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Publisher's Summary

Raw, straightforward, and powerful, Ed Kugler's account of his two years as a Marine scout-sniper in Vietnam vividly captures his experiences there - the good, the bad, and the ugly. After enlisting in the Marines at 17, then being wounded in Santo Domingo during the Dominican crisis, Kugler arrived in Vietnam in early 1966. As a new sniper with the 4th Marines, Kugler picked up bush skills while attached to 3d Force Recon Company, and then joined the grunts. To take advantage of that experience, he formed the Rogues, a five-sniper team that hunted in the Co Bi-Than Tan Valley. His descriptions of long, tense waits, sudden deadly action, and countersniper ambushes are fascinating. In Dead Center, Kugler demonstrates the importance to a sniper of patience, marksmanship, bush skills, and guts - while underscoring exactly what a country demands of its youth when it sends them to war.

©1999 Ed Kugler (P)2014 Tantor

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Average Customer Ratings

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

If not the best certainly tied for the best

Very good...best reader to be found...& not sanitized. ..you won't be disappointed . Early Vietnam told, as it was, by a Marine who told his story well. Thanks for the look back. the cander and plain language.
You did well my man

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Detailed and personal - made me forget my problems

What was one of the most memorable moments of Dead Center?

Kugler, with just four other snipers hidden in grass but not behind any cover, report a large (over 100) contingent of very close by NVA quickly setting up two 50-caliber machine guns to annihilate a company of Marines that's out in the open in flat rice paddies.

Kugler is on the radio telling a lieutenant to call for artillery and to radio the Marine company with an order to make a fast retreat. The lieutenant is being oppositional, ordering Kugler to INSTEAD expose his team by having the five of them immediately fire their rifles on the large and heavily-armed NVA force.

Have you listened to any of Sean Pratt’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

It's as good as anything Sean Pratt has done, and that's saying a lot. I think Sean Pratt is one of the very best narrators of nonfiction.

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

Oh, I could binge on this material like nobody's business.

Any additional comments?

This book made me finally understand: (1) Why snipers in particular write such good war memoirs; (2) How Marine and Army snipers get alienated from the larger structure; (3) That common sense learned in small teams, if it could ever be effectively tapped into, would be transformative - at any time.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Awesome!

It was an all around great book!!!!! Keeps you on your toes most of the time but overall keeps you wanting to hear more

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • SMYRNA, GA, United States
  • 02-06-15

really good book... honest and real...

being retired military I joined after Vietnam and the stupidity that he went through was there for many years after... his closing comments really sum things up.. thank you for your perspective and thank you for serving...

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • ron
  • mars, Pa
  • 02-12-17

as good as it gets

vietnam was a war unlike any other. I was not there, my Marine father was. this is the best written book Ive had so far as telling from the heart. I made the military a career. serving in Panama, middle east for 7 tours, two others in south america. the mindset is still the same from generation to generation. if you want a great read get this book. if your not familiar with war brace yourself for a wild ride.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • iPlaid
  • Allentown, PA USA
  • 01-22-17

Personal, realistic look into the Vietnam War

What did you like best about this story?

At first the writing seemed simplistic and amateurish to me, but I soon realized that this was because the story was being told real time from the perspective of a 19 year old soldier in the war, not as a look back on the situation as an older, more mature perspective. This was made especially clear by the epilogue. This perspective and approach was very effective for this type of narrative, and it cut right to the chase without any overreaching analysis.

Any additional comments?

Highly recommended read for those who want to know what it was like to see the war through the eyes of someone who wanted to be there. This is a unique perspective compared to other war related literature and historical coverage of the Vietnam War.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Great book

Great book Kugler has made my first book on Vietnam one to remember and appreciate. A must read for anyone interested in the Vietnam war.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Julie
  • la vernia, TX, United States
  • 02-28-15

Light years beyond the American Sniper book

Only complaint was the constant reading of time as "oh" instead of "zero". That's it for negative comments.

The epilogue, written in 1999, pushes the button on continued failures to adopt "lessons learned" for the GWOT. This is a must read for anyone who wore the uniform and went into theater. No lessons in American Sniper, but this book is crammed full of them.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • DS
  • 02-13-15

enough time has passed

and now we can hear each other. For some reason the vets of the "War on Terror" have no problem writing memoirs as soon as they come home but (except for Audie Murphy's To Hell and Back) WW II, Korea and Vietnam took longer for the memories to sort themselves out.

I was against the Vietnam war and still believe that if Kennedy hadn't been killed, we would have remained in an adviser role, but I'll never know. Both my husbands found ways to avoid the draft and never served. I don't think any of my close friends were anywhere near being drafted. But time has passed and a lot of sh*t has happened and I was ready to read about the other side of the Vietnam debate. I was not disappointed.

This is a great book and as honest as I hoped for. Thank you Kug for letting me experience what you went through... if only vicariously. Yes, I cried with you and got p*ssed at the a**holes who had never been on patrol and who gave stupid orders. And was sad all over again at the carnage and waste the stupid "domino theory" caused.

I would recommend this book for anyone who lived through the Vietnam era and for anyone who thinks he wants to join up. It might bring the former some peace (and you will laugh a lot in the process) and it will prepare the latter for what lies ahead (even if they don't understand yet).

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Truly enjoyed this book.

The narrator did a spectacular job and made the story come alive. I served in the south of Vietnam in the flat land of rice paddies. It was good to hear what it was like for a Marine in the north among the mountains. Fascinating story of small sniper unit exploits. I will be sad when this one is finished. 3 hours left to go. I highly recommend this book. Kugler is a fine writer.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful