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The Laughing War

(1980)
A novel by

 
Originally published by Doubleday. Bien Hoa airbase, outside Saigon, wasn't a very funny place, but Barney's job had one advantage: he always played to a packed house. The soldiers
flocked to his shows, and the war-zone comedian coaxed his battle-weary audiences first into chuckles and then into guffaws of healing laughter with material drawn from the lunacy around
them: the little old VC with the single-shot rifle taking potshots at the jets, the international "peacekeeping" mission, the Vietnamese "car wash" racket, the numbing routine of army life,
the officers...

.. .One officer in particular: Colonel Isaacs, the blood-and-guts commander of the base, a driven man whose soldiers pay the price of his obsessions. Barney often ridiculed his authority
from in front of the footlights, and afterhours he wooed the colonel's woman, Donna, a beautiful singer with a secret.
So far, he had gone unpunished...

. . . the band began blasting out an off-key Colonel Bogey
March. The audience went wild. But at this point in the eve-
ning they usually went wild over almost anything... ... .
And so Colonel Bogey races across the flatness like a
tide seeking shore. It is louder than even the laughter and the
strange yelling that comes from the Club and is momentarily
lost in the unearthly whine of the F-lOOs as they return from
bombing whatever it is that has to be bombed. Colonel Bogey
washes over the lone sentries and rushes on into the darkness
that lies beyond the perimeter. The darkness stretches on and
on, beyond the wretches lying soaked and bloody in the swamp
near Cambodia listening to the metallic voices in the headset
that tell them why the F-lOOs cannot come back until dawn,
and listening to the noises in the nearby jungle that might be
metal grating on metal. The darkness goes on forever. But the
nineteen-year-old from Georgia can no longer hear the curling
chords of Jimi Hendrix s guitar as the Armed Forces Radio
brings him the Best in Rock. The nineteen-year-old from
Georgia can hear none of this. A long thin knife protrudes from
his chest at the place where his flak jacket should have been
buckled. Thin bubbles of blood drip from his mouth. In his
final act as a sentry, he has died with his eyes wide open.

 
Used availability for Martyn Burke's The Laughing War


See all available used copies of this book at Abebooks UK or Abebooks US
 

Hardback Editions

July 2000 : USA Hardback
Title: Laughing War
Author(s): Martyn Burke
ISBN: 1-58721-538-1 / 978-1-58721-538-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: Authorhouse
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

1980 : USA Hardback
Title: Laughing war
Author(s): Martyn Burke
ISBN: 0-385-13332-4 / 978-0-385-13332-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

July 2000 : USA Paperback
Title: Laughing War
Author(s): Martyn Burke
ISBN: 1-58721-513-6 / 978-1-58721-513-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Authorhouse
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

April 1982 : USA Mass Market Paperback
Title: Laughing War
Author(s): Martyn Burke
ISBN: 0-86721-068-0 / 978-0-86721-068-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Berkley Pub Group (Mm)
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Kindle Editions

September 2010 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition
Title: LAUGHING WAR
Author(s): Martyn Burke
Publisher: Author
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   



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