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“Chickie takes us thousands of miles on a hilarious quest laced with sorrow, but never dull. You will laugh and cry, but you will not be sorry that you read this rollicking story.”—Malachy McCourt Soon to be a major motion picture written and directed by Peter Farrelly, who won two Academy Awards for Green Book—a wildly entertaining, feel-good memoir of an Irish-American Ne “Chickie takes us thousands of miles on a hilarious quest laced with sorrow, but never dull. You will laugh and cry, but you will not be sorry that you read this rollicking story.”—Malachy McCourt Soon to be a major motion picture written and directed by Peter Farrelly, who won two Academy Awards for Green Book—a wildly entertaining, feel-good memoir of an Irish-American New Yorker and former U.S. marine who embarked on a courageous, hare-brained scheme to deliver beer to his pals serving Vietnam in the late 1960s. One night in 1967, twenty-six-year-old John Donohue—known as Chick—was out with friends, drinking in a New York City bar. The friends gathered there had lost loved ones in Vietnam. Now, they watched as anti-war protesters turned on the troops themselves. One neighborhood patriot came up with an inspired—some would call it insane—idea. Someone should sneak into Vietnam, track down their buddies there, give them messages of support from back home, and share a few laughs over a can of beer. It would be the Greatest Beer Run Ever. But who’d be crazy enough to do it? One man was up for the challenge—a U. S. Marine Corps veteran turned merchant mariner who wasn’t about to desert his buddies on the front lines when they needed him. Chick volunteered. A day later, he was on a cargo ship headed to Vietnam, armed with Irish luck and a backpack full of alcohol. Landing in Qui Nho’n, Chick set off on an adventure that would change his life forever—an odyssey that took him through a series of hilarious escapades and harrowing close calls, including the Tet Offensive. But none of that mattered if he could bring some cheer to his pals and show them how much the folks back home appreciated them. This is the story of that epic beer run, told in Chick’s own words and those of the men he visited in Vietnam.


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“Chickie takes us thousands of miles on a hilarious quest laced with sorrow, but never dull. You will laugh and cry, but you will not be sorry that you read this rollicking story.”—Malachy McCourt Soon to be a major motion picture written and directed by Peter Farrelly, who won two Academy Awards for Green Book—a wildly entertaining, feel-good memoir of an Irish-American Ne “Chickie takes us thousands of miles on a hilarious quest laced with sorrow, but never dull. You will laugh and cry, but you will not be sorry that you read this rollicking story.”—Malachy McCourt Soon to be a major motion picture written and directed by Peter Farrelly, who won two Academy Awards for Green Book—a wildly entertaining, feel-good memoir of an Irish-American New Yorker and former U.S. marine who embarked on a courageous, hare-brained scheme to deliver beer to his pals serving Vietnam in the late 1960s. One night in 1967, twenty-six-year-old John Donohue—known as Chick—was out with friends, drinking in a New York City bar. The friends gathered there had lost loved ones in Vietnam. Now, they watched as anti-war protesters turned on the troops themselves. One neighborhood patriot came up with an inspired—some would call it insane—idea. Someone should sneak into Vietnam, track down their buddies there, give them messages of support from back home, and share a few laughs over a can of beer. It would be the Greatest Beer Run Ever. But who’d be crazy enough to do it? One man was up for the challenge—a U. S. Marine Corps veteran turned merchant mariner who wasn’t about to desert his buddies on the front lines when they needed him. Chick volunteered. A day later, he was on a cargo ship headed to Vietnam, armed with Irish luck and a backpack full of alcohol. Landing in Qui Nho’n, Chick set off on an adventure that would change his life forever—an odyssey that took him through a series of hilarious escapades and harrowing close calls, including the Tet Offensive. But none of that mattered if he could bring some cheer to his pals and show them how much the folks back home appreciated them. This is the story of that epic beer run, told in Chick’s own words and those of the men he visited in Vietnam.

30 review for The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A Memoir of Friendship, Loyalty, and War

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ꮗ€♫◗☿ ❤️ ilikebooksbest.com ❤️

    Fascinating and funny true story of selflessness and friendship! “Peter Farrelly (Green Book) is set to write and direct The Greatest Beer Run Ever (working title), based on the novel The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A True Story of Friendship Stronger Than War by Joanna Molloy and John “Chickie” Donohue.” This book was a nice change from my usual romance novels. It was a strange but true story of a man who went to vietnam during the height of the conflict to bring some joy to his neighborhood frie Fascinating and funny true story of selflessness and friendship! “Peter Farrelly (Green Book) is set to write and direct The Greatest Beer Run Ever (working title), based on the novel The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A True Story of Friendship Stronger Than War by Joanna Molloy and John “Chickie” Donohue.” This book was a nice change from my usual romance novels. It was a strange but true story of a man who went to vietnam during the height of the conflict to bring some joy to his neighborhood friends while they served their country. Many of the boys in the neighborhood had been dying after being shipped off to Vietnam and John “Chickie” Donovan and a few others were in a local bar chatting about the sad state of affairs in the country when boys are overseas fighting and dying then come home to be yelled at and spit on. One of the guys, nicknamed the Colonel, said that something should be done to lift their spirits and since they couldn’t come around the neighborhood and join the guys for a beer, that someone should bring one to them. A good old american beer instead of the crap they get in Vietnam which could taste like vinegar one day and fine the next. Not only that, but a hug, a message from home and some camaraderie. Chickie happened to have been in Vietnam before and was currently in possession of a merchant marine card. This meant he could sign on to any merchant marine vessel heading out to Vietnam to deliver ammo and supplies. So Chickie did just that. He picked up a case of beer and got on a merchant ship bound for Vietnam. He had a list of the neighborhood boys and what companies they were each in, so he could track them down. Chickie knew it wouldn’t be as easy as stopping in and finding them right away in the Port town. However, he lucked out right away in finding one of the guys who was an MP in the port town. The rest of the story is of Chickie’s outrageous and sometimes perilous adventures while trying to get to the rest of the boys. Chickie often had to resort to conning his way into and out of situations and at first he was surprised that some of his ad libbing even worked, but soon found out the reason. It was the first of many instances in Vietnam where officers would treat me with the utmost deference, and, at first, I couldn’t understand why. Then one day somebody told me: “Don’t you get it, pal? They think you’re CIA! Because why the hell else would you be here? In jeans and a plaid shirt, no less.” What follows is a truly informative and sometimes hilarious story of Chickie’s journey through Vietnam. It is quite an interesting tale of a regular guy going out of his way at his own expense and putting himself in danger in order to bring a bit of hope and home to his fellow man. I really liked this story and the fact that it is true makes it even better. I was laughing hysterically at times, the storytelling is so good. See below for a link to a youTube documentary featuring Chickie and friends telling a shortened version of the story in their own words... Documentary video by featuring Chickie: https://youtu.be/D4WAUmyKDq0 I voluntarily read & reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts & opinions are my own. Blog|Goodreads|Facebook|Instagram|Twitter|BookBub

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kay

    Great read. A different war story. This is my first book relating to Vietnam War and it's WILD! One November night in 1967 John "Chick" Donahue was at a local bar in Inwood New York City. A superpatriotic bartender, George "Colonel" Lynch was unhappy that the antiwar protest had turned into anti-soldier. He believed the narrative was demoralizing their boys overseas and wanted to borrow a Seaman's Card from Chickie so he could sail off to the war zone and bring their neighborhood boys a drink and Great read. A different war story. This is my first book relating to Vietnam War and it's WILD! One November night in 1967 John "Chick" Donahue was at a local bar in Inwood New York City. A superpatriotic bartender, George "Colonel" Lynch was unhappy that the antiwar protest had turned into anti-soldier. He believed the narrative was demoralizing their boys overseas and wanted to borrow a Seaman's Card from Chickie so he could sail off to the war zone and bring their neighborhood boys a drink and words of encouragement. Chick couldn't just let "the Colonel" borrow his ID card so he volunteered. Sounds unbelievable and I wouldn't believe anyone would risks his life doing this. Chickie did! What a journey.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Richard Sutton

    I got lucky. My draft number came up when I turned nineteen, but by then it was a lottery and my number was high. I never got the call, but despite protesting against the War, I always thought of those who were sent overseas, and then dumped on when they returned home... if they returned home. I knew many of them. It wasn't fair. It hadn't been their choice at all, so I have had a conflicted collection of feelings over VietNam since those days. This book, a memoir that tells an outrageous story I got lucky. My draft number came up when I turned nineteen, but by then it was a lottery and my number was high. I never got the call, but despite protesting against the War, I always thought of those who were sent overseas, and then dumped on when they returned home... if they returned home. I knew many of them. It wasn't fair. It hadn't been their choice at all, so I have had a conflicted collection of feelings over VietNam since those days. This book, a memoir that tells an outrageous story of loyalty and friendship, was truly healing for me. Written in as authentic a NY neighborhood voice as could be imagined, it feels right in every way. There's a Pete Hamill-ish journalistic focus at work here, and for anyone who would want to read something revealing about the VietNam war AND about NYC, this will be a great read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    JD

    I have been on some good beer once, and I have heard of some great ones. but this is truly the most epic beer run ever!! Chick Donuhue tells this story beautifully and never in this story is he the center of attention, but always it is his buddies and the soldiers fighting in Vietnam who are. His acts was selfless and really must have raised the morale of the troops he encountered after them being villainized by the media and public during the dark days of the Vietnam War. A great part about the I have been on some good beer once, and I have heard of some great ones. but this is truly the most epic beer run ever!! Chick Donuhue tells this story beautifully and never in this story is he the center of attention, but always it is his buddies and the soldiers fighting in Vietnam who are. His acts was selfless and really must have raised the morale of the troops he encountered after them being villainized by the media and public during the dark days of the Vietnam War. A great part about the story, is that he tells what happened to the guys he visited after he left during the rest of their tours in Vietnam. Highly recommended if you are looking for something different to read and also want some laughs while being serious.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Donohue was 26 years old and already a veteran. He was an ex-marine and now a merchant seaman, and he had got together with his friends in the Doc Fiddler Bar in Manhattan. They had gathered there to drink, tell jokes and stories, have a laugh and share the craic. Something that their Irish and Scottish ancestors would have understood completely. They had all seen the protestors who were making a stand against the ongoing Vietnam war, a war that a number of their friends were still fighting in. O Donohue was 26 years old and already a veteran. He was an ex-marine and now a merchant seaman, and he had got together with his friends in the Doc Fiddler Bar in Manhattan. They had gathered there to drink, tell jokes and stories, have a laugh and share the craic. Something that their Irish and Scottish ancestors would have understood completely. They had all seen the protestors who were making a stand against the ongoing Vietnam war, a war that a number of their friends were still fighting in. One of the guys at the bar suggested that someone, one of the guys present here ideally, should sneak into Vietnam, find their friends, give them a bear hug, let them know they were missed back home, have a few laughs and to hand them a beer. ‘Chick’ volunteered for the mission. It’ll be the greatest beer run ever. It seemed like a good idea at the time… Word got around that he was going and people started to pass him names of family members and the units that they were in. He collected them together but in the cold light of day nerves were setting in. He made a promise to the mother of one of his best friends that he would find him, so he really had to go now. He managed to get a passage on the SS Drake Victory. It was leaving very soon, so he grabbed some things and hurried down to the port. He stopped at a bar to get some beers and after he explained to the barman what he was doing he gave him a great price on them. He was soon on the way in the ammo ship to Vietnam. They anchored of Qui Nhon and he thought of a ruse to get ashore. He found the captain and told him about the family news that he wanted to pass on to his step-brother in person. The captain fumed a little and as he had arranged for the shift to be covered let him go ashore for three days. He thought that would be all the time he needed to catch up with the guys and hand them a fine New York beer. Little did he know how wrong he was. He jumped on the water taxi that had dropped off some MP to help guard the ship. The other guys on the boat were from the 127th MP Company, Tommy Collins unit. And it turns out they knew him and the ship they were going to next he was on! If it was that easy finding his friends he would have this wrapped up in no time. To say Tommy was shocked to see him was an understatement, it was quite an emotional reunion, and he really liked the beer. He wanted to head north to find Rick Duggan and manages to bump into another of the friends in the jeep that stops to offer him a lift. Kevin is also shocked to see him, but he knows lots of people and helps him blag a lift of a Huey Helicopter that is heading north. In fact, being in civilian clothes seemed to be helping as most of the military personnel though he was from the CIA. The ride in the helicopter was pretty scary and they don’t shut the doors, and the pilots turned off the big fan up top just to scare him. It was early evening when they landed and the guy they spoke to knew where Duggan was. Donohue was told to jump in a fox hole and they radioed Duggan to return. He only had a day left to return to his ship though and he manages to blag a lift of a chinook, and then wangles his way onto another plane that took him to Phu Cat. That was 17 miles from his destination. He decided to walk overnight, but gave up and headed back to the camp. He was lucky not to have been captured or shot. Arriving at the port the next day he sees that his ship has already departed. He is in so much trouble. The harbour master recommends that he heads to Saigon and speak to the American Consulate. They would be able to get his out of there. But his arrived in the city happens at the time of the Tet Offensive by the Vietcong. He is now in the middle of a war zone and he is really not sure if he is going to live, let alone make it home. He survived. We wouldn’t be reading this book otherwise. It was an experience that changed him and the guys to deliver the beers too and this book is a warm and generous account of his travels. I can imagine that it was terrifying at times. He is a good storyteller, the writing is full of anecdotes about the people that he meets and helps him in his task of delivering the beers to his friends. The photos that he took enhance the writing. I liked this a lot, the writing is light-hearted and conversational. Whilst he was not in the thick of the fighting, he manages to convey the tensions in the country, in particular, the descriptions of the war.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Robyn

    Vietnam... what a terrible time. I love the ending when Chick offers his opinions of those in political power, regardless of who they are or the party they represent... he seems to hold a popular position that they all lie. What a story, what a time. A bit of history that has been silenced and lied about... I was in middle school at the height of Vietnam and it ended as I came of high school age.. but I remember the neighbor boys that went, some came home and some came back but never really retu Vietnam... what a terrible time. I love the ending when Chick offers his opinions of those in political power, regardless of who they are or the party they represent... he seems to hold a popular position that they all lie. What a story, what a time. A bit of history that has been silenced and lied about... I was in middle school at the height of Vietnam and it ended as I came of high school age.. but I remember the neighbor boys that went, some came home and some came back but never really returned. It is a 5-star read... for sure.. Happy Reading! 14. Written by an author over 65 (when published) The book says... "Chickie takes us thousands of miles on a hilarious quest laced with sorrow, but never dull. You will laugh and cry, but you will not be sorry that you read this rollicking story."—Malachy McCourt Soon to be a major motion picture written and directed by Peter Farrelly, who won two Academy Awards for Green Book—a wildly entertaining, feel-good memoir of an Irish-American New Yorker and former U.S. marine who embarked on a courageous, hare-brained scheme to deliver beer to his pals serving Vietnam in the late 1960s. One night in 1967, twenty-six-year-old John Donohue—known as Chick—was out with friends, drinking in a New York City bar. The friends gathered there had lost loved ones in Vietnam. Now, they watched as anti-war protesters turned on the troops themselves. One neighborhood patriot came up with an inspired—some would call it insane—idea. Someone should sneak into Vietnam, track down their buddies there, give them messages of support from back home, and share a few laughs over a can of beer. It would be the Greatest Beer Run Ever. But who'd be crazy enough to do it? One man was up for the challenge—a U. S. Marine Corps veteran turned merchant mariner who wasn't about to desert his buddies on the front lines when they needed him. Chick volunteered. A day later, he was on a cargo ship headed to Vietnam, armed with Irish luck and a backpack full of alcohol. Landing in Qui Nho'n, Chick set off on an adventure that would change his life forever—an odyssey that took him through a series of hilarious escapades and harrowing close calls, including the Tet Offensive. But none of that mattered if he could bring some cheer to his pals and show them how much the folks back home appreciated them. This is the story of that epic beer run, told in Chick's own words and those of the men he visited in Vietnam.

  7. 5 out of 5

    KC

    1967. After a former Vietnam veteran volunteers to return to that war torn country to deliver beer and good cheer to his pals, John “Chickie” Donohue finds himself up against extreme challenges, dangers, and the occasional dumb luck. Filled with deep devotion and extreme loyalty, this is a fascinating and somewhat insane story of friendship, allegiance, and heroism.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    thanks to the publishers and netgalley for a free copy in return for an open and honest review. This book had me gripped as sometimes funny and other times serious as its an ex marine and merchant seaman travels around war torn south Vietnam in 1967 as a bet in a New York bar to have a beer with friends who were stationed in the country.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Long

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review. What an amazing beer run to show support for friends and fellow soldiers. "Chick' Donohue writes of his journey to Vietnam and gives a good history lesson while providing an entertaining experience. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review. What an amazing beer run to show support for friends and fellow soldiers. "Chick' Donohue writes of his journey to Vietnam and gives a good history lesson while providing an entertaining experience.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alexander McLeese

    This book holds within it a hilarious, heart warming, and a times harrowing epic story that only a fool would not read. It was 1967, the Vietnam war was raging while thousands of miles away in a bar situated in Inwood Manhattan, one of the patrons was putting forward an idea, a kind of mission, of a kind that proposed anywhere but in a bar would probably have gone no further but since they were in a bar another of the patrons, 26 year old, John 'Chick' Donohue, volunteers himself for this idea/m This book holds within it a hilarious, heart warming, and a times harrowing epic story that only a fool would not read. It was 1967, the Vietnam war was raging while thousands of miles away in a bar situated in Inwood Manhattan, one of the patrons was putting forward an idea, a kind of mission, of a kind that proposed anywhere but in a bar would probably have gone no further but since they were in a bar another of the patrons, 26 year old, John 'Chick' Donohue, volunteers himself for this idea/mission. Chicks mission objectives are, 1) Get a list of the names of their friends from the neighborhood fighting in the Vietnam war. 2) Buy as much American beer that can fit in his pack. 3) Travel to and Sneak into Vietnam. 4) Track down each friend and once found give them a hug, a beer, and a message from loved ones back home and hopefully have a laugh while doing it 5) Once friends are found try make it back home alive. This is the book that i tell everyone they should read. Never will there be a greater beer run made than this.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Glen

    I won this book in a goodreads drawing. In 1967, the protests against the Vietnam War are gaining steam. The guys in the neighborhood don't like that, so one of them volunteers to go to Vietnam and bring the boys they know a beer and let them know people are thinking about them. He's in the merchant marines and hops a boat just about the time of the Tet Offensive. I could see where this movie could make a pretty good movie. It's strange how mention of the Vietnamese version of Bigfoot, Batutut, is I won this book in a goodreads drawing. In 1967, the protests against the Vietnam War are gaining steam. The guys in the neighborhood don't like that, so one of them volunteers to go to Vietnam and bring the boys they know a beer and let them know people are thinking about them. He's in the merchant marines and hops a boat just about the time of the Tet Offensive. I could see where this movie could make a pretty good movie. It's strange how mention of the Vietnamese version of Bigfoot, Batutut, is becoming prevalent in books about the war. I'm not sure when this trend started, but it's becoming almost a genre convention. I also noticed that once on his way home, he mentions he has a Vietnamese girlfriend. He barely mentions the entire relationship. He also leaves her in Vietnam, even though he thinks the was is already lost. What the heck is that? Did he leave her to die? That's terrible. On the whole a good book, a slightly different look at the Vietnam War.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Marika

    Love history? Memoirs? Nonfiction that reads like fiction? Have I got the book for you! "The Greatest Beer Run Ever: a memoir of friendship, loyalty and war" by John (Chick) Donohue. It's an unbeliebable, this can't be true type of book. In 1967, 26 year-old John Donohue—was out with friends, drinking in a NYC bar, thinking about friends who were serving in Vietnam. What could they do to help from NYC? One neighborhood patriot came up with an inspired, crazy idea. Someone should sneak into Vietna Love history? Memoirs? Nonfiction that reads like fiction? Have I got the book for you! "The Greatest Beer Run Ever: a memoir of friendship, loyalty and war" by John (Chick) Donohue. It's an unbeliebable, this can't be true type of book. In 1967, 26 year-old John Donohue—was out with friends, drinking in a NYC bar, thinking about friends who were serving in Vietnam. What could they do to help from NYC? One neighborhood patriot came up with an inspired, crazy idea. Someone should sneak into Vietnam, track down their buddies there, give them messages of support from back home, and share a few laughs over a can of beer. It would be the Greatest Beer Run Ever. One man was up for the challenge—a U. S. Marine Corps veteran turned merchant mariner who wasn’t about to desert his buddies on the front lines when they needed him. Chick volunteered and the Greatest Beer Run happened. It's being made into a movie, written and directed by Peter Farrelly, who won two Academy Awards for Green Book. Book comes out in November, 2020 * I read an advance copy and was not compensated.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    Stranger than fiction, man. An unbelievable story. I can see why it's being made into a movie: It's got a wacky premise, promises to tell the story of Vietnam through the soldiers' eyes, doesn't hold back on the horror of war while giving some great moments of levity and coincidence, and ties up nicely, bringing home themes of patriotism, brotherhood, and humanity. On top of that, Chick/Donohue's growth/arc throughout the story is a one without an expiration date; we can always use a tale of a g Stranger than fiction, man. An unbelievable story. I can see why it's being made into a movie: It's got a wacky premise, promises to tell the story of Vietnam through the soldiers' eyes, doesn't hold back on the horror of war while giving some great moments of levity and coincidence, and ties up nicely, bringing home themes of patriotism, brotherhood, and humanity. On top of that, Chick/Donohue's growth/arc throughout the story is a one without an expiration date; we can always use a tale of a guy in search of one thing that also comes to learn about a few other things as well, and especially so with global tensions as they are. What this book provides isn't necessarily escapism, but a breather in the midst of a most serious topic that doesn't disrespect the events it takes place in. Donohue's prose is smooth and carries well, as if you were across the table or beside him at the pub. Not too many stops to describe locales, and, the way he tells it, you don't need to. His brief history lessons, which give us perspective, give the moments he witnesses the weight it needs make the story as successful as possible (measuring a story's success in how it resonates upon the reader--I feel I must clarify that). Wildly entertaining, and I'll be incredibly surprised if this doesn't top lists and win awards. It's just great. Read it immediately. Many thanks to NetGalley, William Morrow, and HarperCollins for the advance read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joanna Park

    I love historical memoirs, especially if they tell me about events I’ve not heard of before. I therefore really enjoyed this fascinating, funny story about friendship and loyalty. Firstly I didn’t know much about the Vietnam War so I found it very interesting to learn more about it, especially from someone who had first hand experience of it. I liked the way the author subtly includes the facts into the story so that it doesn’t become bogged down with facts and become difficult to read. In fact t I love historical memoirs, especially if they tell me about events I’ve not heard of before. I therefore really enjoyed this fascinating, funny story about friendship and loyalty. Firstly I didn’t know much about the Vietnam War so I found it very interesting to learn more about it, especially from someone who had first hand experience of it. I liked the way the author subtly includes the facts into the story so that it doesn’t become bogged down with facts and become difficult to read. In fact the whole tone of the book is quite casual and I often felt like the author was sitting in front of me telling me the story. This made it very easy to read which isn’t always the case with these types of books. Chickie is a fantastic narrator and helped draw me into story, keeping my interest the whole way through. Even though the story is about his mission, Chickie doesn’t just write about himself as throughout the book we learn a lot about his friends and their experiences too. I liked the way he did this and it was great to get to know some of the friends he took a beer to. There are lots of photos in the book which helped me put faces to names and get an idea of the places he visited. They really added to the story and I was very pleased to see them included. The story itself is very gripping, managing to be both funny and serious at times. It was great fun to follow ‘Chickie’ through his fascinating story of some extreme challenges, danger and some very lucky escapes. It’s quite a mad adventure at times and I did read with a sense of disbelief that he actually did this but at the same time feeling very impressed that he did! I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in history or real life stories as I thought this was a brilliant read. My husband, who rarely reads, has already nicked this book to start reading so it obviously holds great appeal to everyone. It’s going to be made into a film soon and I’ll definitely be going to see it (Covid restrictions permitting). Huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Octopus publishing for my copy of this book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Antonella

    "It's not as if the public forgot them; Americans never found out enough about the boys to remember them." In November 1967 John "Chickie" Donohue was 26 years old and living in New York City. There were anti-war protests happening and the young soldiers coming back from fighting in Vietnam weren't being treated very well. This bothered Chickie and many of his friends and acquaintances from the Inwood neighborhood. While at a local bar one night, Chickie suggests bringing U.S. beer to the local g "It's not as if the public forgot them; Americans never found out enough about the boys to remember them." In November 1967 John "Chickie" Donohue was 26 years old and living in New York City. There were anti-war protests happening and the young soldiers coming back from fighting in Vietnam weren't being treated very well. This bothered Chickie and many of his friends and acquaintances from the Inwood neighborhood. While at a local bar one night, Chickie suggests bringing U.S. beer to the local guys from the neighborhood fighting in Vietnam to show them how much everyone back home appreciates what they're doing. It was a crazy idea and this is how the unbelievable true story of the "greatest beer run" gets underway. Armed with a list of names, and a case of beer, Chickie uses his mariner job to get on a cargo ship headed for Vietnam. Remarkably, he finds most of the guys on his list, and gets stuck in Vietnam for a few months, but eventually makes it back to the U.S. intact. This is an easy, fast read and it's written in a conversational tone. Chickie does describe in detail some of the war conflicts he's caught in, including the Tet Offensive, but he also weaves in the kindness of the Vietnamese people, despite years of a deadly war and lack of food available: "The Vietnamese government didn't have food for its people let alone zoo animals. These folks were probably giving half of what little they had to the beasts. The same thing happened in Berlin and Budapest after World War II. Kindness shows up in surprising places." Chickie gives us a holistic view of the war, through his own personal experiences, including how the beer run changed his perspective of the protesters and the U.S. government once he got back to New York.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    It was refreshing to read something good about the Vietnam War. The war itself was unpopular and many of the returning vets that came home were treated poorly. Instead of getting peace fingers when they returned many got the middle finger. I have always felt that good people exist in this world and sometimes one goes above and beyond the call of duty. This book is a true story of one of those individuals. In 1967 after a night of talking and drinking with friends John "Chickie" Donohue a merchan It was refreshing to read something good about the Vietnam War. The war itself was unpopular and many of the returning vets that came home were treated poorly. Instead of getting peace fingers when they returned many got the middle finger. I have always felt that good people exist in this world and sometimes one goes above and beyond the call of duty. This book is a true story of one of those individuals. In 1967 after a night of talking and drinking with friends John "Chickie" Donohue a merchant marine, would head to Vietnam. His purpose was to bring beer and messages to soldiers that were his friends from his neighborhood in New York. He was tired of all the negative things that were being said about Vietnam Service Men. He wanted to let them know that friends and family back home loved them, missed them and appreciated their service. What an adventure it was. This is truly the most epic beer run ever. I read this in one setting because it was well written, held my attention, and I could not wait to see what happened next. A remarkable story and a very entertaining read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    This was an entertaining memoir that illustrates loyalty, comradeship and friendship in a truly trying time in our history. I found it not only to be entertaining, but was a good history lesson about a time that I know very little about. If it weren't true, I would find the premise to be somewhat unbelievable. It does have all of the makings of a good movie and I can't wait to see it brought to life on the big screen. While the story doesn't try to mask the horror of the war, it does present it i This was an entertaining memoir that illustrates loyalty, comradeship and friendship in a truly trying time in our history. I found it not only to be entertaining, but was a good history lesson about a time that I know very little about. If it weren't true, I would find the premise to be somewhat unbelievable. It does have all of the makings of a good movie and I can't wait to see it brought to life on the big screen. While the story doesn't try to mask the horror of the war, it does present it in a factual light without being overpowering to the reader. A very different and worthwhile read. Reader received a complimentary copy from LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Laura Hoffman Brauman

    It's 1967 and Chick Donohue and some friends from his neighborhood were in the local bar in NYC, when one of them gets the idea that they should take some beer to friends of theirs that are serving in Viet Nam. And so begins the story of Chick filling a backpack with a case of beer, signing on to a ship as a seaman and heading to Viet Nam in the middle of the war. This may sound like fiction, but it's a true story. While no one would call this a literary masterpiece, it is a fun read about frien It's 1967 and Chick Donohue and some friends from his neighborhood were in the local bar in NYC, when one of them gets the idea that they should take some beer to friends of theirs that are serving in Viet Nam. And so begins the story of Chick filling a backpack with a case of beer, signing on to a ship as a seaman and heading to Viet Nam in the middle of the war. This may sound like fiction, but it's a true story. While no one would call this a literary masterpiece, it is a fun read about friendship and community and connection. It's an enjoyable read -- and it's not surprising that there is a movie in the works.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anna Harkensee

    This book gave me a real sense of a war I knew little about: The Vietnam War - but without violence or gore. It's hard for me to wrap my head around the horrors that were faced - many of the service people never to speak of it again. I am appreciative of "Chickie's" willingness to share his experience as a civilian in Vietnam in such a heart-warming way that at some points brought tears to my eyes. Especially through his perspective of the Tet Offensive, I have a new understanding of the sacrifi This book gave me a real sense of a war I knew little about: The Vietnam War - but without violence or gore. It's hard for me to wrap my head around the horrors that were faced - many of the service people never to speak of it again. I am appreciative of "Chickie's" willingness to share his experience as a civilian in Vietnam in such a heart-warming way that at some points brought tears to my eyes. Especially through his perspective of the Tet Offensive, I have a new understanding of the sacrifices made by the men and women on the frontlines, and their families back home. I wish this book would've been around when I studied this war in high school, because it adds a human element to the History that will stick with me for a long time.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Janis

    Sitting in a bar one night, Chick Donohue and his friends started talking about buddies serving in the Viet Nam War. Before he knew it, Donohue took up a challenge – to bring a beer to each of their friends. A merchant marine, he made his way there, jumped ship, and began the search. An unbelievable story, right? Yet a true one – and a story of danger, camaraderie, and crazy coincidences.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    A true tall tale--Apocalypse Now if Williard's long journey into darkness was just so he give Colonel Kurtz an American beer. The criticism of the war is more than fair, but has been done better in so many other works on Vietnam and feels almost tacked on here to give this amusing scenario a more serious tone. That said, Donohue was brave and wreckless and that's compelling enough. A true tall tale--Apocalypse Now if Williard's long journey into darkness was just so he give Colonel Kurtz an American beer. The criticism of the war is more than fair, but has been done better in so many other works on Vietnam and feels almost tacked on here to give this amusing scenario a more serious tone. That said, Donohue was brave and wreckless and that's compelling enough.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Martin Kilkenny

    Interesting story.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brian Langford

    Very entertaining book! The crazy stories are fun and sorta unbelievable. The loyalty and camaraderie between Chick and his friends rings true from my time in the military and from the stories I have heard from those who served in war.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    adventurous, harrowing, insightful, and downright captivating. Chick’s venture back to Vietnam was absolutely wild but makes for one hell of a good story - and memoir in this case.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

    Quite an interesting read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bill reilly

    Chick Donohue was commiserating with a bar owner in the Inwood section of NYC in 1967 while watching war protesters. He had been a Merchant Marine and had served in Vietnam. Several of his fellow Irish-Catholic friends and relatives were still there. In a moment of temporary insanity, he decided to travel back with a few good NY beers (Pabst, Rheingold, Schlitz) for the boys. He got a job on a 455 foot cargo ship in the engine room. Chick arrived with a list of names and was able to find the fir Chick Donohue was commiserating with a bar owner in the Inwood section of NYC in 1967 while watching war protesters. He had been a Merchant Marine and had served in Vietnam. Several of his fellow Irish-Catholic friends and relatives were still there. In a moment of temporary insanity, he decided to travel back with a few good NY beers (Pabst, Rheingold, Schlitz) for the boys. He got a job on a 455 foot cargo ship in the engine room. Chick arrived with a list of names and was able to find the first one, Tom Collins, on the first day. He handed the young soldier a beer from the Big Apple. The next soldier was Kevin McLoone and beer #2. Donohue thought it was divine intervention. His quest continued as he hitched rides with mail runs and because he wore civilian clothes, the brass all believed that he was CIA. PFC Ricky Duggan received beer #3 after a brief firefight with the NVA. Chick’s ship left a day early, leaving him stranded, eventually in Saigon during the Tet offensive of 1968. The book makes a radical shift from light comedy to a serious day by day account of the battles of early 1968. Donohue’s timing was impeccable. He was fortunate enough to have fellow Merchant Marines living on a docked cargo ship filled with tons of frozen food. The fog of war made it impossible to get out of Saigon and Donohue met some truly fascinating people along the way. The war dragged on as General Westmoreland expanded the troops from 16,000 to over 500,000. It was the end of LBJ, as Walter Cronkite visited Saigon, and on the evening news, advised President Johnson to get out. Meanwhile, Donohue hitched a ride with another ship that took him to Seattle, Washington. He jumped on the next plane back to his old stomping ground, Inwood, after landing at JFK airport. He later graduated from the JFK School of Government at Harvard. This is one hell of a book from one hell of a man.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl S (book_boss_12)

    Being a patriotic person myself, let me start by saying if I EVER run into "Chick" Donahue I will buy him a beer, a shot, and a gd filet! So, the title. The best beer run ever is an understatement. This guy boards a ship, goes to Vietnam and as he states he doesn't need orders. He just does as he darn well pleases with a lot of help from others. Drops a beer off to his friends and neighbors fighting the war. Why?? Why go, again, as stated to where you dont have to be??? This isn't a resort area. Being a patriotic person myself, let me start by saying if I EVER run into "Chick" Donahue I will buy him a beer, a shot, and a gd filet! So, the title. The best beer run ever is an understatement. This guy boards a ship, goes to Vietnam and as he states he doesn't need orders. He just does as he darn well pleases with a lot of help from others. Drops a beer off to his friends and neighbors fighting the war. Why?? Why go, again, as stated to where you dont have to be??? This isn't a resort area. It's a literal war zone. But he was told he needed to be back to that ship at a certain time. Chick didnt make it, which is no surprise as he is wondering around trying to find people hiding from enemies. What transpires is a series of unfortunate events for the sake of one heck of a beer run. Now personally this had a little too much Vietnam war talk for me. This is personal and in no way reflects an amazing book. Mr Donahue when your on your death bed and reflecting on your life I hope you know you are one amazing person. You did the craziest thing to support American troops and thank you for sharing your story. Thank you to William Morrow for providing me a copy of an unforgettable man and story in a goodreads giveaway. I feel honored to have read it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kaleen

    Wow, what a story! It was so refreshing to read a different story from the Vietnam War. This is a very fun read about friendship and staying by there sides no matter what. I loved reading about these men and their loves. It also gave me some insight into a time of history I haven’t really learned about. I highly recommend and look forward to the movie!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Luke Johnson

    Is this for real?!?! It most be because it's way too crazy for anyone to have made up! John "Chick" Donohue is your avergage guy in the late sixties. Not really doing much beside working odd jobs as an oilman on seagoing vessels and drinking in the neighbor bars. One night, the bartender and locals are upset about the way public opionion has turned against the Vietnam War and the soldiers fighting it. In an effort to show their support, patriotism, and concern for the local boys off fighting they Is this for real?!?! It most be because it's way too crazy for anyone to have made up! John "Chick" Donohue is your avergage guy in the late sixties. Not really doing much beside working odd jobs as an oilman on seagoing vessels and drinking in the neighbor bars. One night, the bartender and locals are upset about the way public opionion has turned against the Vietnam War and the soldiers fighting it. In an effort to show their support, patriotism, and concern for the local boys off fighting they decide they're going to bring them a beer. From a bar stool in NYC this sounds pretty pie in the sky. Yet, Chick decides he's just the man for the job. And thus begins a crazy story that will see him cross the Pacific Ocean, slide in Vietnam, and put a can of Rheingold in the hand of a few soldiers. Along the way he'll end up at the front lines, get mistaken for CIA on several occassion, and even end up smack dab in the middle of the Tet Offensive. It's a little bit Forrest Gump-esque as he's nearly shot off a moped taxi, feeds starving animals at the Saigon Zoo, embraces his inner Graham Greene, and more. Again, it's so random and weird you couldn't make this stuff up. The best of the book is probably that along the way Chick realizes that both the soldiers and the protestors are simply fighting for freedom. For the soldiers, it's the freedom that would be lost should Communism rise around the world. For the protestors, it's the freedom for young men to not have to put their lives at risk to defend the world from Communism. Chick has some good times, sees some old friends, spends a lot of time being scared to death, and matures quite a bit along the way. He's no professional writer, as the book takes on more of a conversation tale of a guy who promises to tell you a crazy story as long as you keep buying the drinks. It's actually rather enjoyable as you learn some history, take advantage of Chick's unique point of view, and come to appreciate both Chick's willingness to risk his life for what many might consider a fool's errand. It's hard to seperate supporting the soldiers, while being opposed to a unnecessary war something I think we've all come to understand a little better in the two decades since Sept 11th. Yet, Chick gets the job done with a nervous smile on his face and a cold (now warm) one in his hand.

  30. 5 out of 5

    ManOfLaBook.com

    For more reviews or bookish posts please visit: http://www.ManOfLaBook.com The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A True Story of Friendship Stronger Than War by John “Chickie” Donohue and J. T. Molloy is a memoir in which the author goes on a journey into 1967, in the midst of a war, to bring beer to his pals from his New York neighborhood. Ms. Molloy was a staff reporter and columnist at the NY Daily News, the NY Post, and New York magazine. If this story wasn’t true it would have been unbelievable, fallin For more reviews or bookish posts please visit: http://www.ManOfLaBook.com The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A True Story of Friendship Stronger Than War by John “Chickie” Donohue and J. T. Molloy is a memoir in which the author goes on a journey into 1967, in the midst of a war, to bring beer to his pals from his New York neighborhood. Ms. Molloy was a staff reporter and columnist at the NY Daily News, the NY Post, and New York magazine. If this story wasn’t true it would have been unbelievable, falling squarely under the category of “if I knew what I was doing I wouldn’t do it”, a category which I am also, proudly or not, a member of. As all crazy ideas, and tattoos, start this one also took place in a bar over drinks. The bartender came up with an idea to sneak into Vietnam, in the middle of a war mind you, and bring local beer to the boys from the neighborhood. As a merchant marine Chickie Donohue was volunteered for the job, got work on a ship heading that way and thus an insane, but well-meaning journey began. The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A True Story of Friendship Stronger Than War by John “Chickie” Donohue and J. T. Molloy is one of those feel good memoirs, it’s funny, moving at times, with an overview of history of someone who had been there, and has a hindsight of decades later. Mr. Donohue can sure spin a tale, form the book I gathered he had a lot of practice, I can imagine him telling this story with a twinkle in his eye, a funny story which is no joke. Mr. Donohue’s neighborhood seems to be right out of the movies, a neighborhood where everyone know one another, and neighbors help neighbors. I wish places like that still existed, but only in my most utopian inner thoughts. I also think back to my childhood with rose colored glasses, but the pessimistic analyst in me recognizes that it wasn’t like that. This is a quick and easy read, with a fantastic story which one could simply not make up. I understand it is going to become a movie soon, and my only question is “where to I buy a ticket?”

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