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American Boys

A book about a war that sank, and took a ship with it... 

Writer's Digest Grand Prize Winner of

the Self-Published Book Awards


Winner of Silver Medal in the

Independent Publisher Book Awards for US History 


Winner of the National Indie Excellence Award

in Military Nonfiction

Winner of Silver in War & Military for Foreword Reviews'  INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards

Winner of a Readers Favorite Silver Medal

in Historical Nonfiction  

Next Generation Indie Awards Finalist in

both General Nonfiction and Historical Nonfiction

Shelf Unbound 2014 Notable Book

A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2014


"This is history at its best: the riveting, realistic story of courageous sailors forgotten by their country. ...An intriguing, well-written and poignant work that transcends its historical genre."

— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Louise Esola has shed new light on a tragic chapter of the Vietnam War. She has dug deeply into an accident at sea that took the lives of 74 young American sailors and has told their stories brilliantly! American Boys is worth your attention."

—Joseph L. Galloway, co-author of We Were Soldiers Once...and Young

“With Louise Esola’s powerful storytelling, American Boys uncovers a lost chapter of history full of grace and determination. A compelling read.”

—Gregory A. Freeman, bestselling author of Sailors to the End

“Louise Esola has done a remarkable job of research in putting together this forgotten story of 74 young men who lost their lives on the USS Frank E. Evans during the Vietnam War. Ms. Esola, writing with conviction and compassion, does a long-neglected service to the memories of those killed in the line of duty. As a Vietnam War veteran myself, I salute Louise Esola and all those who have given their time and energy to keep alive the memories of the fallen.”

—Bestselling author and Vietnam veteran Nelson DeMille

“With stellar reporting and strong writing, Louise Esola has rescued a largely forgotten incident of the Vietnam War: the sinking of the destroyer Frank E. Evans in 1969. American Boys traces the sailors from hometowns across America to their service aboard the ill-fated ship, giving the sailors the respect that their country has denied them. American Boys could easily become a classic story of men and war.”

—Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times

“American Boys is that rare offering, and deserves its own commendation as a piece of powerful research into a segment of Vietnam history that many have tried to bury over the decades... one that deserves to not be forgotten.”

Midwest Book Review

“This is the story of one of the greatest—still unresolved—tragedies of the Vietnam War, one the U.S. Navy has pretended had nothing to do with it. American Boys explores the realities of Vietnam naval operations and, in evocative prose and stunning detail, it reports the sinking of the American destroyer Frank E. Evans, along with the decades-long struggle of survivors and families to get the Navy to acknowledge the truth of the matter. is book should be read and those Evans sailors commemorated.”

—John Prados, bestselling author of Vietnam: The History of an Unwinnable War, 1945-1975

“Louise Esola’s newly-wrought account of a Vietnam-era disaster at sea and its unending impact on the drowned sailors’ loved ones will echo in your mind long after you’ve put it down. This beautiful, heart-breaking book should be required reading at the Pentagon and the White House.”

—Jack Cheevers, author of Act of War: Lyndon Johnson, North Korea, and the Capture of the Spy Ship Pueblo

“American Boys is an important story, beautifully told. Long after you finish this book, you will remember the men of the USS Frank E. Evans, and understand why the ght to include the names of its 74 lost crew members continues.”

—Kristen Graham, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist with the Philadelphia Inquirer

“...a compelling story of despair, determination, love, injustice and reconciliation that gives tribute where it is long overdue.”

Readers’ Favorite, five-star review

“... a masterpiece of military and personal history. It is brought to light by the author’s persistent and poignant pursuit of the facts surrounding the lives of the seventy-four men who died in the accident, as well as their families and survivors.”

VVA Veteran

“ is is one of those books that you wish everyone in America would read. ...Its rhythm and mixture of raw human experience is masterfully mixed with history to create a lesson on Vietnam that the reader will never forget.”

—Maureen Brody, radio host on NationFirst 

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