The Long Shadow
Australia’s Vietnam Veterans since the War
By Peter Yule
Published by New South | Australian War Memorial
RRP $49.99 in hardcover | ISBN 9781742237183
Even a casual conversation with a Vietnam veteran reveals the extent of the trauma veterans of that conflict continue to suffer.
It casts ‘a long shadow’ indeed as this book attests.
The fact is that the medical and psychological legacies of the Vietnam War are major and continuing issues for veterans, their families and the community at large.
The impact of the widespread use of Agent Orange, post-traumatic stress disorder and other long-term health aspects are little understood.
Studies were often inconclusive but there was evidence of birth defects among the children of soldiers exposed to higher levels of the herbicide.
It became the most emotional issue of all the medical issues facing veterans of the conflict.
Eventually the Department of Veterans’ Affairs accepted herbicide exposure as a possible cause of a range of illnesses in veterans, but it had been a long battle.
All the issues of course had been compounded by the emerging belief it was a war in which Australia should never have been involved.
Only recently have Vietnam veterans been prepared to say they were proud of their service.
A well-researched, thorough book that examines the aftermath of a terrible war from the veterans’ perspective. It’s a sobering reflection on the personal cost of war.