Not a HERO in Sight
(scroll down for Vietnam: War Peace and People reviews)
In a country overwhelmed by political correctness, this book is a refreshing expose of the diggers’ larrikin culture. Cooper has penned an achingly funny view of what was, in many respects, a sad chapter in our military history. Once started it is difficult to put down but is not the ideal read for those easily offended.
Colonel R A Simpson AM (Retd)
Having served in the army myself I felt as if it was me in some of those situations he describes. This is a brilliant publication.
Dick Duckett (ex-WO1)
St Marys, Tasmania
I read in two sittings this extraordinary roller-coaster, well-designed and charmingly illustrated novel ‘of non-fiction’. It is deeply moving, side-splittingly funny and warrants an honourable place in Australian literature for its unpretentious honesty and at once ephemeral and eternal reflections of people. Tragic-comic vignettes come thick and fast, with mostly basically decent people, diggers and Vietnamese women dealing with their circumstances. There is enough sex and bawdy description to make a Puritan purple. Brad Cooper’s descriptions do not, by the way, impugn the overall reputation for valour and conduct of Australia’s military forces over the years; far from it as he makes clear on the dust jacket. Not a Hero in Sight is a wonderful, astute snapshot of sections of Australian society from the end of WWII to the increasingly fraught second decade of the 21st Century. It belongs on every Australian bookshelf and not a few others.
Lt Col Lance Collins (Rtd) 15 August 2016 Author of: A Dowry for the Sultan: a tale of the siege of Manzikert 1054, and with Warren Reed, Plunging Point: intelligence failures, cover-ups and consequences, HarperCollins, Sydney, 2005.
This is the sort of book that once you start reading you can't put it down. I laughed all the way through this book. The book is comprised of a series of short stories full of incredible characters. Most of the stories are genuinely funny and politically incorrect but some are poignant and thought provoking. In this case truth is stranger (and funnier) than fiction. It's a great read - highly recommended. I hope there is follow up. Alexander Swadling Mount Mellum, Queensland If every army comprises the array of characters lovingly portrayed in this diary then I am at a loss to explain the end of any conflict. On deeper examination it now explains why every army needs a continuous supply of wars. This cohort of men in every age need the caring environment of an army at war to permit full development of latent qualities that would otherwise lie suppressed in depressed individuals.
Dr Gary Bacon
Ferny Grove, QLD
Brad Cooper’s book follows on from a long line of disrespectful, confronting, undisciplined but loveable colonial characters coming from a people born out of isolation, brutality and rebellion, energised by rum and sly-grog. I enjoyed the book too because it was not an attempt to justify the reasons Gazza and his mates never really “grew up” or blamed the Vietnam War for their behaviour (“I was only 19”). They were just young blokes from a “lucky” country that had not yet lost its innocence and they were out to enjoy it all. So it is from the perspective of a practicing psychologist that I read and enjoyed Gazza’s adventures in the Australian Army with an emphasis on the Vietnam War era. The book appears to me to be a work of cathartic experience --a way to provide relief from strong or repressed emotions. Thanks Gazza for an entertaining piece of non-PC literature and in particular to the way you pictured my favourite character in the book --“Smiley”. The Australian larrikin will never be dead whilst you two are alive. Long may you two drink and talk bullshit at The Tequila Bar.
Dr. Ray McLaughlin PhD
The book from Brad Cooper is really a biography rather than a military history book. He writes in a cheeky style, which is easily read and in most cases entertaining. It won’t be, however, to everyone’s taste. I think it is a book you will either love or simply can’t stand. Once you begin and enjoy you won’t put it down. It is humorous, certainly bawdy and politically incorrect. The book states that it “contains sexual references and strong language.” The book is certainly politically incorrect and as one who loathes PC it certainly did not offend your reviewer, reminding me who grew up in the same era, how much freedom we have lost to the Thought Police. But descriptive terms which were used in the 60s and 70s may offend the modern reader, which really is just too bad. The language and sexual references could be offensive too and if so just don’t read it. However, if you want a rollicking story with no holds barred, this just could be for you. It is a classy presentation ….. hard cover with dust jacket, with a convenient page ribbon. 294 pages in length with many comical drawings.
FOHL, Author and Historian
Vietnam: War Peace and People Reviews
As a fellow author, I found this book hugely entertaining and very humourous. Brad has written in a very readable and companionable ‘you are there’ genre. You feel that you are literally with him on his journeys. But make no mistake, it also portrays a very down to earth soldiers- take on what was none the less a very solemn and brutal time in history. Brad’s involvement appears, however, not to have soured him but provided the impetus, in due course, to seek answers to his own, and his country’s, participation. Through his research and interviews, Brad has now given me a much more detailed and compassionate understanding of the conflict, dubbed the Vietnam War. His book is a balanced and unbiased account of this war, gleaned from the actual people involved on both sides of the struggle. It gives personal accounts directly from the mouths of the people who were involved and of the ultimate results. Still, more importantly, it shows that human nature will prevail and overcome even the most terrible things that society can throw at it. Thanks Brad I understand this conflict and its aftermath so much clearer now thanks to you.
Ian Alister JOHNSTON
Author: Paradise Lost. A story of life as a police officer in Papua New Guinea
5 August 2020
Army News (DFA)
1 Oct, 2020