suddenly became very serious once he was stationed with a regular regiment, the 7RAR, that was about to be deployed in Vietnam. Heard’s recounting of his Vietnam tour is chilling. But it is the last third of the book that really hits home. In less than 100 pages, Heard describes 30 years of hell, a hell that was only recognised as chronic post-traumatic stress disorder when he suffered a massive breakdown in 1995. This book isn’t an easy read on a number of levels: not only the gruelling subject matter but also the rather distant tone can only hint at the enormous effort it took Heard to write all this down. Nonetheless, this is an important book on a still-hidden topic, and one that deserves a wide audience. Tim Coronel is AB&P’s editor C. 2005 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors

'Well Done, Those Men is highly recommended, as a glimpse into Australia 40 years ago, as an honest account of fighting in Vietnam, and as an entertaining and thought-provoking read.' --Canberra Times 'It's profound sadness makes Well Done, Those Men a difficult book to read. Ultimately, though, ... it is also an uplifting work, for it is testament to human resilience and, thus, to the possiblity of personal redemption no matter how painful the catalytic experience.' --Seaumas Spark "Reviews in Australian Studies " 'Vietnam veteran Barry Heard has written an inspiring story about a life reclaimed.' --Sue Wallace "Border Mail " 'Heard writes honestly and painfully of that soiled era ...' --Tony Maniaty "Weekend Australian " 'As devastating as Heard's account of the war undoubtedly is, it's the last third of the book -- wherein he returns to a country that seems embarrassed to acknowledge his existence, and tries to deal with his shattered psyche with little support from an uncomprehending family and an ever-decreasing number of friends -- that packs the biggest emotional wallop ... [However] he manages to elicit laughs amidst the tragedy.' --Terry Oberg "Courier Mail " 'Heard's well-written account will appeal to anyone interested in the impact of the Vietnam War on New Zealand and Australian soldiers. It provides valuable and illuminating perspective on the troubles that have afflicted many of them since their return.' --Ian McGibbon "New Zealand International Review " 'The author discusses his own gradual disintegration and that of his mates in powerful, simple language free of intellectual pretension. Often dramatic and emotionally moving, there is no pathos in this brutally honest account of a costly episode in our recent history.' --Lon Bram "Courier Mail " 'Well Done, Those Men is a human, moving, and brutally honest account of one man's emotionally racked journey from naive country boy to jungle soldier, psychologically scarred veteran, and ultimately triumphant victor over the demons within.' --Greg Thom "Herald Sun " 'Heard gives meaning and sense to overused cliches such as "stolen youth," "buried horrors" and even "mateship."' --Lorien Kaye "Age " A 'remarkable book'. --Newcastle Herald 'This is a brilliant anti-war polemic, and an ultimately inspiring life story.' --Good Reading 'To those of you thinking "ho hum, another Vietnam book" I can only suggest that this one deserves to be read -- for the sake of all those who are still trying to "come home."' --Peter Barrett "Guyra Argus " 'This is a searingly honest account of one man's battle to overcome his tormented past in an unpopular war and to recover from a complete breakdown.' --Ros Sydes "Examiner " 'Heard's recounting of his Vietnam tour is chilling. But it is the last third of the book that really hits home. In less than 100 pages, Heard describes 30 years of hell ... this is an important book on a still hidden topic, and one that deserves a wide audience.' --Tim Coronel "Australian Bookseller & Publisher " 'This is a powerful, beautifully written book that should be read by everyone who wants to understand the evil, senseless personal damage done by war.' --Bruce Elder "Sydney Morning Herald " 'Barry Heard's book is the autobiography of a Vietnam veteran, but it's so perceptive it represents a whole generation ... The book is very well written, clear in its descriptions, self-aware in its assessments and, surprisingly, not depressing to read.' --Patrick Morgan "Quadrant "

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