September 1964 I graduated from Infantry OCS at Fort Benning Georgia. The US involvement in Vietnam consisted of Special Forces advisors, but we were fairly certain that we would end up in Vietnam. We knew very little of how the Viet Cong or the North Vietnamese regulars operated, and this was our textbook, but I failed to pay attention. I was ready to go to war. November 1965 I was a platoon leader in the First Infantry Division, the first part of our buildup in Vietnam. Two months later I was at Walter Reed Army Hospital after encountering an anti-personnel device. Three months after that my replacement was killed in an ambush. Indeed our involvement in Vietnam was a Street Without Joy. An excellent book, and a very professional narration by Derek Perkins. Just learn from it.
Tim O'brien was one of the 1.6 million Americans who served in combat during the Vietnam war. That war was indeed a mixing pot of young Americans. Because of the draft 21 year old college grads like Tim served next to high school drop outs. The drop out like the grad carried home the memory, but unlikely will ever write a book. Tim Obrien, like Ambrose Bierce, "What I Saw at Shiloh", has superbly written of the temporary insanity that overtakes the minds of young soldiers as they attempt to deal with the madness of war.
O'Brien conveys it for real, and the narrator Bryan Cranston, makes it real. I tend to be overly critical of an audiobook like this, because I was in the Infantry in Vietnam in 1965, and I am an audiobook narrator/publisher. O'Brien and Cranston nail it. Five stars all the way around.
This audiobook reminded me of watching "Pvt Ryan" in a theater with surround sound; hearing the sizzle of a round passing over your head and turning around and looking into the eyes of a dead man. I remarked to my wife coming out of the theater, that that was about as close as a civilian will ever get to being in combat.
H.P. didn't like this story, but I think it is one of his better efforts. More horror, and Zombie then his typical scifi.
Like I say it was an interesting story, and although John Prudin did a technically excellent job, he was badly cast, and I did not find him believable as a Navy Seal credited with killing 160, and possibly 255 human beings. Also, those whom I have met who have "Seen the Elephant" and especially elite forces are not as glib as Mr. Kyle about their experience.
John Michaels the narrator of this classic, is an excellent choice of readers. He obviously becomes caught up and inspired by the words of this amazing work.
John Michael's resonant baritone rolls like the sound of a distant canon bringing this Steven Crane Classic to life.
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