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The 13th Valley Audiobook

The 13th Valley

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Publisher's Summary

Finalist for the National Book Award: a work that has served as a literary cornerstone for the Vietnam generation.

The 13th Valley follows the terrifying Vietnam combat experiences of James Chelini, a telephone-systems installer who finds himself an infantryman in territory controlled by the North Vietnamese army. Spiraling deeper and deeper into a world of conflict and darkness, this harrowing account of Chelini's plunge and immersion into jungle warfare traces his evolution from a semipacifist to an all-out combat-crazed soldier. The seminal novel on the Vietnam experience, The 13th Valley is a classic that illuminates the war in Southeast Asia like no other book. It is the first title in Del Vecchio's Vietnam War Trilogy, which also includes For the Sake of All Living Things, about the Cambodian holocaust, and Carry Me Home, which addresses the aftermath of war.

©2012 John M . Del Veccio (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (77 )
5 star
 (40)
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4.1 (67 )
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Story
4.2 (69 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Kathleen Erwin 07-05-17 Member Since 2007
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    "One of the classic novels of Vietnam"
    Any additional comments?

    In "The 13th Valley" John del Vecchio has created a work that is captivating, engrossing, immersive, authentic and heartbreaking. It is an intense account of the members of a company in the 101st Airborne division during an operation in the Central Highlands of Vietnam in August 1970. You learn what the soldiers are thinking, feeling, and dreaming. It is also a disturbing book in many ways. And that is as it should be. One's stand for or against the Vietnam War is immaterial. The reality for the men who served in Vietnam was surviving 365 days and most counted each day assiduously.

    The book is a detailed and authentic account in the sense that operational aspects of company level combat tactics are related in minute detail. Of course, there's a certain level of violence and gore. After all, it's war. But the author doesn't dwell on that. A lot of the book's realism lies in its exploration of the day-to-day struggles that are, and always have been, the lot of an infantryman in the field. That is, misery in the form of exhaustion, filth, mosquitoes, leaches, searing heat, dust, torrential rain, cold, mud, hunger, thirst, and sleep deprivation. And the seemingly endless hour of mind numbing boredom punctuated by minutes of sheer terror when contact is made.

    I don't know how many times I've read "The 13th Valley" since it was first published. Probably every three or four years. Each time I read it I learn something new. Listening to the audio book was time well spent. The narrator was excellent. Being familiar with the book, I remembered the location of units at particular points in time, how they moved around, landmarks, etc. I'm also familiar with military-speak, equipment, weapons, etc. Unfortunately, Audible does not make available a supplement with the maps or the glossary found in the printed version. The maps are referenced at the end of chapters as a summary of daily activities and are necessary to get a clear picture of where units are or have been, and how those movements relate to the overall mission. Those not familiar with military jargon and nomenclature may be overwhelmed by the terms thrown around. Not having a downloadable pdf file containing the maps and glossary was disappointing and will cause frustration for some listeners. I have to give the overall rating 4/5 stars based on that shortcoming.

    I think John del Vecchio's "The 13th Valley" is a classic novel of the Vietnam experience in the same way that Norman Mailer's "The Naked and the Dead" and James Jones's "The Thin Red Line" are classic fiction from World War II. There are other excellent Vietnam novels, such as "A Rumor of War," "Fields of Fire," or "Matterhorn," to name a few. I've read those and many more. I can't say that "The 13th Valley" is the best of the lot; it's just my favorite.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greeny 04-03-17
    Greeny 04-03-17 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Describes a place and time, and a warrior class."
    What did you love best about The 13th Valley?

    The descriptions of the infantry way of life in the field during war.

    Down to minute details, this book engaged me whenever what was taking place was in Vietnam. I liked how the units involved used tactics that conformed to the entire situation. I couldn't stop listening.


    What about Sean Runnette’s performance did you like?

    His voice transported me. Everything he said felt urgent and was driving toward the next action. Most of the time, I thought Sean Runnette disappeared into the story or merged into it.


    Who was the most memorable character of The 13th Valley and why?

    Cherry was probably the most memorable character for me, although there were others. Cherry had to adjust to the hardships, the ways that had already changed all the other men. I could feel how this experience changed him forever.


    Any additional comments?

    The parts of the story that occurred in the U.S. were conversations that often went over my head, I admit. But everything that took place in Vietnam grabbed me in full.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ray J. 11-04-17
    Ray J. 11-04-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Painful
    "

    There but for the Grace of God, my name could have been in that Roll Call.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    GY 11-01-17
    GY 11-01-17 Member Since 2013
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    "Detailed, thoughtful, and compelling."

    This reader prefers the level of detail offered in this book about an Airborne company in the mountains of northern South Vietnam. There are lots of digressions and flashbacks, but they are well written and thoughtful - not your typical combat story stereotypical fare. I couldn't put it down, as it were. You come away having learned a lot about the nature of post-Tet operations and even the nature of war itself. Well done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig Hensley 08-21-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Struggled to finish"

    Author spends to much time exploring the causation and social structures that cause war, punctuated by far to little combat and actual life in the bush during the Vietnam war.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer North Bend, Washington United States 08-02-17
    Amazon Customer North Bend, Washington United States 08-02-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Terrible Narrator"

    It is to some degree a matter of taste, but I found the narration so bland and lacking in feeling I lost interest in the content. Perhaps it was a combination of both content and narration. I've heard better computerized narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Daryl connerly 08-01-17 Member Since 2016
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    "good book, just drawn out in spots,,"

    liked book, but a little drawn out when talking about why men go to war.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rob 07-23-17
    Rob 07-23-17 Member Since 2017
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    "my uncle's war"

    I was 10 years old jihad forgot so much this book my uncle's the war

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick & Mary Corona, Ca 07-20-17
    Patrick & Mary Corona, Ca 07-20-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Very Impactful"

    I have listen to over 40 books on the Vietnam war. this the one of the best.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony 03-11-17
    Anthony 03-11-17 Member Since 2017
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    "a window to the past "

    loved this book.story is intense and hard to set down.narrator is awesome! GET IT!!!! this story will touch you more ways than one.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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