by John Siegfried
Historian & Writer

 
 
   
 

by John Siegfried
Historian & Writer

 
   
   
 

Reader Reviews

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.
—Thomas Payne



 

Thank you for Telling a Soldiers' Story
 Thank you for telling a soldier's story about the Vietnam War. I guess one of the most impressive chapters of the book dealt with the NVA medic Dam and Homer's journey back to Vietnam 40+ later to return his personal belongings to the family. The odds of going back to the battlefield and finding the exact location of a firefight that had occurred over 40 years ago are astronomical. Mother nature has a way of healing scars such as firebases,trails,etc., but that lone large tree on the ridgeline that Homer remembered, led the family to the site of Dam's death. Just a completely riveting book showing the war from so many different faces. You should be proud of this work of history--a job well done!

--Steven Knuboff Combat Medic Vietnam    U.S. Army     Americal Division             

Found your book on Barnes and Noble, read it, and suggested to my book club.My husband was with 101st Airborne then 1st Air Calvary Vietnam August 1969-to August 1970. He was a patient @Coatesville VA Medical Center in PA for 7 years prior to his death in Dec 2008. YOUR BOOK WAS ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING and most factual accounts of what many people thought was fantasty. One of the best books on the Vietnam story and those who served. He was with HHC @ Bien Hoa Air Force Base near Saigon, and also was in Cambodia. He is interred at Arlington.Thank you for your response and for such a great Book. Much success.

--Maryanne Choffo

Six Degrees of the Bracelet: Vietnam's Continuing grip by John A. Siegfried is an excellent account of the continual impact of the Vietnam war on the lives of men and women who served in Vietnam. His focus point was not the war itself, but the effects of the war on veterans and their families and friends, both mental-ptsd and physical- combat wounds and agent orange. For years I have had ptsd with resultant guilt, anger, and depression, and now have leukemia from agent orange. Through John's book and with the help of God, my wife and family, and my Vietnam friends, I have finally found peace in my body and soul. I highly recommend John's book to all veterans, their families, and their friends.

Richard Kijowski, M.D., Battalion Surgeon, 1st Calvalry Division, Vietnam 1969-70.


 John's book puts my personal story of reconciliation with the family of the brave young North Vietnamese Medic, Hoàng Ng?c ??m, whom I met and killed in Vietnam's Central Highlands during my service as an infantry small unit commander in the jungle along the Cambodia/Laos border. All too often, combatants fail to realize that their enemy was also serving their country and were also loving, caring human beings. The true cost of forcing citizens to face each other in such insane situations can only be appreciated, when the larger picture becomes clear. I want to thank John personally for contributing to the process of bringing the full picture of the cost of war into better focus. Let's all pray for peace everlasting.

 ---Homer R. Steedly Jr.
Swamp_Fox@earthlink.net

John Siegfried's Six Degress of the Bracelet is a  meticulously researched account of the the long term effects of the Vietnam W ar and the veterans who fought in it. It  is  a remarkable work of literature.   As a former airborne infantry soldier who spent more than three years fighting that war I can say the book truely reflects the anger and frustration felt by those who had  put all on the line for their country.  The sad  truth is that the warriors sent to fight that war were betrayed by their goverment as well as by  their countrymen.  Vietnam was not lost by the military , it was lost at home, denying the troops  the victory they deserved .  I recommend it to anyone in search of  the truth.

Robert O. Martin 1st Air Cav:  1965 - 1966 101st Airborne Div. - 1967/69 173rd Airborne Bde.  - 1968 1st Aviation Bde. 3/17 Air Cav. - 1970     

Wonderful Interviews with Wonderful Interviewees                                                

"I am acquainted with the author. He knows that I am female and was a young teenager when the Viet Nam conflict began. He knows I had and still have friends who served as well as had and still have friends who were wives and girlfriends of those who served. He knows I spent the end of the '60's advocating for the 18 year old right to vote; it hardly seemed fair that a young "boy" could be drafted at 19 and required to die or murder for something of which he had no say. At that time, I had no understanding or knowledge of the political aspects of Vietnam; however, I was very much aware of the human toll. I felt and watched the pain and suffering and over the past, almost, 40 years since the end of the skirmish, I still witness the struggles and pain of those who served and their families. Although quite different, I still struggle with the pain. John, in his book, "Six Degrees of the Bracelet: Vietnam's Continuing Grip," he presents a series of interviews of some of those vets and their families. He compassionately and sensitively guides then through these memories of struggle and pain they have endured. Every American should read this book.  It is not enough to "support" troops, we must all recognize the personal price each service person pays while serving and then, if they live through the experience, the price they'll continue to pay for the rest of their lives. As John so eloquently explains in his book of wonderful interviews with wonderful interviewees, we are all only six steps from each other. Thank you, John."

— I. Konig (Carson, CA)

A Must Read for Every American

"I am a female and was in my early teens when the Viet Nam confict began. I wasn't in the military but I had close friends that served. I had many friends who were wives and girlfriends of those serving. I spent the end of the '60's advocating for the the 18 year old vote. A "boy" could be drafted at 19 but couldn't vote until he was 21; hardly seemed fair that our government would force anyone to die or murder in the name of something they knew nothing about. At the time, I, too, knew nothing of the politics but from personal experience, I was familiar with the human toll this skirmish brought on. I know from my friends and their families that total resolution has never happened. They still carry the pain and suffering even after almost 40 years.

In John Siegfried's book, "Six Degrees of the Bracelet, Vietnam's Continuing Grip," he compassionately interviews many of those who served. For those who chose to share their stories, John carefully and sensitively helps guide the interviewee through some of those memories and pains they still struggle with today. Even though different, I still struggle. This is only one of the many things that makes this book unique. I would hope many of the military and their families of more recent wars or conflicts read this book. As long as there are wars, we all need this sense of sharing our feelings as John so aptly discribed in his book through the wonderful interviews of the wonderful interviewees. As John explains, we are all only six steps from each other."

ILK

A Real Tribute to the Men and Women who served in Vietnam

"John Siegfried's book Six Degrees of the Bracelet: Vietnam's Continuing Grip is compelling, sad, patriotic, strong, introspective, heart warming and heart wrenching all at the same time. It is a real tribute to the men and women who served in Vietnam, and in many cases provides their first hand accounts of the War and its impact on our country and them as individuals. I highly recommend it.

Lon Jamison (North Kingstown, RI)


As I was driving on 11/11/11 I heard you talking about your book on NJ101.5. I downloaded it on my Kindle and finished the book yesterday. During the Vietnam War I was busy with raising my young children, being a homemaker and nurse. I knew no one serving in the war; it impacted very little on my everyday life. This book has opened my eyes to the realities of those years and "humanized" the events. I lived most of my life in NJ and now reside in Warrington, PA so I could identify with many of the home towns and places where interviews took place. My father served in WWII and only spoke of his experiences twice in his remaining 50 years--it was just too difficult to re-live. I applaud the veterans who shared their experiences with you--I'm certain that there were many tears in the telling--and I am thankful for their cooperation and for your writing skills so that people can learn from our history. What impressed most was the positive comments made concerning advice on joining the Armed Services.
Thank you John.

---Bobbie Hallowell
bobbiehallowell@yahoo.com

Mortality in War                                                                                                                                                  "What makes this book so impactful is really counter-intuitive, because John Siegfried's interviews with Vietnam war participants were taken more than 40 years after the events in their stories happened. But instead of being vague, inaccurate recollections of each individual's actions, they became more visceral and truthful as they remembered what they did and saw so long ago.

The elephant in the room with John and his interviewees was the question of morality in war. Morality was further complicated by a nation whose heart was never in the Vietnam war. So, after descending, like Dante, into the inferno, the Vietnam vet came back to a country that would not assuage his guilt, as they did in the righteous wars such as WWII, but rather intensify his feelings of having sinned. For some vets, this has only worsened his feelings of isolation, resulting in his inability to function in "the world", i.e. PTSD.

Retired US Army Captain Homer Steedly's story about the North Vietnamese medic he killed in the war is, however, ultimately a story of peace and redemption. In this case, it wasn't a priest who gave Steedly absolution, but the Vietnamese family of the man he killed who brought joy back into his life after 40 years of PTSD. I pray that we all may feel that joy before we die.

Thanks, John, for the chance that our participation in the writing of your book provided to bury those demons, once and for all."

— Gunfighter

A Powerful Book                                                                                                                                                "John, You've created a powerful book that brings to light the life and tragedies experienced by American soldiers in Vietnam and family at home. I really enjoyed reading the variety of different answers to the basic same questions poised of each interviewee.

For the most part, as soldiers, we went to Vietnam as an individual. Survived our twelve or thirteen month tour and returned home (rotated) as an individual. Each one of us experienced war on a different personal level. It was the same war for each of us, yet and a different war for each. You've managed to capture a glimpse of this in your book. I would recommend your book not only to John Q., but for family members of our silent veterans. It speaks for us. It needs to be read.

One thing missing is an interview with a nurse. I never liked the label "nurse". I've always considered them as brothers-in-arms. We would fly wounded from the Bong Son AO into the two Qui Nhon evac hospitals. What I experienced there is indescribable. They share the same level, or more, of PTSD as a combat soldier. They were our mother, wife, girlfriend, life giver, pain reliever, letter writer and hope for living all rolled into one. I saw some, with tears in their eyes, holding he hand of a wounded soldier in his last moments. They were as courageous as anyone I served with.

I appreciate your time, personal expense and the burden placed on the family as whatever inner force drove you to create this book for us, veterans, of that war. What you've done in a little over twenty months is simply amazing.

The book sparked memories of long ago as I read. Some good, some bad. Thank you very much for allowing me to read it."

—   H.S. Llewellyn "Correspondent/SABER"  USA Vietnam vet 1st Cavalry Division Airmobile

Powerful and Insightful!                                                                                                                                         "I am so grateful  A fellow veteran recommended this book to me! I found this book extremely well written, with powerful insights and great stories. This reconnection with the past also provided me with a degree of healing I had not known I needed. Thank you, Mr. Siegfried, for taking the time to present this in such an easy to read, compelling format. I wish you much success with this endeavor!"

Sgt. D. Murphy (Ret.)

I believe there are two kinds of people in the world those who were in the military and those who wish they were in the military. I think your book brings those who were not in the military a REAL glimpse into the military. In my life experience, when people find out I was in the military they give me a great big "Thank You" and usually that's it, the conversation about the military rarely goes any further. If the conversation happens to go further it is because the person had a family member in the military. I believe that is because they would not know what to ask/or speak of next. When I run into someone who was in the military (especially Marines) there is an automatic fifteen minute conversation that takes place, we are able to find out in minutes from each other what you have found out from the interviews in your book. Your book allows those who were not in the military a chance to sit down with someone who was. I think you asked all the questions they would want to know and would not begin to know how to ask. You personalized many lives in a military experience, again for people who were not in the military, you created a rare glimpse. Job well done. It was a pleasure to read.

Cathy McGough USMC

A Fast Read.

 My emotions have run the gamut from amusing to terrifying. How veterans of this war could hold their feelings in check with the heat of battle all around them is captured so effectively in this account. The wide range of ranks, specialties, and engagements experienced by those the book made it a fast read.

--Stephen Presley USAFR 

elvis1952@verizon.net

An Excellent  Read.
The author's personal involvement in writing this account of the Vietnam War is readily apparent and makes the book one difficult to put aside. An excellent read

--Wilton Curtis      wcurtis135@aol.com

You have done wonders for the Vietnam Vets

I just want to let you know that I did finish the book, and it really is a great read. I want to thank you for writing it and allowing those involved to tell their stories. It helps to bring closure to some who can not talk about their experiences. Personally I did not serve in combat (US Navy 1986-1990), but I experienced hell myself, and those who wrote about it third hand did not let my shipmates express the story in their words. I can tell by your comments on the interviews that you are really touched by their stories, and you have a special place in their hearts. Many of the members here have said that you have done wonders for the Vietnam Vets. Keep up the good work, and I want to thank you again for going to the Perry Point VA with our Legion Riders.
 
For God & Country,
 
---Eric V. Warthen, Sr.
Commander, Rosedale American Legion, Post 180

This is the first Military book that I have read. Oh boy!  What a GREAT one to start out with. I was a little girl when the Vietnam War was going on. I do however remember people wearing the bracelets for the POW/MIA. We should all be thankful for John finding his mother in laws bracelet & for inspiring him to write this book. In my line of work I bump into at least one (sometimes more then often a whole pack) of Vietnam Veterans, on a weekly basis. Each interview in this book truly gave me a better understanding of the war itself & helped me to understand the great Vets who I can proudly call my friends. Each & everyone are so caring & so appreciative of ANYTHING you do for them. Knowing John personally I want to thank him for being as passionate as he is. I truly dont think these people who were interviewed by John would have poured their heart & soul out to him or to share their stories the way they did. I found each story amazing & could not wait to get to the next one. I shed tears on quite a few chapters as well. Being a huge supporter of our Veterans & all Military, Six Degrees of the Bracelet is a true tribute to the men & women who served in Vietnam. SEA