All Would Be Heroes. As a reader of war genre of all kind I was surprised and pleased when I had the opportunity to read this story. The author has the ability to grip the reader’s attention and is able to describe the characters as “regular” people. As you read further into the story you are hit with the realization that through the extreme circumstances these everyday characters endure in Vietnam, that they are all truly heroes. The ending is powerful and thought provoking. The story pulls on every emotion. Well done. It is definitely worth the read.

David L.

What a refreshing departure from the typical Viet Nam War book. The author does a phenomenal job of threading the writing needle between veterans, civilians, and historians. I literally could not put this book down. I highly recommend it to anyone. If you want to enjoy a very good book, buy this one.
Gary W.


Many people in our society hear others talk about the Vietnam war but they don't realize the impact that the war had on the soldiers who fought for our country. By reading this story the reader will understand what the American soldiers went through while fighting and why it was and has been difficult for them to live in society after such a traumatic experience. Author Jim Maher's writing is descriptive and it made me realize why he named his book, All Would Be Heroes. The ending of the story was totally unexpected!   

Christine G.

This was a very riveting and enjoyable book to read. The author does a very good job of getting you caught up in the action and then building it to the finish. A book you want to read until you have finished it.
Mark L.



Jim Maher is a U. S. Navy veteran who served for a few months in Da Nang during the Vietnam War. His book, All Would be Heroes (Tate, 146 pp., $12.99, paper; $10.99, e book ), we’re told, “is a work of his mind, dreams, and what if’s, plus excerpts from stories he heard.”  Maher also wrote a book called Leaders, Losers and Lessons.

This small book is presented as a series of short stories, each of which features a main character who seems to be disconnected from the main character in the other stories. Then they link up near the end of this book in action and theme.

We first meet Tom, a whining, complaining coward who never shuts up. He’s trained as an Army postal clerk and stationed near Da Nang.

Next we meet Ned, who joined ROTC and wants to be a wealthy broker when he grows up. He was trained for Naval Intelligence and stationed near Phu Bai. He did courier duty, and is shot down with a satchel full of secret documents, which he carefully hides. Then we meet Ben, a hospital corpsman in Da Nang  assigned to a Seabees unit.

Throughout the book the author does not waste false respect for the  enemy. One chapter is entitled “Viet Cong Scum.” Agent Orange is acknowledged and the VA is criticized for failing to help veterans with  PTSD. The book has a frequent sardonic edge. Maher writes, for instance that the mother of a fallen soldier is “given his medals in a beautiful wooden case.”

In the end, more medals are handed out and whiners show some heroism. Tom, the malingerer, “was now popular in his hometown because of his heroics in Vietnam, so he didn’t have a problem getting dates and spending a lot of time in bars,” Maher writes. “People enjoyed buying him drinks and sharing their pot with him. He was getting drunk and high on a nightly basis, and life for Tom was good.”

After getting drunk and high one night, Tom tries to cross some railroad tracks. He “failed to see the freight train backing slowly. The train’s wheel crushed him, killing Tom instantly.”  Just desserts, I say. No happy endings.

I highly recommend this book to overly optimistic high school seniors who think that being an American hero is all roses.

A must read!
Whether you are a war historian or not, this book is written to speak to all readers. It provides the background story of several characters and allows the reader to follow along in their development as soldiers and men. Assumptions are made based on their back stories, then completely dissolved as circumstances change, empower and mature each of the characters.  The book is written so that the reader feels part of the horrible combat and that fear and tension but is also allowed inside the personal responses of every character. It is the human connection of the reader to the characters that make me anxious for this book to come out on the big screen. It would make an insightful, touching, impactful movie. It will have audiences cheering for these heroes and brought to tears by their sacrifices. 
Teresa B.