"After finishing J.C. Handy’s novel, COFFINS OF TIN THE UNSEEN ANGELS OF VIET NAM, I can honestly say that it is the first book I’ve ever read that I ABSOLUTELY COULD NOT PUT DOWN! My copy was a gift and I didn’t know what to expect, but honestly, knowing he was self-published, I didn’t expect much. To my surprise, COT is an EYE-OPENER and BEST SELLER material. Handy speaks the truth about Vietnam that no one, until now, has had the guts to talk about. Handy, a Vietnam vet himself, exposes the stark truth about the Vietnam War through the eyes of Mitch McCasey, an emotionally wounded nineteen year old draftee, who has been granted conscientious objector status. McCasey, who mistakenly believes that serving his country as a supply clerk will keep him out of trouble, soon finds out how wrong he is. After a three day’s journey from Kentucky, where he was handing out fatigues to new recruits at Fort Knox, he’s dropped off on the airstrip in Da Nang during a break in an enemy mortar attack. McCasey, the epitome of a green and clueless “new puke”, stands alone and confused on the airstrip, un-aware the base is under attack. A battle-savvy sergeant races to his rescue under enemy fire and leads him to the safety of the nearest bunker where he learns his first lesson in staying alive in the middle of war-torn Vietnam. McCasey, is determined to prove he’s a good soldier despite the prejudice of his commanding officer, and agrees to work in the Graves Registration unit. The GR people retrieve, sort out, and identify the remains of fallen soldiers and prepare them for repatriation to the United States. McCasey accepts his position, as disgusting as it is, as a welcome alternative to infantry duty. By now you should begin to realize that COT is not a typical war novel. It is not about the heroes and their battles in the bush, but of the remains of the fallen heroes and of the people who deal with them. This is what separates COT from most other war novels. Amid the horrors of war, McCasey finds a sense of worth, pride and honor in his duty. He develops a deep reverence for the casualties of war and their families. Along the way he finds true love and begins making plans for his future back in the States. As if this isn’t enough material for a captivating story, somewhere deep inside of McCasey a greater war is raging, a war that began years earlier, a war that extends beyond the battlefields and rice paddies of Vietnam, beyond the mountains of remains in the GR, and beyond the grasp of time. In the letters that McCasey writes to his mother we find clues to his truth. In the GR we find clues to the truth about the Vietnam War. I was very comfortable with Handy’s easy going, third person narrative style. However, what he did with my emotions was anything but easy going and comfortable. His stereotypical military characters bemoan their situations as they move the story along with barrages of stereotypical Vietnam War clichés, complaints and insults. In one scene, Captain Everett, who was relieved of his infantry command and given a desk job, reared back in his chair and yanked the cigar from his mouth, spitting a tobacco shred to the floor, “Well, let me tell you something, trooper, I don’t give a rat’s ass for COs or yellow-bellied cowards and even less for you.” Less than predictable are Handy’s GR characters, experts in the field of forensics, who educate and enlighten with laser-fine attention to the smallest of details. In one morgue scene a subject’s eyes have been covered for the examiner’s relief, prompting the question, “Why don’t you just close ‘em peepers?” “A fair question since we watch actors do this all the time in movies, they swipe the dead eyes shut. In Handy’s GR the answer is abrupt. “Can’t, what you see in the movies is bogus.” It was EASY TO READ! Even with my vision issues I comfortably finished the three hundred and eighty-seven, soft cover pages over the weekend. EASY TO READ does not mean it was an EASY READ! Do you remember what I said about emotions? The sheer volume of blood and guts details often times made me put the book down, look away, and take a few deep breaths. Other times I closed the book and said a prayer for all who were wounded or died as a result of the Vietnam War. On a number of occasions I would jerk my head up and away from the book with my eyes wide open, only to jerk my head back down a second or two later and pick up where I left off. Then there were the number of times that I slammed the book down and delivered my own barrage of vulgarities and insults. To that regard I took no prisoners. At times my anger was directed at a particular character or characters, or their situation, war in general or the US involvement in Vietnam. On one occasion I even cursed J.C. Handy for writing COT. If you’re catching the hint that a few scenes could evoke a catharsis from within you, you’re absolutely right, so be prepared for thunderstorms. Am I better for having read COT and would I recommend it? I’m happy to say YES to both questions without reservation. I now have an even greater respect for all those who served in Vietnam, and a much deeper understanding of the unseen wounds that EVERY Vietnam Vet carries with them. Thank you in advance and THANK YOU TO ALL WHO SERVED!"