"Vietnam Reconsidered" book cover

“Vietnam Reconsidered: The War, the Times, and Why They Matter" by John Ketwig

Goose Creek Studio isn’t only exploring the memory of war and its impact on the present through a visual lens in its latest exhibit, “Anamnesis: The Art of Remembering." 

On Saturday, the art gallery is hosting a reading with local author John Ketwig from 2 to 4 p.m. 

During the event, Ketwig will talk about his new book, “Vietnam Reconsidered: The War, the Times, and Why They Matter,” which was released last week.

“He’s kind of a literary contribution to this exhibit,” says Patrick Ellis, co-owner of Goose Creek.

A veteran, Ketwig, 71, is best known for his memoir “... and a hard rain fell: A GI’s True Story of the War in Vietnam,” which details his time as a vehicle mechanic in Vietnam during the Battle of Dak To and the Tet Offensive, as well as his service in Thailand.

The book received critical praise when it debuted in 1985, with longstanding book review magazine Kirkus calling it a “magnetic, bloody, moving worm’s-eye-view of soldiering in Vietnam, an account that is from first page to last a wound that can never heal.”

Almost 35 years later, the book has gone through 27 printings — a 28th might be coming soon, Ketwig adds.

“When the book came out 34 years ago, there was no internet. People wrote letters,” says Ketwig, who retired to Bedford with his wife in 2013 after a career in the automotive industry.

“I have fan letters from all over the world. ... [There’s a] satisfaction that I’ve taken a negative experience and turned it into a bit of a positive. That’s very important to me, very rewarding to me.”

The success of Ketwig’s memoir also led to opportunities for speaking engagements at various high schools and colleges.

“Over the years, I’ve had the same questions time after time after time,” he says.

After years of meticulous research, he decided to try and answer those questions in his new book.

“Vietnam Reconsidered” goes beyond an overview of the various engagements to examine why the U.S. became involved in the war, why it stayed involved for so long and how its involvement is still relevant today.

“I hope [this book] will be recognized as the single most anti-war book of all the Vietnam books,” says Ketwig, who is a member of Veterans for Peace and Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

“I think that it goes out of its way to explain what all of the turmoil, the social upheaval was about.”

Emma Schkloven covers arts and entertainment for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5489, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @byEmmaSchkloven.

Emma Schkloven covers arts and entertainment for The News & Advance.

Load comments