Exit Wounds: A Vietnam Elegy

More than just a war memoir, Exit Wounds is a powerful story of a medical officer in Vietnam that reflects on duty, ethics, faithfulness, and how individuals are impacted by war.

An intimate boots-on-the-ground story, Hunter’s memoir begins with an intimate portrayal of two men whose lives crossed in Vietnam in 1965 and became irrevocably linked. Lanny Hunter was a Green Beret surgeon and soldier, and Y-Kre Mlo was his Montagnard interpreter. Hunter left Vietnam after the war, only to return in 1995 in response to Y-Kre’s request for help.

Hunter served in Vietnam believing America occupied the moral high ground. He lived the experience “war is hell” but also noted its obverse: war as heaven. In his memoir he explores the notion of both the military and medicine as mystical vocations, and the ambiguities of duty, citizenship, cultural imperialism, spirituality, morality, loss, and recovery.

Peopled with real soldiers who were dedicated, courageous, gentle, proud, profane, and a little mad, and seasoned with Hunter’s personal insights on medicine and moral injury, Exit Wounds is an incredibly insightful book that reveals what happens when America’s leaders place personal ambition above honor and deliberately lie to each other, the citizens, and its army.