Michael McCormick’s Across the Pond (CreateSpace, 53 pp., $11.58, paper; $0.99, Kindle) reminds us that the Vietnam War changed many patriotic young men into disillusioned adults who were forsaken by society. This novella, first published in 1994, about Sean “Mack” McBride is based on the war-time experiences of author Michael McCormick, a former U.S. Marine who received the Silver Star and Purple Heart.
As a new guy in Vietnam, McBride watches his squad leader murder a civilian, and lives through a bloodbath in a maze of booby traps that drives a patrol to the edge of mutiny. A highly personalized account of the 1968 Battle of Hue highlights the book.
Between combat scenes, the story flashes back to McBride’s home life and Marine Corps boot camp training. The story ends with McBride, jobless and hungry, giving his last bit of food to a fellow veteran with the thousand-yard stare.
The story is only forty-four pages in length. With all due respect to McCormick, a psychotherapist in California, I feel that his novella is merely an outline for the autobiography that he someday should write.
—The author’s website is www.michaelmccormick.website