Hill 488

Narrated by: Jonathan Yen
Length: 10 hrs and 45 mins
4.6 out of 5 stars (739 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

On June 13, 1966, men of the 1st Recon Battalion, 1st Marine Division, were stationed on Hill 488. Before the week was over, they would fight the battle that would make them the most highly decorated small unit in the entire history of the US military, winning a Congressional Medal of Honor, four Navy Crosses, 13 Silver Stars, and 18 Purple Hearts - some of them posthumously.

During the early evening of June 15, a battalion of hardened North Vietnamese regulars and Viet Cong - outnumbering the Americans 25 to one - threw everything they had at the 16 marines and two navy corpsmen for the rest of that terror-filled night. Every man who held the hill was either killed or wounded defending the ground with unbelievable courage and unflagging determination - even as reinforcements were on the way. All they had to do was make it until dawn....

©2003 Ray Hildreth and Charles W. Sasser (P)2015 Tantor

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What listeners say about Hill 488

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Exceptional Experience

I've read the soft cover book a few times. And I've chosen to buy the recording so I can "listen" for a change to this amazing telling, of an incredible story.
The men who held 488 earned many medals, they almost certainly deserved more.
I'm sure this battle is on the record in the annals of Marine Corps History. But it should
be more widely known. This action should be talked about for generations to come.
This is the most amazing battlefield story I've ever read or been told.
As veteran of this war myself. I've heard a lot of stories. But this is a stirring story of
esprit de corps, valor, and gallantry. And will remain with me for the rest of my life.
I'll never forget this story. I'm sure you won't either.

15 people found this helpful

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Incredible

Where does Hill 488 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I would put this in the upper third of the audiobooks that I have listened to so far. The story was top notch, with a direct and to the point recounting of a marine who experienced it.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Jimmie E. Howard, amazing leader

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

I thought the performance lacked the intensity and drama that it should have had. It seemed very passive or laid-back for the material.

7 people found this helpful

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Gripping

I found this to be an excellent book about the Vietnam War and the story reveals the ethos of the United States Marine Corps. The story provides the minute by minute recounting of the overnight battle on June 15-16, 1966 on Niu Vu Hill (Hill 488) in the Hieg Due Valley.

Sixteen marines and two Navy corpsmen overcame 25 to 1 odds to survive one the most famous battles in Vietnam. When rescued in the morning it was discovered that of the eighteen defenders six were dead, the remainders were gravely wounded. The marines had eight rounds of ammunitions left when rescued. Hill 488 produced the most highly decorated small unit in American history. Platoon Sergeant Jimmie Howard received the Medal of Honor, thirteen others were awarded the Silver Star, four received the Navy Cross and eighteen received the Purple Heart. Lance Corporal Ray Hildreth was awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart.

Hildreth tells his story from a teenager to joining the marines. He tells of his life in the marines leading up to the fateful battle. He provides a detailed account of what happened that night to the members of 1st Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine division. The book was narrated by Jonathan Yen.

18 people found this helpful

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The heroes of Hill 488

I have read and listened to about 8 books on the Vietnam War. This ranks with the best of them. It's a must read!

5 people found this helpful

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An incredible story of survival in Vietnam

Narrator Jonathon Yen does a great job making you feel like it's all happening right around you. The details that the authors provide make this book a little different from some of the other "Nam" books I have read. If you like hot action and triumphant victory then this book is for you. May God bless America and the service men and women who sacrifice themselves to provide our freedom.

6 people found this helpful

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Amazing Actions for their Brothers and our Country

A story that needed to be told, but is hard to hear at times. It's a view into the honest, non-Hollywood side to war. Boys go to war and are forces into manhood literally overnight in unimaginable conditions. Overall a great audio book.

2 people found this helpful

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Riveting, informative, well-acted.

The story is well-written and well-acted. It creates vivid scenes in the listener's imagination. There are some places that can be frustrating - places where the author (s) detour into lengthy historical backstories, or long descriptions of scenery. These are intentionally placed at points of high-tension in the narrative to hold the suspense, but seem frustratingly long. I recommend this story.

2 people found this helpful

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Worth the listen

Good story about the horror of what happen to those men on the hill. It would make a great movie.

1 person found this helpful

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Spectacular!

I was on the edge of my seat the whole time! I stumbled across this book when I purchased a used camp stove that belonged to Bill Norman (he's from my home town). I remembered his name and started asking family and friends about him, that process led me to this remarkable story. Thank you 1st Platoon.

1 person found this helpful

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Great story; OK read

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

If you enjoy war stories, you'll enjoy this book. It describes an incredible incident during Vietnam which backs up the gallant reputation of the US Marion Corps.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No.

Any additional comments?

Although the story itself is worth the read, the writing is not the greatest. If the story weren't true, it would be hard to get through. The telling jumps around roughly between 1st and 3rd person POV, and the development of the characters leaves a lot to be desired. In the end though, it tells it like it was, without apology. That aspect of the narrative was clean.

1 person found this helpful