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Publisher's Summary

The mythology of the Green Berets, of their clandestine, special operations, has been celebrated in story and song. The reality, however, could be quite different. This story of one soldier's experience, the day-to-day loss and drudgery of Green Beret H. Lee Barnes, reveals the daily grind and quiet desperation behind polished-for-public-consumption accounts of military heroics. In When We Walked Above the Clouds, Barnes tells what it was like to be a Green Beret, first in the Dominican Republic during the civil war of 1965 and then at A-107, Tra Bong, Vietnam, where he eventually served as adviser to a combat recon platoon consisting chiefly of Montagnard irregulars. Though “nothing extraordinary,” as Barnes saw it, his months of simply doing what the mission demanded make for sobering reading: the mundane business of killing rats, cleaning guns, and building bunkers renders the intensity of patrols and attacks all the more harrowing.

More than anything, however, Barnes' story is one of loss - of morale lost to alcoholism, teammates lost to friendly fire, missions aborted, and missions endlessly and futilely repeated. And yet against this dark background, Barnes graciously honors the quiet professionals whose service, overshadowed by the outsized story of Vietnam, nonetheless carried the day.

©2011 H. Lee Barnes (P)2015 Redwood Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"A war remembrance of beauty and unadorned brutality." (Kirkus Reviews)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

outstanding story and well written

I was in that shitty war for two tours. I also departed Ft. Benning, Ga. with the 1st air cab. in 1965. Was also in the so called IDrand battle. History of this battle was not right..A Lt. Col. of that 2nd 7th made 4 Star Gen. over 260 KIA. I was a medical Platoon Sgt. and I was their!! Lost numberou friend.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Scott
  • Seattle, WA, United States
  • 05-23-15

Vietnam unvarnished

This is a well written and easy to listen to account of a tour in Nam. This is not a story of unbridled excitement but on of the hard work and boredom that are so much a part of war. Thank you.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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REAL

Brought back some memories I'm also a veteran of the Vietnam era very realistic good narration enjoyed it looking forward to reading more or hearing more. Like the way Mr Spalding made all the characters seem real with different accents.
Dan Stinson

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Well said!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, great presentation for a strong reality for many of our vets. Very well present by Mr. Spalding, who is a vet himself! He knows all too well what this is all about!

What was one of the most memorable moments of When We Walked Above the Clouds?

When he is depicting early training on the bus and afterwards. But really so much of it can be related to by vets. I have served the vets at the VA hospital as a doctor, and what they have been through is truly heroic, though even sometimes they may not see it that way. A lot of my family are vets or active military... thank you for your sacrifice and service!

Any additional comments?

GREAT LISTEN! Check it out!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Interesting special ops experience(s)

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed the story thoroughly. Not necessarily action packed but educational and I always appreciate learning about people who gave of themselves in Vietnam.

The main thing I wanted to say in the review is that the narration was not bad at all. Another commenter mentioned a nasal tone and poorly done voices for different characters. I'm typically quickly annoyed with sounds and voices that don't fit but had no such experience here. I thought it was well done.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Outstanding Narrative... makes story "Come Alive"

Where does When We Walked Above the Clouds rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is an exceptionally entertaining audio book. Kevin Spalding brings a lot visual to the narration with his effective use of “assuming the voice of the Character” for the various individuals in the narrative of When We Walked Above the Clouds: A Memoir of Vietnam. When he is assuming various characters he audibly takes on the persona of that individual so effectively that you can easily become a mentally visual participant in the in the story as if you are actually present. His presentation of the characters and the story really brings this narrative to life.

What other book might you compare When We Walked Above the Clouds to and why?

Richard Castle's books

Which scene was your favorite?

When Barnes was taking out the sniper on patrol with the snoring Sgt

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Absolutely!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Horrible Narration

What disappointed you about When We Walked Above the Clouds?

The narrators voice is very distracting. I cant finish listening to it. He has one nasaly voice for every character in the book. The only exception is when he attempts an Australian accent, same nasaly voice with a horrible accent.

Would you recommend When We Walked Above the Clouds to your friends? Why or why not?

I cant finish listening to it. Maybe it's a great book, I wouldn't know.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Kevin F. Spalding?

Anyone

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Vietnam Early ON

I was provided this free review copy audiobook by the author or narrator." This review is for the audio copy of When We Walked Above the Clouds: A Memoir of Vietnam by H Lee Barnes and narrated by Capt. Kevin F. Spalding USNR-Ret. This was one of the best Vietnam War books that I have listened to. It provided a point of view from a front line person whom I believed told it like it was. No embellishments, no one sided opinions, no drawn out drama, just down to earth here is what it was like for me. The book also provided information about the early start of the war in regards to the Green Berets mission as advisers. I hadn’t found a book that explained it in this level of detail. The author did a great job as far as I am concerned. I obtained this book due to it being narrated by Capt. Spalding. I enjoy his tone, cadence, timbre and inflection. He helps make the characters in the book come alive in my mind. This is the second book where he was the narrator and I will be looking for other books he has narrated. I highly recommend this book, the author and the narrator.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

There in 68, infantry, Ashau

Interesting, I felt it was pretty wordy until about the 30th Chapter.
My review of the story would be slighted because I would be comparing my experience to H Lee's. I can relate to just about everything that was mentioned as " that's how it was".

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • P Foster
  • 05-14-18

Truly forgettable

A boring story - I have read many Vietnam War stories, but this must rate as one of the most tedious.