New “Tale of Historical Abandon” Records Vietnam Era Paradigm Shift

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David Nardi’s war memoirs “Ripped to Shreds” contains a balanced narrative, a unique religious perspective and the ambivalent heart of every thinking person who lived through the chaos of the 60s.

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Closet hippie, staunchly-disciplined Roman Catholic, a soldier’s soldier, David Nardi re-imagines the atmosphere of the Vietnam War and its era in American history. The main narrative will have readers seeing the war through the eyes of a young lieutenant in Ripped To Shreds. He calls it “a tale of historical abandon”. This is well-realized and documented, as Nardi is a brilliant student of the chaos that accompanied a global paradigm shift in 1960s. His narrative is rounded off by lyrics and poetry, perhaps his way of showing the ambivalent heart of every thinking man who participated and matured in the events and cultural issues of that era.

David Nardi went to war with a copy of Thomas á Kempis’ book The Imitation of Christ in one back pocket and Playboy in another. Between the sacred and profane, between the violence and a love for peace, Nardi builds in all the base details–gory, salacious, or fearsome, noisy, hilarious and strange–an ultimately sane, compassionate structure for all of them in his book. The narrative starts with the author as a teen questioning the middle-class Roman Catholic values of his father’s world, segues to his finding himself one day in Vietnam, an officer in a combat engineer unit, while at the same time helping out nuns running a Catholic orphanage in Nha Trang where his unit, 569th Engineer Company (Topo Corp), had its camp.

The likes of John Prine and Bob Dylan and their innovative, experimental, spiritually open modes of thinking are given due aknowledgment. As traditions were being Ripped To Shreds, Nardi grooves on several dimensions of being – what John Hunter calls, reiterating Nardi himself, “an almost stream-of-consciousness revelry which is not something that… has been attempted about the [Vietnam] war.” David Nardi hints that he found all his thoughts about and during the most dangerous moments of his military service to be the “Spirit’s workings,/ How a mortar of war morphed into a mortar of building./ I think of a Holy Ghost foundation./ Mortar recreates what the mortar destroyed.” The poem (“Paracelsus”) where these lines were taken are found back of the book, where readers find Nardi’s songs (a la Bob Dylan) and poems relevant to the narrative, a rewarding experience–and they help readers take in the picture of a new age, the curtains hiding that age having been Ripped To Shreds by the chaos preceding it.

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About the Author
David Nardi was born, raised and educated in the public school systems of Virginia, including the University of Virginia. He was compelled, as were most young men of his age and time, to enter into the fray called the Vietnam War. He most definitely “came of age” at this time. This memoir chronicles his most critical experiences. It was a world which changed the world, one person at a time.

Ripped To Shreds * by David Nardi
A War Lieutenant's Tale
Publication Date: July 10, 2013
Trade Paperback; $19.99; 157 pages; 978-1-4797-4313-1 ISBN
Trade Hardback; $29.99; 157 pages; 978-1-4797-4314-8
eBook; $3.99; 978-1-4797-4315-5

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