His exorcism begins in the return to Vietnam and his final view of the doomed war. As he was first in, he is among the last out as the North Vietnamese take Saigon.
The postscript was published in 1996 and details some of the anxieties Caputo experienced while writing the memoir and the difficulties he had handling his fame and notoriety after its publication. The author on his experiences that, “My mind shot back a decade, to that day we had marched into Vietnam, swaggering, confident, and full of idealism. We had believed we were there for a high moral purpose. But somehow our idealism was lost, our morals corrupted, and the purpose forgotten (ibid., p. 345).” This is a profound change in his perception of the war when he first came to Vietnam in 1965.
The moral conflict plays through the entire book. The personal choice for him was reporting on life, lived in all of its moral contractions. In this way, he continues in his journalistic career to explore for others the themes that confronted him in Vietnam and that he is still working out on a metaphysical level.
This metaphysics helps to transport the reader back in a realistic manner to the Vietnam War and the experiences of the ordinary United States soldier as they confronted the Vietnamese, enemy and ally alike. This confrontation was formless and void, just as the creation of the world was in Genesis. The question that confronts the reader is whether or not this creation is finished. It appears that the creation continues on and has not ended. It seems to be Caputos wish that this reflection will influence the countrys engagement in future wars like Iraq and Afghanistan now in the twenty-first century. Unfortunately, from the experience in Iraq, this does not appear to be the case.
As in the beginning of the book, Caputo quotes Jesus in Matthew 24:13 when he speaks of the final apocalypse that “he that shall endure unto the end, he shall be saved.” This seems to be the story of the soldier. Only struggling through.