I am not a fan of war books. This one drew me in and I couldn't stop listening. For the first time, I truly feel like I have a good understanding of what soldiers had to endure during Vietnam. I listen in the evenings and found that I thought about the book during the day and could hardly wait for evening to come and I could listen to more.
Amazing description of a sad time in our country's history. Proud men doing their best under extreme conditions, written with a harden edge that leads to page turning excitement. Well worth your and effort. I will remember this book for a long time.
Excellent book! Highly recommended. What was expected of a young officer(s) in Vietnam are hard to be believed. It rivals the scenario played out in catch 22.
I'm just an airwinger with no combat time. I go to the birthday parties and feel out of place. This book reminded me that if you earn the title, you're a Marine. I thought it was outstandingly well written and covered all aspects of conflict.
I listened to this book on a 25 hour roadtrip. I felt like I was there again -- Lt Melis, Hawk, "Short Round" all the players. One of the best books - by far - that I've "read" in years.
I loved this book. I walk in the mountains while I listen to audio books and I have to admit that there were times I felt I was in this book. The narrator was great but unobtrusive.
As a child of these times I can say that I found this to be perhaps the most powerful story to come out of the Vietnam War. I found the story so compelling that I bought the hardcover version of the book as well.
No matter if you "went there, did that," rode a draft exemption, or if it all happened before your parents were born.
Karl Marlantes makes the characters live and breath.
Almost impossibly for most of us who played but one role, he lets us "walk a mile" in the shoes of folks at platoon, company, battalion and regiment, especially when they'd execrate each other foully and at length. His helo pilot and grunt stories do justice to both, if that's possible.
The landscape - mountains and mist and rain, leeches and tigers and jungle rot - is remarkably vivid. While the PAVN soldiers and even officers are only seen from outside, I think Bao Ninh ("Sorrow of War," maybe the best PAVN side novel of the war) would recognize and perhaps even nod at the word portraits.
Do you remember cooking C rations over plastic explosive, or just cooking excrable powdered coffee in empty green cans?
Did you ever lie in the dark with a flashlight to mark an L-Z - yes or no, marking a tiny landing zone with heat tabs inside helmets will resonate. And yes, kevlar coal scuttle folks, In The Old Days a steel pot was steel, so you could boil water in it.
The race war within the Vietnam War is probably outside our imagination, here and now, and even a white liberal who joined SNCC when they still allowed whites may have trouble writing foxhole dialog in this area.
Yeppers, there's a real fragging and a phoney one, but I think the handling and the plot will surprise you - they work as character and plot.
I often have trouble with war books because I find it difficult to follow the action that usually takes place on a grand scale. This one follows a single company over a relatively short time period and it is the characters and not the battle strategies that take the center.
It is often a difficult listen because the trials of merely surviving in that jungle and political environment were so difficult for the players. What made it an easy listen was an outstanding reading.
As long as you are not squeemish, it is a book not to be missed.