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Dear America Wiki

The Journal of Patrick Seamus Flaherty: United States Marine Corps is the fifteenth book in My Name Is America. The book was written by Ellen Emerson White, author of the book's companion, Where Have All the Flowers Gone? in Dear America. The book was first published in June 2002 and republished as Into No Man's Land in June 2012.


"In honor of all the men and women who served in Vietnam."

Book description[]

"January 20, 1968
We're going to move out while it's still dark, try to get a jump on them. Everybody's packing as much ammo as they can carry. Most of us even have LAWs—light anti-tank assault weapons. The terrain's too rough for tanks, but we can use the LAWs to take out bunkers. If we need them. Grenades, bandoliers filled with magazines for our M-16s..., extra belts of M-60 ammo for the machine guns, bayonets, Kabar knives.... But, it doesn't even feel like Boys with Toys this time—it feels like Men with Weapons. Nervous men, but men. If they want to take us on, we'll be ready. I hope.
Last night I wrote letters to everyone in my family, just in case.

""For the first time, I think I really understand that I'm in a war. A bad war."
Determined to do his duty for his country, Patrick Seamus Flaherty joins the Marines right after graduation to fight in the Vietnam War. But Southeast Asia is a far cry from Patrick's hometown of Boston, and as soon as he arrives, he realizes that he's made a terrible mistake. Confronted with oppressive heat, dense jungles, and an enemy that's everywhere, Patrick is overwhelmed by life on the battlefield. With the help of his comrades, Patrick slowly starts to find a way to deal with the harsh realities he faces. But under constant assault by the North Vietnamese, Patrick isn't sure he'll ever make it home again, and as the months drag on, he and his unit question whether they're actually making a difference. Writing in the journal his father gave him before shipping out, Patrick brings Khe Sanh to vivid life through the smells, tastes, sounds, horrors, loneliness, and the friendships that are so much of the chaos called war.



Historical Note[]


Main article: List of The Journal of Patrick Seamus Flaherty characters


Main article: Ellen Emerson White

Ellen Emerson White is an American children's and young adult fiction writer. White is the author of Where Have All the Flowers Gone? and Voyage on the Great Titanic in Dear America, and Kaiulani: The People's Princess in The Royal Diaries. She finished writing The Journal of Patrick Seamus Flaherty in August 2001.[2] White chose to set the book during the Battle of Khe Sanh since it received extensive media coverage, which is a detail she needed for Where Have All the Flowers Gone?.[3]

Shared continuity[]

Main article: Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

The Journal of Patrick Seamus Flaherty has a companion book in Dear America titled Where Have All the Flowers Gone?. The book centers on Patrick's younger sister Molly and their family back home. Both books were published at the time.



  • The portrait on the cover of the first edition is a detail from a 1968 photograph by Larry Burrows for LIFE magazine, depicting U.S. Marine John E. Wilson in Vietnam. The background was licensed from Topham/The Image Works.[6][7]
  • The cover of the second edition was illustrated by Steve Stone.


See also[]

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