Phillip Jennings

Forge Books

Everybody knows War is Hell. Only the Few and the Proud know what fun Hell can be.

Here it is, folks: "How the cow ate the cabbage" in the CLASSIFIED words of the President hisself [sic]. TOP SECRET stuff. EYES ONLY. If you want to know the real story (and you know you do)-

Nam-A-Rama is Catch 22 meets "Apocalypse Now." It's the wildest, wackiest, saddest and truest war story ever told, because it's all made-up, which means it's all real-from the oatmeal dropped on the VC (the Marines won't eat it) to the naked movie star parachuting into Hanoi; from the jarhead who calls in air strikes from a Bangkok brothel to the "Sky-Kyke" who fills out the Marine Corps' diversity quota; from the businessmen demanding a long inventory-reducing war to the Pentagon brass hoping for a glorious medal-worthy one; from the locals who'll do anything for a Yankee dollar to the grunts nobody ever asked and never will.

It starts and ends, like all the best adventures, in the air. Almost-Captain Gearheardt and his buddy, Almost-Captain Armstrong, are ferrying bodies (live in, dead out) for the CIA's Air America, but they have never forgotten their TOP SECRET orders, given when Gearheardt was delivering pizzas to the Oval Office for the CIA: Chopper into Hanoi and buy Uncle Ho a beer. Then either shoot his ass or shake his hand (the instructions get vague at this point).

And so they do, Semper Fi, pausing only to get an aircraft carrier black-flagged for bubonic plague, have an affair with Mickey Mouse, cleverly decode the message sewn into a lusty spy's black panties, commandeer a Russian truck complete with a midget Chinese 'Uncle Sam,' avenge themselves on a Cuban torturer, and dutifully experience all the Honor and Glory of the next-to-the-next-to-last war that never (God forbid) made the Nightly News.

And they do it all for laughs. Because if they were to stop laughing, where would the heartache end?

Phillip Jennings' unpredictable novel of Vietnam is an American classic in the making, a not-so-longing look at the absurdity of a war in which the damned and the innocent share the same hootch, the same Commander-in-Chief, and sometimes even the same body-bag. You won't stop laughing, or thinking.

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.


Read an Excerpt

  PART 1In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.—Napoleon

War must be made as intense and awful as possible in order to make it short, and thus to diminish its horrors.—Napoleon

Them as die will be the lucky ones.—Long John Silver1 • Not the Beginning YetGearheardt and I were having lunch next to a pile of dead Laotians when he came up with his scheme to redeem ourselves with the Marine Corps and settle the score with the Cubans. The sincerity in his baloney-muffled voice made me listen when I knew that I shouldn’t. Listening to my best


Praise for Nam-A-Rama

"Set during a pivotal time in U.S. history and populated by a bizarre cast of characters, Phillip Jennings' zany novel is cynical, fast-paced, irreverent, thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining." -Bob Kerrey

"Just when you thought it was safe to stop reading novels about the Vietnam War, along
comes Phillip Jennings with Nam-A-Rama. . . . a wild, original and often hilarious ride from its opening sentence to the last. . . . [a] weird, painfully funny, wonderful book." -Christopher Buckley

"Nam-A-Rama is a dazzlingly inventive novel of an epic American adventure abroad run totally amuck, a work that demands your full attention from start to finish." -Nicholas A. Basbanes

"Jennings has done a big service to all of us Vietnam vets and anyone else who was touched by that conflict. He has written a book that hacks its way through the dark tangle of the Vietnam War with a blade that flashes with comedy. One of the most bizarrely profound aspects of the human condition is the way horror and hilarity can intimately embrace. To capture that truth in fiction may be the toughest stunt of all. Phillip Jennings does that, and does it brilliantly." -Robert Olen Butler

"Nam-A-Rama is a wild piece of work, a sustained vaudeville softshoe on the most rollicking, ugly topic. Very, very funny, ribald, raunchy and smart." -Stewart O'Nan

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Phillip Jennings

  • Phillip Jennings left the Marines as a captain and subsequently flew for Air America in Laos. He won the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society short fiction award in 1998. He has a degree in business administration and is the CEO of Mayfair Capital Partners. He was recently proud and honored to swear his youngest son into the USMC. He lives in Kirkland, WA.





    Available Formats and Book Details


    Phillip Jennings

    • e-Book



    Forge Books