And a Hard Rain Fell

ISBN: 157071987X
ISBN 13: 9781570719875
By: John Ketwig

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About this book

I didn't set out to write a book. It was 1982, fourteen years after I had last set foot in Vietnam, and thirteen years after I returned to The World. I had a family and a career. I'd never written more than an occasional letter to the editor in my life. My twisted insides had spawned ulcers. The nightmares were more frequent. I needed to get Vietnam out into the open, but I couldn't talk about it. Not after all those years. Thus begins John Ketwig's powerful memoir of the Vietnam War. Now, over 15 years after its initial publication, Sourcebooks is proud to bring ...and a hard rain fell back into print in a newly updated edition, with a new introduction by the author and eight pages of never-before-published photographs. From the country roads of upstate New York to the jungles of Vietnam, and finally to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., ...and a hard rain fell is a gripping and visceral account of one young man's struggle to make sense of his place in a world gone mad.

Reader's Thoughts


An absolutely searing and visceral account of one young mans war in Vietnam and its after effects on his life. At times extremely hard to read, making one ask many questions that have no answers, chiefly among them "Why?". I laughed, I wept, I squirmed, the author has a gift and hits all of ones emotions. If you read only one book about this one.


This book caught my eye in a 2nd hand bookstore I read a few pages while standing in the store and I bought it. I got home and I never put it down. I think it would be a great read for anyone...but especially great if you are connected to The Vietnam War in any way. This book might help you understand someone a little better. Certainly will give you a different perspective.

Cindy Deyo

This really is for anyone of "my" generation who wants to go back and truly feel what "the time's they are a changin'" was all about...wish I had just a bit of this information when I was in my tree-hugger days. A memoir of Vietnam - a slice of life for one 19-year old who came back forever changed. Humbling to say the least.


Not having much else to do one vacation, I picked this up at my parents' house and started reading. Oddly enough, I enjoyed it...I generally hate movies about war because they tend to glorify it, but this story told how wrong and pointless it is. It appealed to the bleeding-heart liberal in me.


I am absolutely fascinated by this era. And this book is not only a book about war, but the culture at the time--politics, music! and life in the US. I do not generally like war stories, but this one is completely different. It is fascinating! I recommend this book to anyone who wants an honest look at the Vietnam war, the effects on our soldiers, and the interesting history of what was happening in the States while they were away. This book opened my eyes to this war. Rarely did anyone speak of it, even history classes glossed over it in favor of WW2 and the Civil War. I knew very little going into this book, and came away with a greater respect for our Veterans, and knowledge of this war.

Tyler Y

The book ...and a hard rain fell: A GI's True Story of the War in Vietnam By: John Ketwig was an exhilarating war story, it induces the “True war story” feeling that author Tim O'Brien talked about in his book The Things They Carried . During the book John came across some Green berets, on a supply run, and they were interrogating 3 Vietnamese women. Throughout the course of this interrogation the women were beaten, battered, and abused since they refused to reveal any information. Until finally they took out a fire hose and… for lack of a better term she exploded. This was the most gruesome part of the book and he repeatedly references it throughout the book. The real property of this book that i like is the introduction of Lin. Lin was a Malaysian prostitute that John had hired while he was on R&R. The two of them went all around town and quickly fell in love with each other. John had planned to marry Lin and take her to the United States and live with her for the rest of their days. But, Lin had other plans. Lin broke up with him over the phone when he had returned to the States. That is when John found his new girlfriend, who he ended up marrying and having a family with. It just astounds me that through all the bloodshed, there can still be a glimmer of love in all the chaos.


Life as a Vietnam drafty


Brought back into print for its 20th anniversary, this is a gut-wrenching account of one GI's experience in Viet Nam. Unable to face the idea of returning to the U.S. after his first tour in Nam, Ketwig was walking the streets of Cambodia on the evening of July 21, 1969, as Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. He was hailed as a hero, simply for being an American. He nevertheless returned to Nam for a second tour. Highly recommended but not for the faint of heart.

Bryan Sager

Great book. One of the few that I have read multiple times.


so sad what these young men had to endure/lives forever changed by senseless war


A very powerful book, especially for those of us who faced the draft and Vietnam in the late sixties. Ketwig was sent to Vietnam where he faced unimaginable horrors. He rails against the army, as did most draftees, who became the "expendables" while the "lifers" stayed in their air-conditioned bunkers behind the lines and collected medals for themselves. He "volunteers" for a second year to guarantee a billet in Thailand rather than return home because he doesn't think he can explain his 370 days in The Nam. While there he is recognized as a first-rate welder and is airlifted to somewhere classified -- obviously Laos, where our government assured us we were not -- to do some welds on an artillery battery that was shelling North Vietnam. The section after he returned home feels a little hurried and uneven, almost as if he couldn't wait to get it out. His data regarding the effects of Vietnam on his fellow soldiers are nothing short of frightening. The Air Force "Ranch Hand" report found that mortality in children of Vietnam vets before 28 days was three times that of the population unexposed to Agent Orange. But of course the report said they would not hesitate to use it again.Prophetically, while in Thailand he has dinner with a Japanese businessman(remember this is 1967) who says the new battlefield will be the marketplace. "War is too expensive." Obviously, we in America haven't been listening. A must read


clearly the best vietnam era book written/ heartwrenching...


I had the great honor of hearing Mr. Ketwig speak at my college a few years back, and after his talk I got to meet him and buy his book directly from him (on impulse, I might add.) It was an amazing and eye-opening experience, and I'm so glad that I got to hear Mr. Ketwig's story. When I eventually got to reading ...and a hard rain fell, I found the book is amazing, if a bit hard to bear at times because of the honest frankness with which Ketwig articulates his time in Vietnam. It's an important, compelling and evocative read which I highly recommend.


this book was mostly just sad. war does horrible things to people on all sides.i liked how the author was just honest about what he felt while he was in vietnam. the way he was trained and treated in the army completely desensitized him to all this violence and he did things and witnessed things that were so horrible that looking back he doesn't know how he did it all. but he couldn't think of how to do differently at the time.he says at the begininng that he wrote this book because he wanted to understand what happened to him in vietnam and he wanted to be able to explain it to his wife and children. the book read very much like that. sometimes it just went on a little to long about things, which i'm sure was just part of the cathartic experience of the author. overall, i'm glad i read the book, even though it was quite depressing.


This book is very good. I would recommend it to anyone who likes war or history. It is very emotional but it IS worth reading

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