"Guns Up!" was the battle cry that sent machine gunners racing forward with their M60s to mow down the enemy, hoping that this wasn't the day they would meet their deaths. Marine Johnnie Clark heard that the life expectancy of a machine gunner in Vietnam was seven to 10 seconds after a firefight began. Johnnie was only 17 when he got there, at the height of the bloody Tet Offensive at Hue, and he quickly realized the grim statistic held a chilling truth.
The Marines who fought and bled and died were ordinary men, many still teenagers, but the selfless bravery they showed day after day in a nightmarish jungle war made them true heroes. Guns Up! contains updated information about those harrowing battles. It is a tribute to the raw courage and sacrifice of the United States Marines.
©2002 Johnnie M. Clark; (P)2002 Random House Inc., Random House Audio, a Division of Random House Inc.
"A tough, no-nonsense portrayal of combat, courage, and camaraderie." (Oliver L. North)
I haven't heard the Audio book but I read the book and I love it it depicts war as it is and it shows it through the eyes of a gunner which of coarse are only suppose to live for 7.5 seconds once a fire fight broke out but Johnnie and his friend Chan got through it a must read for any war buff out there especially the Vietnam ones.
If I found an unabridged version, I suspect the rating would be 5 stars instead of 4. A few big gaps in this version left me wanting more.
If you're looking to get a sense of the horrible toll that the Vietnam War exacted on the young men thrown into its relentless soul grinder, you will find it in this book. You would think accounts like this would make it very difficult for politicians to so cavalierly send soldiers into unwinnable conflicts such as Vietnam.
The author's style is simple and credible. Since I was hoping to hear from a Marine, not a poet laureate, this was welcome to me. You feel like you were there with Clark - and his experiences are vivid. Sometimes painfully so. Clark's story has no pretense and seeks no personal glory. It's honest and sober view of what one young, naive Marine endured in Southeast Asia.
I haven't read the printed version, but until an unabridged version is available, I recommend getting a version that leaves Clark's entire work intact. Failing that, get this book.
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