Mar 23

Covert The Not Known by Jerry Nedwick

I am a child of the nineties. I was not around when Vietnam was at its height and I only know of the war through history lessons, movies and books. When I picked up this book I didn’t know what to expect. Would this be a patriotic cry from a warrior of the conflict? Would this be an anti-war rant by a long lost hippy? Would this be a favourable account? Negative?

Groundbreaking book from an American hero

Covert The Not Known tells us not of the facts we read in books, it tells of the reality. The dirty, gruesome truths that are in essence the facts of war. This is not Audie Murphy in To Hell and Back or John Wayne in the Green Berets. This is a  book about a man who was almost destroyed by what he saw and thrown to the very ridge of madness by what he had to live with. Covert is powerfully written from the heart and almost like a therapy session for the writer. I think this book could well be the ultimate document about the Vietnam War.


The book opens with Jerry, a rebellious youth, who lives a troubled life in Fort Worth, Texas, finding his way to a recruitment station. With ease he then finds himself thrown into the world of the military. I found myself drawn into the story almost from the get-go. The truth of the matter is very different to the patriotic cries of history. Jerry became a Marine and served with honour– that is one of the many truths in this book. The other truths are that he became damaged, disregarded and dismissed with personality disorders. He suffered immensely because his country felt the need to fight a war it thought it could win but ultimately lost. This book at times is distasteful, gruesome, but ultimately honest and I believed every word Jerry wrote. I think anyone considering joining the forces should read this book. I think anyone who utters the word “war” or “invasion” in a positive or glorified way should read this book. Wars do not make people great. They destroy the men and women who are sent to fight them.

I think anyone considering joining the forces should read this book…

Jerry wasn’t destroyed. He was strong enough to pull himself around with the love of his wife. He lived a fulfilling and successful life and he managed to at least put some of this stuff behind him. That is the redeeming feature– he lived to tell the tale and made a success from his life until the very end. I believe that this book could be a very powerful motion picture. I think it has the makings of a very honest film about a war people seem to regard as a joke in the modern age. In my life, I have only read one book about Vietnam with the same powerful rhetoric. That book was called A Rumour of War. It was a bestseller and told the truth. This book is called Covert The Not Known. It is just as powerful and it tells even greater truths. I think Jerry did the world a huge favour writing this one. Perhaps one day we will learn from it.



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