Bomber: From Vietnam to Hell and Back by Tony Bower-Miles and Mark Whittaker

bomberPan Macmillan (2009)

Tells the story of Tony “Bomber” Bower-Miles, a sapper in Vietnam in 1969/70. He followed the Viet Cong into their underground strongholds as a “tunnel rat”, but most of his work revolved around land mines, laying them and clearing them. He saw mates and colleagues killed and horribly injured around him. He drank, and he coped.

Returning to Australia, unable and unwilling to live in a peacetime world, alcohol became his crutch as his life spiralled into addiction and violence. He could easily have been lost – another vet unable to cope, another grim statistic put down to the tragedy of Vietnam. But Bomber wasn’t ready to let the war beat him. He battled the grog and in 2001 he returned to South East Asia to resume the battle against land mines. Starting from scratch, with makeshift equipment, Bomber established the Vietnam Veterans’ Mine Clearing Team in Cambodia. He’s still up there, still intent on destroying as many of the damn things as he can before he goes. Bomber is his story. Tough and uncompromising, it reveals the true face of war in all its brutality. But it also tells of redemption and humanity: a tale of real Australian heroism.

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© Mark Whittaker.

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