Larry E. Thompson’s Left For Dead (81 pp., $25, paper) is a short memoir filled with lots of photos—and with details of the PTSD that the author faced after coming home from Vietnam in June 1966 after putting in a year’s tour of duty with the U.S. Army’s First Infantry Division’s 2nd Battalion, 18th Infantry.
Thompson joined the Army in 1961 at age nineteen. His entire unit shipped out to Vietnam in June of 1965. They landed at Vung Tau and started out providing security for Bien Hoa Air Force Base. Thompson and his fellow Big Red One troops were then sent on recon operations in several areas of South Vietnam, including the Central Highlands. He saw plenty of action and suffered emotionally after coming home. Thompson stayed in the Army, retiring in 1982.
“I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, ” Thompson says, “which many people (including myself at one time) understand very little in regards to its devastation, and think of those suffering with PTSD as crazy or ready to snap at any moment.”