I bought this book tonight and have read through 10 chapters. I cried on the 2nd. I can picture everything in my mind especially the images of my father Sergeant Naipo Mokuwahna as he is called in this book.He passed when I was a baby and I have tried tracking down information of his time in the military and finding out that this book had been written gave me chills. It is beautifully written and helps me to live the story. Thank you for writing this book and I highly suggest it to everybody. Mahalo. ~ Amazon Customer
A Haunting Beauty is the story of Jim Magner, artist and combat platoon leader. The two conflicting identities have to coexist in a world of lurking dangers, incredible characters and exotic beauty. Never before has there been a first person account of combat through the eyes of an artist. The combat experience has never been so vividly portrayed through two distinct identities.
Nam is where the action is—the ultimate test for the young lieutenant. For the painter, war is destruction and pain, the antithesis of art, but he comes to understand that he will have to cut through the jungles, wade the rivers, and face death to get beyond surface appearances. Jim Magner draws the reader deep into his personal world of conflicts and conquests with crisp writing and a look at combat that fascinates, elates, and at times, stuns. The platoon leader must confront the stark realities of survival while the artist sees both the beautiful and the horrific through color and contrasts, and as the composition of a work of art. He discovers the quiet dignity of the soldiers, nurses, and Red Cross “Donut Dollies” as well as their inevitable conflicts and dependencies while they try to survive in a primitive place. Set in 1966, this is a riveting, highly creative memoir that is ultimately not about war, or even Vietnam. It’s a story of how beauty and art define what it is to be human—how we interact, feel, and even fight. It’s about how battle brings out the best and worst, captured through the eyes of the artist-soldier. It’s a story of human emotions: excitement, fear, anger, sadness, and love. And it’s surprisingly funny.
You will come away with a new appreciation of how art and beauty are essential to both the human spirit and the environment—especially in a combat zone.