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BOOK LAUNCH: Combat and Campus: Writing Through War

May 17 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


As a journalist and soldier with the 25th Infantry Division, riding armored personnel carriers into rice paddies, engaging in night time sweeps of the jungle, Sgt. Peter Langlois chronicles the smells, sights, and sounds during some of the darkest days of the war from 1968 – ’69. He would return home to a nation still protesting the war in which his younger sister, Annette, had walked to class behind National Guardsmen marching across the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. Their correspondence and her poetry offer a unique perspective of the war in Vietnam and social change happening at home. Together, they share what was learned and what was lost.

What others are saying about the book:

Combat and Campus: Writing Through War fulfills the promise Annette Langlois Grunseth made to her mother, that she will find a way to publish the letters her brother Peter wrote home from Vietnam. Peter Langlois had been drafted fresh out of college and soon deployed to an area of fierce fighting near the Cambodian border. He wrote war-seared letters with the precision of the journalist he studied to be: rice paddy, rubber plantation, ambush, bomb and artillery craters, medevacs. Bodies. Body parts. Peter’s letters and Grunseth’s tough-minded and tender poems tell the story of multiple levels of courage, urging us, hope against hope, never to go again to war. – Margaret Rozga, author of Holding My Selves Together, 2019-2020 Wisconsin Poet Laureate

Poet Annette Langlois Grunseth has gathered her brother’s eyewitness letters from the Vietnam War some fifty years ago, bringing us home-ground truth about those divisive times. Sgt. Peter R. Langlois’s letters eloquently spell out war’s tedium and horror. In her own poems thinking back, his sister’s poems count the cost, then and on return to civilian life. It’s a riveting, heart-breaking, read, and I couldn’t put it down. — Robin Chapman, poet, author of The Only Home We Know (Tebot Bach).

Combat and Campus: Writing Through War is a moving, respectful, and honest book that accurately recalls the days of conflict in Vietnam and at home. This book has stayed with me, reawakening memories for those of us who lived through the war. For newer generations, this book should be required reading in classrooms across the country. There is nothing I know like this; it is beautifully balanced between war and home, combat and campus, prose and poetry. It is an unputdownable account of our nation’s trauma, encapsulated in the experience of one family.  – Judith Heide Gilliland, author of The Day of Ahmed’s Secret and Strange Birds

This reading will be presented virtually via Zoom. The reading is free but registration is required. To register online for the reading, please click the button below. For other registration options, please call 920.868.1457. Registrants will be sent a link to join via Zoom 24-48 hours prior to the event.


Sgt. Peter R. Langlois graduated from the University of Wisconsin- Madison in 1967 with a bachelor degree in journalism and advertising. He enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam with the 25th Infantry Division from July 1968-69. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals. After the military, he returned to Wisconsin to work in journalism, public relations and marketing. He was a television news reporter and later worked in public relations and advertising for companies in Wausau, Wisconsin; Grand Rapids, Minnesota, and Sioux City Iowa. He was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed fishing, boating, and skiing. He passed away from an Agent Orange related cancer in 2004.



Annette Langlois Grunseth, author of Becoming Trans-Parent: One Family’s Journey of Gender Transition, (Finishing Line Press) was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has published widely in journals and anthologies such as Midwest Prairie Review, Wisconsin People and Ideas, Dispatches MagazineNo More Can Fit Into the Evening (2020); The Ariel Anthology, Portage Magazine, Walt Whitman Poets to Come, Soundings: Door County in Poetry, and Halfway to the North Pole, among others. She is a longtime member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets (WFOP) while also being recognized for her poetry with WFOP and the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters (University of Wisconsin). After a career in healthcare marketing and public relations, Grunseth has focused on writing poetry and honoring her brother by publishing his letters from Vietnam. She lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with her husband, a disabled Vietnam Veteran, where they enjoy the outdoors and advocate for human rights. Website: www.annettegrunseth.com


May 17
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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