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The Lotus Eaters - Addicted to Exposure

             People battle against one another for a number of reasons. They risk their own lives knowing that they may not live to see another day. There are a list of causes to war, such as competing for resources, poverty, wealth, territory, assassination, religion, political beliefs, opposing interests and many more. Why do people attend war? Soldiers sometimes are obligated to go days without food and shelter and witness many deaths. Imagine them losing a buddy right in front of their eyes. Their body shaking, heart pounding and covered in sweat. Not only are they depressed that one of their mates was killed, but there is a sense of relief because it could have been them. Although it is not a pleasant experience, people join the war to protect innocent lives, and to become a hero. Some think of it as a job; they think of it as a way to solve disputes between nations.
             The prolonged and costly armed conflict that began in 1959 is known as the Vietnam War as well as the Second Indochina War which the people in Vietnam referred to as the "American War." The conflict occurred in South Vietnam on the borders of Cambodia and Laos; North Vietnam was also bombed. The war was fought between the communists, North Vietnam, supported by their communist allies against the government of South Vietnam, supported by the United-States and other anti-communist nations. Approximately three million U.S. men and women were sent to Vietnam. It is estimated that over two million soldiers on both sides were terminated - nearly sixty-thousand American deaths. North Vietnam won with the fall of Saigon on April 30th, 1975. .
             Tatjana Soli's haunting, well-written novel, "The Lotus Eaters," begins with the war that is about to cease towards the fall of Saigon in 1975. The streets were abandoned, garbage laying all over the ground, "the city teetered in a dream state" (Soli, pg.1). Flashing back twelve years to the beginning of the conflict, South Vietnam and the United-States attempt to put an end to the spread of communists against North Vietnam and their allies.

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