NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY PETER FARRELLY, STARRING ZAC EFRON AND RUSSELL CROWE!
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“Chickie takes us thousands of miles on a hilarious quest laced with sorrow, but never dull. You will laugh and cry, but you will not be sorry that you read this rollicking story.”—Malachy McCourt
A wildly entertaining, feel-good memoir of an Irish-American New Yorker and former U.S. marine who embarked on a courageous, hare-brained scheme to deliver beer to his pals serving Vietnam in the late 1960s.
One night in 1967, twenty-six-year-old John Donohue—known as Chick—was out with friends, drinking in a New York City bar. The friends gathered there had lost loved ones in Vietnam. Now, they watched as anti-war protesters turned on the troops themselves.
One neighborhood patriot came up with an inspired—some would call it insane—idea. Someone should sneak into Vietnam, track down their buddies there, give them messages of support from back home, and share a few laughs over a can of beer.
It would be the Greatest Beer Run Ever.
But who’d be crazy enough to do it?
One man was up for the challenge—a U. S. Marine Corps veteran turned merchant mariner who wasn’t about to desert his buddies on the front lines when they needed him.
A day later, he was on a cargo ship headed to Vietnam, armed with Irish luck and a backpack full of alcohol. Landing in Qui Nho’n, Chick set off on an adventure that would change his life forever—an odyssey that took him through a series of hilarious escapades and harrowing close calls, including the Tet Offensive. But none of that mattered if he could bring some cheer to his pals and show them how much the folks back home appreciated them.
This is the story of that epic beer run, told in Chick’s own words and those of the men he visited in Vietnam.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
In this moving and hilarious memoir, military man John “Chick” Donohue goes on the ultimate beer run. The Marine Corps veteran describes how he came up with a half-baked notion to lift the spirits of his enlisted friends while hanging out in a New York bar one chilly November night in 1967. Chick lets us come along as he embarks on a quest to bring joy to downtrodden soldiers in a gruelling and increasingly unpopular war—mostly in the form of refreshing beverages. We loved reading Donohue’s story and learning how his amazing “errand” helped mould him into the man he is today, one who approaches every situation armed with humour and decency. The Greatest Beer Run Ever is a wonderful reminder of how much good can come from a little care and camaraderie.
In this energetic debut memoir, former Marine Donohue recalls an "insane" idea hatched in a New York City bar in 1967 that led him into the war in Vietnam. As a reaction to antiwar protests, a friend suggested that, to show troops some support, "somebody ought to go over to 'Nam, track down our boys from the neighborhood, and bring them each a beer!" Donohue, writing with New York Daily News columnist Molloy, was the logical choice to be that "somebody," since, as a civilian seaman in the U.S. Merchant Marine, he possessed a military "Z" card, which allowed him to travel to the country. After a monthlong trip across the Pacific on a freight ship, Donohue managed with the help of U.S. soldiers willing to break some rules to actually find some of his friends, including the brother of a grade school friend, whom he links up with just after his ship drops anchor off Qui Nhon; another friend he locates nearly 100 miles away, after managing to get two flights and a helicopter ride from helpful GIs. But the heart of the book is when he finds himself alone in Saigon during the Tet offensive; as he witnesses the storming of the U.S. embassy, he recognizes the false bravado behind his mission and, after arriving home, realizes the antiwar protesters "were at least trying to stop this madness." Donohue's memoir is a fascinating, vividly narrated recollection of the chaos of the Vietnam War.
Frightening and funny at the same time. Very accurate portrayal of an unpleasant part of US history. It brought back memories good and otherwise, from my time spent in Vietnam from 1968 to 1972. I need a beer.
Greatest Beer Run
As a Veteran the story is an excellent means to start understanding Vietnam veterans and clarifies how our government mislead the nation and our troops
I loved this story. It is so amazing that Chick even pulled this off. I learned more than I ever knew about the Viet Nam war. Thank you for sharing this experience.