Rock 'n' Roll Soldier: A Memoir

by Dean Ellis Kohler and Susan VanHecke

Dean Kohler’s band had just gotten a recording contract when he was drafted... read more

Dean Kohler’s band had just gotten a recording contract when he was drafted during the Vietnam War. Leaving the band and his dream behind, Kohler arrives in Vietnam assuming his career as a musician has been put on hold. But his commanding officer understands that the soldiers need a diversion from the stress and boredom that defines their lives. Knowing Kohler is a musician, he orders him to form a band. Kohler’s engaging, absorbing memoir of his tour of duty details the challenging logistics of doing just that in the middle of a war zone. Everything from obtaining instruments to finding a place to practice is a challenge, but when things start to click, Kohler and his band mates find themselves in high demand across the region where they are stationed. They provide an essential morale boost to their fellow soldiers, even as they continue to carry out their regular duties between shows. Kohler’s narrative is upbeat, but he doesn’t avoid relating a few of the darker and more troubling aspects of life as a soldier in this compelling account that has plenty of resonance for young adults today. (Age 14 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2010

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