True war talk is a hard sell


Marc Levy on the difficult work of telling a true war story @ Slow Trains. A well endowed private business school, the pleasing campus of red brick buildings and clean open space is a hub for future leaders of commerce. Most are well-heeled and upper middle class; they dress causally, walk softly, carry wallets with ample cash or plastic. They are bright, ambitious, competitive. The four-year goal is to make money. The syllabi are thus geared to that end. Among the non-business electives offered, a course on Vietnam, taught by noted translator and award winning poet Dr. Nancy Esposito.Last year, after the two-hour talk had finished, the class of twenty students filed out glum and silent. Had I done something wrong? Told over-the-top stories? Used profanity to excess? In the initial class go round, had I shown disrespect to the nephew of a commanding general in Iraq?I kept those thoughts to myself. “I’m drained,” said Nancy. I waited. “You really shook them up,” she finally said. “They weren’t expecting that. These are good kids but they’re insulated. You probably made them very uncomfortable.” We locked eyes. “Good,” I said, without malice. “Right,” she replied. That was six months ago.

read more