Review: The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A Memoir of Friendship, Loyalty, and War



The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A Memoir of Friendship, Loyalty, and War by John "Chick" Donohue

It's November, 1967 and 26 year old John "Chickie" Donohue, former Marine, now Merchant Marine, is in a neighborhood bar in Inwood, in upper Manhattan, when talk turns to the neighbor boys who are fighting in Vietnam. Concerns are rising among the patrons about the war protests at home and their impact on the boys' morale. "Someone should go over there and buy them a beer", suggests the bartender, nicknamed the Colonel. Before you know it, Chickie, who has half jokingly volunteered to take that challenge, is on the crew of a ship bound for Vietnam, with a couple of cases of beer in tow.

Chickie is a people person, who loves to talk and wins friends easily. These traits help him to actually pull this challenge off, and they also help him tell us the crazy, funny story of how he did it.

I saw a few interviews with Chickie Donohue when the book came out, and I was a little worried that it would tell a tale that made light of the war, and if that had been the case I would have been pretty disappointed. But there is serious war history along with respect for those who served in Chickie's humorous tale. He and co-author J.T. Molloy get the tone just right - the book reads as if you were sitting at the bar nursing beers with Chickie while he shared this story with you about him and his friends from the neighborhood.

I've had this book on hold on Libby since it came out last November. Just in time for Memorial Day weekend it popped up as available - great timing, and well worth the wait! I don't know when was the last time I read a book as funny and heart warming as this one. I rate The Greatest Beer Run Ever 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - this book is fantastic - I think anyone with any interest in the Vietnam War or late 20th Century US history, or really just in friendship and humorous, well told tales, should read this book.

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