Rock 'n' Roll Soldier


For Dean Kohler, a teenage soldier in Vietnam, the best way to shield himself from the horrors of combat is to play some rock and roll. So, right there, in-country, Dean and three of his fellow MPs form a fully functional, touring rock band that entertains hundreds of U.S. troops during the darkest moments of the war.

Rock 'n' Roll Soldier is the true story of Dean Kohler's wartime experience, Vietnam as never before seen. One moment Dean and the band are patrolling and going toe to toe with the VC. The next they're trekking to Pleiku, traversing the deadly An Khe Pass, to play "We Gotta Get Outta This Place" for a throng of cheering GIs. Unbelievably, Dean and his group even cut a record there in the jungle, crafting a makeshift sound studio on a war-zone mountainside. Dean and the other members of the Electrical Banana (a name inspired by a Donovan song) create their own bit of order out of chaos, bringing a sense of normalcy to the surreal hell of jungle war. Cowritten with Dean Ellis Kohler.  Foreword by Graham Nash. 

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Cooperative Children's Book Center Choice 2010, Best Autobiography/Biography

© Susan Vanhecke 2023