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Young Scott Camil grew up in Florida in the 1960s hating Commies and wanting to fight for his country. After graduating from high school, Camil decides to join the marines and is plunged into the thick of combat in Vietnam. What he encounters there is truly ghoulish: the utter incompetence and malfeasance of his superiors, the constant, sudden death of his close friends, the sadistic rape and slaughter of Vietnamese women and children—all of which grinds him down and turns him into a ruthless killing machine. Upon his return to civilian life, Camil has a moment of revelation and adopts a new cause: telling the American people the truth about what’s going on in Vietnam.
In Winter Warrior, Eve Gilbert illustrates Camil’s words with empathy, nuance, and the occasional leavening splash of humor. Each panel is an exquisitely imagined interpretation of Camil’s story, capturing the brutal reality of the war and the bleak political reality on the domestic front. Winter Warrior recounts both the personal journey of one American and his need for political engagement when his conscience collides with American foreign policy during the height of the Cold War. It’s an illuminating biographical cautionary tale whose archetypal arc of suffering and transformation is as relevant today as it was then, as the American military continues to wage war throughout the globe.