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The VVA Veteran Reviews Prelude

Prelude was recently reviewed by David Wilson, a reviewer from the site “Books in Review II.” Wilson's review eloquently chronicles his reaction to the novel alongside his own experience in Vietnam. "I highly recommend this novel, both as a good read and as a glimpse into the lives of...

SD Sawyer Reviews Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars  A Review for Prelude To Reveille
By Captain Frederick W. Greenawalt, U.S. Army

There was Vietnam and there was the World…they did not co-exist. Vietnam is a lot like the Hotel California where you could do your tour of duty,
checkout, and never leave. The war was fought in darkness all over the world. Misunderstood, Nam was not a place but rather a journey where unseen enemies
would appear from jungles, mountains, and rivers to kill and vanish like escaping thoughts. The war took American families with the soldiers into combat. On both sides of the pond, battles raged for a decade and a half.

With her first novel, S.D. Sawyer fires an illumination round over the battles fought by the soldier’s family during those turbulent years in America. Her insight into heroism on the home-front, scars, fears, and darkness parallel the combat in Vietnam as seldom understood. You will find yourself in this novel and for some of us, we will heal.

5.0 out of 5 stars  An informative retrospective.
October 19, 2011
By Leif A. Aamot (Chautauqua, NY USA)

There is a wealth of realism in this novel. Specific details about the locales, the organizations, the characters and the incidents are accurate; only the names of the individuals have been changed to protect both guilty and innocent. I was there, I experienced some of the events, pride and frustration, and I came to some of the same conclusions that the author did.Because this story is written from the point of view of a loving wife, the observations and analysis are more poignant than normal in a war story. For anyone interested in the double-edged effects the Vietnam war had on soldiers and their loved ones, this novel is essential reading.

5.0 out of 5 stars  Doesn’t get any better than this!!!
October 27, 2011
By Ohio Lawyer

There have been a lot of books written about the Viet Nam War. None like this. This is an incredible account of a young family faced with a husband being deployed to Viet Nam and the impact that journey has on not only him, but equally important his wife, family and friends. No one could accurately relate such a tale unless they have “walked the walk”. In this case it’s clear that the Author has done just that. The back cover of Prelude to Reveille: A Viet Nam Awakening states “She (the author) recounts events and feelings she, her husband, family, and friends faced in this her first novel”. No one else could have the insight and understanding of the conflict and the feelings it generated than those who fought that nasty conflict and those who were left behind. Those “left behind” are a big part of this story. Their separation was far more than geographic miles. The reader will come to appreciate the true emotional impact that conflict had and in many cases continues to have on those who fought and died there and their families. Anyone interested in what combat in Viet Nam was really like or the burden carried by loved ones for decades after the soldiers return will find this book gripping. The subject matter is timeless and is as relevant today for those families impacted by the Middle Eastern wars as it was in Viet Nam. Highly Recommended. A Home Run for S.D.Sawyers first time at bat!!!

5.0 out of 5 stars  Prelude to Reveille: A Vietnam Awakening
November 6, 2011
By Phyllis J. Powell (Gettysburg, PA USA)

An amazing book! S.D. Sawyer has done an excellent job of conveying the emotions of the time. It’s a military story but not just a military story. The author put down on these pages the feelings of the time…… for those of us who remember but can’t find those words …. to those who have come after and must learn from those words….. This book should be required reading…lest we forget…… I highly recommend this book and look forward to the next one.

5.0 out of 5 stars  An unmatched and outstanding read!
November 9, 2011
By Sara Blackford, military wife

Wonderfully written and thoughtfully portrayed. As a military wife, I was amazed that the tradition, experiences and anxieties of being married to a member of the military spans generations. The story is as relevant today as it was 40 years ago. It doesn’t matter what war we are fighting, what sacrifice we are asked to make, there is universality in the journey we all take.This is a rare prospective from a military wife thrown into an unfamiliar life and culture while dealing with the struggles of a young family and a husband deployed to a war zone. The book also illustrates exceptional insight into the Vietnam era and military experiences that mold a man as a husband, father and soldier.

5.0 out of 5 stars  UNBELIEVABLE READ
November 13, 2011
By kybunnies (Kentucky)

This was a great read. The author provided insight to something I knew nothing about but had always wondered. This author shows what it was like for the person returning from the Vietnam War. She even shows what it was like for the family members of the person returning. This book was a little bit of a tearjerker for me. But it was well worth reading for everything the author showed and talked about. This is a well written novel. I praise the author for having the gut and knowledge to write something so wonderful and share a horrible time with others.

4.0 out of 5 stars  Emotionally charged, well written first novel!
November 16, 2011
By R. Ballister, “Author, God Does Have A Sense of Humor”

S.D. Sawyer’s first novel, PRELUDE TO REVEILLE: A VIETNAM AWAKENING is an emotionally charged book about Meg and Tom, a young married couple struggling with the Army, the Vietnam War, and Tom’s return as a wounded veteran.

2nd Lt Tom Barrington has a bright future in the Army, a beautiful wife named Meg, and his whole life ahead of him. But when he gets orders to Vietnam as an infantry platoon leader, the young officer and his pregnant wife must deal with separation and the horrors and uncertainty of war. Tom returns, and while his physical wounds have healed, the mental toll of war lingers long after, and jeopardize his life with his bride.

The characters are fictitious, but it’s obvious that the author has walked the walk of the young Meg Barrington. Sawyer does an excellent job of developing both Tom and Meg so you feel their joy, their love, and at times their pain. I was particularly struck by how genuine the characters are, in both their speech and emotions. Overall the story does an excellent job of portraying this trying time in any military couple’s life.

Vets and spouses alike will relate well to this book, and it could serve as a springboard for discussion for today’s generation of warriors preparing to leave their spouses behind for a wartime deployment.

5.0 out of 5 stars  Prelude to Reveille
November 21, 2011

This book touched my heart. The story of Meg and Tom unfolds in the turbulent times of the Vietnam War. Prelude to Reveille is an excellent read for those of us who lived through this painful era, and it has an important message for future generations as well.

5.0 out of 5 stars  Great Read!
November 27, 2011
By Kate Smith “avid reader” (Springfield, PA, USA)

What a great read! This novel by S.D. Sawyer really rings true both in the military detail and in the relationship between the two main characters, Tom and Meg. Having been a military wife myself during the Vietnam era, I laughed out loud remembering, as I read, the many regulations, both written and unwritten,that families as well as those in military had to abide by. And tears came to my eyes remembering, as I read about the waiting, the fear, and the lack of respect given to those young soldiers when they returned home.

The story in Prelude to Reveille is thoroughly enjoyable, but also full of insight into the era. It should be read by those who lived through that time and by those who want to know about it.

5.0 out of 5 stars  prelude to reveille
December 3, 2011
By Tom Delavergne (Springfield, PA, United States)

Prelude to Reveille by SD Sawyer is a most interesting, easily read, semi-autobiographical novel of an untouched aspect of the Vietnam War–the family life of the soldier. Ms Sawyer’s descriptions of the soldiers wife life are vivid and enthralling. He details of Army life are very accurate.
I served at Fort Myer South Post at the time the novel takes place. It brought back memories that had been long forgotten of seeing the Old Guard every day, hearing the cannons roar when a General was buried, and especially the turmoil after the assasination of Martin Luther King.
I highly recommend this book to anyone with any interest in the Vietnam War or military life. The wives also served.

4.0 out of 5 stars  A riveting story from the home front
December 13, 2011
By MisterMax

So much has been written about the war in Vietnam from the perspective of those who fought there – Karl Marlantes’ stunning Matterhorn is a very recent example. But what of their families? SD Sawyer’s first novel tells us in a way that is intensely personal and vividly real. Her characters, the Barringtons, their parents, brothers, sisters, and friends are people we knew but perhaps never understood fully the difficulties they experienced during and after the war. Thanks to Ms Sawyer, it’s a lot clearer now. Except for the reception given to the returning veterans, the experiences in the book track closely to what we’ve heard from many who’ve returned from Afghanistan and Iraq. War, any war, places severe stress on the ties within families. Thankfully, the bonds mostly hold. The memories of the Vietnam war continue to be painful, especially to many of those who fought there. Ms Sawyer’s book helps to ease those memories by making them shared.

5.0 out of 5 stars  An Eye-Opening Book
December 23, 2011
By G. Calver “Geoff” Calver” (Washington, DC)

I’ve read books about Vietnam before, but they have focused on the war and the experiences of soldiers while in Vietnam. I had never read a book that explored the other side of the war, what happens when a man has to leave his family to fight on the other side of the world in an unpopular war and what happens to him and to his family when he returns.

Prelude to Reveille is a revelation in the way it shows the war on both fronts. It is an excellent book about the difficulty of worrying about a husband who is far away, of waiting for letters and fearing a Chaplain arriving on the doorstep with a folded flag. It is about the brotherly bond that soldiers gain in war and the hatred that was directed at them when they returned. It shows the difficulty that soldiers in Vietnam had adjusting to the world; the difficulty of dealing with such ingrained fear and nerves that a thunderstorm brings them back to battle, and the difficulty of finding someone who understands what they’re going through.

Prelude to Reveille is so good because it opens your eyes to a world that’s never seen or understood except by those who live through it. It isn’t just about the war and the battle and ambushes, it’s about the battles on the homefront, the tensions of the sixties that boiled over, the difficulty of readjusting to society and trying to understand a husband who has been to hell and back. It’s an excellent, eye-opening historical novel that I recommend to anyone interested in learning about the true effects of war on those who fought and the difficulties of being a waiting wife. It is a fantastic exploration of the difficulty in understanding someone you love who has had to fight in war and trying to understand what they’re going through and why they’ve come back changed. Most importantly, it’s a phenomenal book to read so that everyone can understand why our soldiers and their families deserve to be treated well and why they deserve a strong support network to help them readjust to life after war.

5.0 out of 5 stars  Extremely informative and an easy read.
December 25, 2011

S.D. Sawyer was able to describe the feelings, fears and concerns about the Vietmam era very clearly. I graduated from college in 1965 and remember the nightly news reports of injuries and deaths from the war zone. While I did not serve in the military due to a medical problem I had many friends that experienced the life as described in PRELUDE TO REVEILLE. S. D. Sawyer did an excellent job of describing the wartime life of Tom and Meg Barrington including the anti war feelings that were so evident. I hope that everyone who reads this novel will have more respect for our service men and women. It is too easy to sit in our comfortable homes viewing the news and not have any idea what our warriors are experiencing in the various war zones.In this novel you can feel the bug bites, filth and constant rain that the soldiers experienced. Meg Barrington “walked the walk” with her husband and the author accurately portrays that walk. I personally know the real life Tom and Meg and they are great and humble individuals. Tom never speaks of his gallant service or the agony of his recovery. Well done S.D. Sawyer.

5.0 out of 5 stars  A Great Read!
January 4, 2012
By Betty P.

This book is a well-written account of how difficult life was for military families. The book is interesting, entertaining, thought provoking, and at times humorous.The subject matter of life in a military family while the soldier is at war is as timeless and relevant today as it was during the Vietnam War. For those who haven’t had to live this life, it is very informative. The reader is also reminded that life is forever changed after experiencing this. Everyone involved is different.
Highly recommended.

5.0 out of 5 stars  Outstanding Read!
January 7, 2012
By Echotier

An excellent novel of those terrible times and how young people who served dealt with life and death challenges. Well written and paced – it brought back many memories.

5.0 out of 5 stars  A Special Point of View
January 11, 2012
By (Silver Spring, MD)

Reading “Prelude to Reveille: Vietnam Awakening” by S. D. Sawyer was an extraordinary experience. I have read a great many histories and memoirs of the Vietnam War. This one is quite different in that its principal point of view is that of what are called in the military dependents. Additionally, the fictional depiction of the combat scenes are as good as any I have read. Perhaps the best part of the book is the story of the main character’s recuperation in army hospitals. The way the personalities of the several men in the ward are described is better than Hemingway’s in “A Farewell to Arms.” As to the ending, those of us who were young in the early 1970s can best judge it.

4.0 out of 5 stars  Prelude to Reveille: A Vietnam Awakening
January 19, 2012
By teej1010

Excellent account of the period and what it was like for the military families. MS Sawyer has captured the emotion of the time and brings an obvious personal aspect into her writing. She brings you back in a manner so that you feel much of what she and her husband, like others in their situation, experienced 40 years ago.

This would be a great read for anyone who experienced that time and others who would like to better understand the mental and emotional conflicts of soldiers and their families when they returned from fighting for our nation in an unpopular war. It also helps to explain why veterans and their families of that era are so supportive of their counterparts today.

5.0 out of 5 stars  Discovering what I missed
January 20, 2012
By Maxine Beck

Although I was in college during the Vietnam Conflict and my husband was one of the “dates on the ping pong balls” of the draft lottery, I was oblivious to the true horror it was for so many – especially the despicable treatment endured by our troops in battle and, more shamefully, here at home. Ms. Sawyer has recreated a touching scenerio with her tortured characters in Prelude to Revielle that humbles me. The agony those men and their families endured – especially on the home front – with the twisted belief that to do so was morally justified – should never happen again. The story ends on a positive note – and happily so, but I fear the reality for many veterans and their families was more tragic. Hopefully, the awareness nurtured by Ms. Sawyer’s novel will inspire those who read it not to stand idly by and let such a travesty happen again. I have certainly gained a new appreciation for our men in uniform and the families that wait for them.

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