Philip Caputo D. Keith Mano - Essay

D. Keith Mano

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Philip Caputo last wrote A Rumor of War; indisputably the most consequential and terrific Vietnam memoir: alone, it almost made our involvement there worthwhile. Still, I don't see why Caputo should be penalized (or rewarded) for former brilliance. Every reviewer from the NYT to the Block Island Bivalve will compare Rumor and Horn of Africa. Oh, there are coy parallels; the temptation is like a ripe carbuncle. Yet, for our purposes, Horn—novel, not memoir—was written by Phil X.

And Phil X can write well enough. In Horn he has glued together a very big protagonist. Fine with me: hell, Moby Dick was no take-out from Arthur Treacher's: I prefer a...

(The entire section is 438 words.)