Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 215
In Pharaoh’s Army: Memories of the Lost War by Tobias Wolff is a nonfiction memoir about his time in the war in Vietnam. Your own summary of the book for your assignment could follow Wolff’s journey through the war, including the famous Tet offensive, or his personal opinions. Wolff writes about how he slowly loses his rosy opinion of what the US is doing in Vietnam, and this is a ripe topic to explore in your paper.
Wolff was a US Army officer who had paratrooper training in the Special Forces. Initially, he is stationed with the South Vietnamese Army. This was near My Tho, which was one of the areas affected by the Communist attack known as the Tet Offensive. It’s actually Wolff’s second memoir and continues the narrative of his life from where that first memoir stopped.
In addition to stories about major events, Wolff writes about what it’s like to have your sense of time and space altered by the violent experiences of war. It’s a testament to his self-awareness that he did his best to catalog how he felt and what he was thinking about during these experiences. This included a narrative that many Vietnam vets went through, namely deciding that the war was pointless.