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About Face

Narrated by: John Pruden
Length: 40 hrs and 38 mins
5 out of 5 stars (81 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Called "everything a 20th-century war memoir could possibly be" by the New York Times, this national best seller by Colonel David H. Hackworth presents a vivid and powerful portrait of a life of patriotism.

From age 15 to 40, David Hackworth devoted himself to the US Army and fast became a living legend. In 1971, however, he appeared on television to decry the doomed war effort in Vietnam. With About Face, he has written what many Vietnam veterans have called the most important book of their generation. 

From Korea to Berlin, from the Cuban missile crisis to Vietnam, Hackworth's story is that of an exemplary patriot, played out against the backdrop of the changing fortunes of America and the American military. It is also a stunning indictment of the Pentagon's fundamental misunderstanding of the Vietnam conflict and of the bureaucracy of self-interest that fueled the war.

New York Times best seller. A Military Book Club Main Selection. A number-one Amazon.com best seller in Korean War Personal Narratives.

©2019 Colonel David H. Hackworth (P)2019 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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An excellent adaptation of an excellent book

I discovered About Face: The Odyssey of an American Warrior as a private in 1990. I saw Colonel Hackworth do an interview to support the book, and I was fascinated by his quiet demeanor as he talked about a lifetime of service and combat. When I saw the book on display at the PX, I scooped it up and devoured it. It's been on my "Read This Often" reading list ever since.

About Face is a memoir, but it's one that's been tempered with the viewpoints of many of the people it talks about. Colonel Hackworth and Julie Sherman did a good job of coordinating his recollections with those of his friends and comrades from 3 decades of Army life. The book is made up of in-depth discussions of Hackworth's views on politics, the military, and leadership, all punctuated by mesmerizing tales of combat and the men he served with.

The final chapter, in which Hackworth talked about his views of the United States and her military circa 1988, is, to me, the most interesting of all. When the authors wrote those words, we were on the brink of the Berlin Wall falling, but were still poised for World War III starting somewhere in the Fulda Gap. The First Gulf War, Somalia, the Balkan War, 9/11, and the War on Terror were still in the future. Hackworth's insights are a remarkable look back at where we were. They lead me to look at where we've come and how the Reagan military he discusses were and were not prepared for the world we fell into in the years after his writing.

The narration by John Pruden is spot on. The book is liberally salted with military jargon, and it was very rare that it wasn't used or pronounced correctly. Pruden paced the story, over 40 hours long, very well. You could hear the emotion come through where it was appropriate, and his characterizations during the combat sequences painted a vivid picture.

If you already know Hackworth and Sherman, you'll enjoy this opportunity to experience this seminal work again. If you haven't read About Face or any of Colonel Hackworth and Ms. Sherman's other works and you enjoy good living history, you're in for a treat.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Amazing

Loved every minute of it. This is a must. Learned a ton, now I'm hell bent to purchase a written copy.

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A must read for every military member.

Long book.....worth every word. Loaded with leadership nuggets throughout. Great insight for not only today's military, but the military of the future as well.

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Infantry follow me

Great job with narrating. Many people need to read this instead of conspiracy theories. Combat Hack

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Overall a very good book but maybe not in the way Hack had intended.

There’s a lot of good stuff in this book. Primarily in his Korea days and into early Vietnam. As he progresses in rank his bitches increase to less combat related problems and solutions and more into the pomp and circumstance that some off officers become focused on. I think he nails some of the problems but sort of comes off as if he alone understood the war and others were either lazy or clueless. That being said I would recommend it as a good understanding of not only Hack but the war and mindset behind the war.

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Great

This book should have been made into an audiobook years ago. I will listen to this book again.

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Probabaly the best war or leadership book ever.

I'm not much of a reader but I couldn't put this down. it needs to be a movie and I really wish he could have done the voice. RIP

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Jockos top pick

Definitely had my knowledge expanded about both the Korean War and the Vietnam war. This is a great book with a good narrator, I definitely would recommend getting it. And getting after it.

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One of the best books I have ever listened to

This book was originally brought to me attention by Jocko Wilink. He said many times on his podcast that it was his favorite book. Now I know why. It is now one of my favorites too.

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There is no conceit in the Army, he has it all.

I am shocked to find out that this man actually believed that no one in the Army knew anything but him, that any other men were needed to fight the war, and that there was room for anyone else on the chopper's when his head was fully inserted. This is too many hours of OMG I am the greatest man in the world, and everyone else is out to get me, are stupid, and I knew better than everyone else what needed to be done.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Gs Greaves
  • 08-06-19

The best war memoir I've read. An important book.

This is a true epic but doesn't feel too long, I blasted through this pretty quickly. It reveals what combat was like through the ranks and through the decades, it also has some warnings for the future which since publication we have seen begin to come to fruition. The book really does have everything and I recommend it to all, especially action fans and history buffs and anyone wanting to be inspired by this true legend and hero.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Johnny
  • 07-27-19

Real insight

Great historic accounting of the USA war middle management political ladder climbers that seemed not to care about the average soldier an arrogant viewpoint looking at personal glory in a political power hunger country bordering on facist state pretending to be a democratic one

1 of 1 people found this review helpful