Going After Cacciato by Tim O’Brien is his third title regarding his Vietnam war experience. I have also recently read If I Die in a Combat Zone and The Things They Carried. These are three of the best books of fiction and mixed non-fiction regarding the war.
As a soldier in Vietnam in October 1968, Paul Berlin discovers that Cacciato, a soldier in his unit has gone MIA. Cacciato previously informed Berlin that he was planning to walk from Vietnam to Paris.
The unit chases Cacciato as ordered by their unit commanding officer. The soldiers track him to a hill, but Cacciato sets off a smoke bomb and disappears.
O’Brien reveals how Berlin recalled his service beginning in June 1968 with the 198th Infantry Brigade. As their chase leads into November, the unit loses Harold Murphy who left on his own. Yet the unit permits three women to join their chase. Soon they fall into a hole and discover a deep underground network of tunnels. As they crawl through the tunnels they meet a Vietcong soldier. They are able to somehow escape the tunnel and land in Burma.
Berlin sees Cacciato dressed as a priest and tries to capture him but is overwhelmed by Cacciato’s new friends who are also dressed in priestly robes. One of the women still in their unit tells Berlin she saw Cacciato catching a train to Delhi. The unit is able to catch the next train and continue their chase.
Continue reading “Latest Read: Going After Cacciato”