After My Lai documents the war’s horrific effects on both sides of the struggle. Bray presents the Vietnam conflict as the touchstone of a generation, telling how his feelings about being a soldier—a family tradition—were dramatically altered by the events he participated in and witnessed. He explains how young men, angered by the deaths of comrades and with no release for their frustration, can sometimes cross the line of legal and ethical behavior.
Bray’s account differs from many Vietnam memoirs in his vivid descriptions of platoon-level tactical operations. As he builds suspense in moment-by-moment depictions of men plunging into jungle gloom and tragedy, he demonstrates that what led to My Lai is easier to comprehend once you’ve walked the booby-trapped ground yourself. An intensely personal story, gracefully rendered yet brutally honest, After My Lai reveals how warfare changes you forever.