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Whiplash: When the Vietnam War rolled a hand grenade into the Animal House
by Denis R. O'Neill
To Purchase the Book: AMAZON
About the Book:
A harrowing, rambunctious memoir/account about a senior year at Dartmouth College
at a time – 1969-1970 – when the Vietnam War rolled a hand grenade into the Animal
House. Because of the reinstatement of the draft lottery on December 1, 1969, the
class of 1970 at Dartmouth – and elsewhere across America – was the first to graduate
with a diploma and a draft number. This is their coming-of-age story – told through
the eyes of a senior hockey captain – about his band of fraternity brothers whose road
trip culture collided with the spectre of getting killed...providing a year of living dang-
erously in the midst of a memorable last hurrah.
"Every generation has a collective memory about dates. Dec. 7, 1941...9.11...for many,
the night of December 1, 1969 stands out. In Denis O'Neill's new book WHIPLASH:
When the Vietnam War rolled a hand grenade into the Animal House the author remem-
bers a night that turned beer soaked fraternity brothers into activists... a night when girls
were crying for boyfriends or brothers, and families and parents were gathered around
radios or television sets...all to listen to a national lottery that felt like a HUNGER
GAMES for 18-26 year-old males."
–Robin Young (NPR)
"Moving, inciteful, funny. A must read for anyone who attended college in the late 60's/
early 70's, or is interested in learning more about those turbulent times...a history lesson
disguised as entertainment.
Once you start, very difficult to put down. Get ready to laugh and cry, sometimes at
the same time. Potential to be made into a great film."
About the Author:
Denis R. O'Neill is a screenwriter, author, journalist living in Beverly Hills, CA. He
wrote THE RIVER WILD (starring Meryl Streep) and A SHOT AT GLORY (starring
Robert Duvall). He began his career in public television (WGBH TV, Boston) writing
and producing for such programs as FRONTLINE, MYSTERY, MASTERPIECE
THEATRE and NO IRISH NEED APPLY. He was written short stories, poems, and
magazine articles for various publications.
WHIPLASH: When the Vietnam War Rolled a Hand Grenade into the Animal House is
his first book. A memoir of his senior year (1969-70) at Dartmouth College.
From the Book:
Dozens at first, then hundreds – the anti-war protestors approached in silence and lit
their candles. As their numbers grew, they fanned out along the edge of the Green. In
the gathering darkness, the line of their candles snaked further and further around the
perimeter until either end had snugged up against the pro-war protestors and their
twenty-foot stretch of the senior fence. When the perimeter of the Green was fully
rimmed, the protestors filled in the dirt paths that made an "X" shape, northwest to,
southeast, southwest to northeast.
They stood in silence, fifteen hundred strong, their candles flickering in the darkness
like a field of fireflies. Henry documented the event with his camera. Julie shook her
head in disbelief. Ethan breathed in a new found resolve. Danny took in the spectacle
and felt gently redeemed. If he had pressed the investigation, he might have realized
the irony of finding his voice while standing in silence. TP practically shimmered
with joy. At that precise moment, he realized the anti-war movement at Dartmouth
College had empowered him and his radical followers to take the next step. They had
the mandate they needed. The majority had spoken. "X" marked the spot.