New Book - Letters from THE HEART: A Young Army Doctor's 1969 Vietnam War Experience

For Immediate Release

Publicity Contact: Wendy Brickman

(831) 594-1500 or [email protected]


New Book Released in Time for Memorial Day:

“Letters from THE HEART: A Young Army Doctor’s 1969 Vietnam War Experience”

San Diego, CA. (April 2021) Step back in time with a riveting new book about Vietnam, seen through the lens of an anesthesiologist who saved countless lives during 1969, the year he served in Vietnam.

Letters from THE HEART: A Young Army Doctor’s 1969 Vietnam War Experience by Dr. Jonathan and Sherrie Benumof takes a fascinating look back at the grounding in medicine that Dr. Jonathan L. Benumof received during the Vietnam War. He endured and persevered through the trauma and drama with the love and correspondence with wife Sherrie, often accompanied by her banana oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and preserved in these 282 Letters from The Heart. Dr. Benumof went on to become one of the top Anesthesiologists in the world, publishing numerous definitive books in his field: critical resources that other physicians continue to rely upon.

The book includes an introductory commentary by the authors regarding important issues, events, thoughts and feelings that provides a very helpful context to the rest of the book, as well as a brief look at their lives after 1969. This intimate memoir speaks well to Dr. Benumof's character and his dedication to family and humankind. 

Letters from THE HEART provides a fascinating look at history through the daily lens of an intelligent and articulate physician who was drafted to serve in Vietnam for a year. Married to his wife for just 6 months, they agreed to write daily letters to each other, which ultimately became the mental lifeline of hope that sustained Dr. Benumof through a year of disheartening conflict that often seemed to stretch on forever.

Following a mere three months of on-the-job anesthesia training (at his first Army assignment at Fort Knox, Kentucky), the author was sent to serve as an anesthesiologist in his MASH Unit, the 18th Surgical Hospital in the Fire Base "Camp Evans." Located just south of the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) in Vietnam, it was considered one of the most dangerous places during the TET offensive, and MD anesthesia providers were badly needed. The author dedicated himself to saving the lives of wounded soldiers to the best of his growing abilities in operating conditions where the heat could exceed 120 degrees and often during constant bombardment by the North Vietnamese Army.

The book is inspiring for all readers as the author depicts his struggles through depression and the monotony of day to day living outside the operating room. His love for his wife and her love for him are a constant within each letter. If he had not received his wife's nearly daily letters, audiotapes, photos and care packages, he probably would not have survived to conquer his anxiety and depression brought on by the horrors of the war. Every day he focused on his hope of returning to start a happy, loving family life with her.

After a year of brutal service in Vietnam, Dr. Benumof returned to the United States and through hard work and dedication became world-renowned as a top Anesthesiologist. His accomplishments revealed the importance of keeping hope in our lives. His year in Vietnam left some lasting scars as he continued to suffer from PTSD and alcoholism for decades after he returned to the United States. With the support of family and others, he eventually sought treatment and has lived a life of sobriety since November 2008. 

His time in Vietnam was very difficult and his letters give all of us a front row seat into his thoughts, emotions and the hard work that he did while he was there for the year. Just as important was his determination to do his very best for the soldiers and others he treated and to keep his hope strong for the future. 

For his work in Vietnam, he was awarded a prestigious Bronze Star as appreciation for his service. Dr. Benumof shares the impact of the lack of welcome home or gratitude by Americans for those in the military who returned home after their difficult missions. It was not until 2012 that President Barack Obama established the Vietnam War Veterans Day, long overdue.


TITLE: Letters from THE HEART: A Young Army Doctor’s 1969 Vietnam War Experience

Publisher: Park Place Publications

Non-Fiction / Memoir

ISBN: 978-1-95312020-5

6” x 9”, 434 pages

Trade paperback, $24.95 retail

Book release date: April 2021

Available through Amazon, Barnes &Noble, other online booksellers



Dr. Jonathan Benumof

Dr. Jonathan Benumof was born in New York City and attended City College of the City University of New York, winning the Jonas Salk Memorial Award. He moved to California and graduated from USC School of Medicine in Los Angeles. After serving a horrific year in Vietnam as an anesthesiologist, he was awarded both a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his military service. After his 2-year Residency in Anesthesia (in New York City), Dr. Benumof and his wife moved to San Diego where he was a Professor of Anesthesiology at the University of California School of Medicine, San Diego for over 40 years.  Over the years, Dr. Benumof became a world-renowned award-winning expert on pulmonary physiology, anesthesia for thoracic surgery, airway management, and obstructive sleep apnea. Dr. Benumof is the author of many definitive books and articles in the field of Anesthesiology, important resources that other physicians rely on today.  Dr. Benumof and his wife have been married over 50 years. Their dedication to one another and constant communication while he was in Vietnam forged an unbreakable bond that continues to inspire hope in us all.


Sherrie Benumof


Sherrie Benumof was born in Austin, Texas and during her early years moved with her family to Louisiana and Alaska. It was during high school that she and her family moved to California. After high school, Sherrie attended the Los Angeles County General Hospital School of Nursing. It was in her third and final year of nursing school that she met her husband (Dr. Jonathan Benumof) who was attending USC School of Medicine. Sherrie obtained her Registered Nurse license (and many years later, her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree along with a Public Health Nurse Certificate). The love expressed in the 282 letters, that her husband wrote to her from Vietnam, gave her much strength to face and overcome the difficulties of their yearlong separation. As a result of their love for one another, over the years, they were able to build on their marriage and they happily became parents and then grandparents. And now, they have decided to share the letters to help others who are living through difficult times.