WESTSHORE - During his 40-year career as a suburban Cleveland journalist, Dave Lange frequently dealt with controversial topics. Now he’s used his award-winning skills to write about coming-of-age during one of the most highly-charged times in American history – the Vietnam era.

In writing “Virginity Lost in Vietnam,” Lange recounts his experiences in an interesting fashion, said Ron Hill, whose company Act 3, published the 460-page book.

“It covers a lot of topics with Dave’s usual insight,” said Hill, a cartoonist whose work appears in West Life, the Press and the North Ridgeville Press. Hill drew several maps, helped select photos and worked on the book’s design.

“Dave is not afraid to take on tough issues and that comes through in his writing about Vietnam, what was going on in the country and people,” Hill said.

Lange’s book covers his sometimes self-described rambunctious adolescence, growing up in Northeast Ohio and then serving in the United States Navy in Vietnam, and in a helicopter anti-submarine task force. After his time in the service, he hitchhiked around the United States, worked union construction and auto jobs and ultimately earned a journalism degree from Kent State University, which led to his career in journalism. Lange spent the bulk of his career as editor of the Chagrin Valley Times and its sister publications, the Solon Times and Geauga Times Courier.

A book signing is set for 7:45 p.m., Saturday, at Visible Voice Books, 2258 Professor Ave., in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood. Lange will give a presentation at 8 p.m.

In the the book, Lange blends tales of growing up in Cuyahoga Falls with his military service. He was the son of a World War II veteran who grew up in an all-white neighborhood.

“I did a lot of things that were impulsive or spur of the moment, which comes out in the book,” he said. “I certainly could get into trouble at times.”

Lange said the book also touches on drugs and rock and roll culture in the country during the Vietnam era.

“It was the ’60s, and I’m writing about people and what they were doing then,” he said. “That certainly is a part of the story.”

In writing about Vietnam, Lange emphasized that he worked in a non-combat role for the Navy river forces. He would deliver pay and do other non-combat work. “I was not in a combat unit, we provided support for them,” Lange said. “We were under mortar attack a few times, but we weren’t in combat. I have a great deal of respect for those who were.”

As a journalist and someone who grew up in the 1960s, Lange is not afraid to question government or policies.

“We have to raise questions about what is going on, both during Vietnam and now,” he said. “It goes with a democracy.”

Lange, 68, lives in Malvern, Ohio. He is retired and took four years to write the book. Lange and his wife Linda have two sons, Erik and Tony. His papers won many awards for overall excellence. He also won individual awards for editorial and column writing.

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