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After My Lai: My Year Commanding First Platoon, Charlie Company Paperback – February 26, 2010


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After My Lai: My Year Commanding First Platoon, Charlie Company + Hanoi's War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam (The New Cold War History) + Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press; First Edition edition (February 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806140453
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806140452
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #664,039 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gary W. Bray is a retired business owner who lives in Stigler, Oklahoma. While serving in Vietnam, he was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By david l. poremba VINE VOICE on April 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
This short but brutally honest memoir of the Vietnam War is an important addition to the literature of that conflict. As a first person account, its focus is on the day-to-day experiences of First Platoon, Charlie Company, Twentieth Infantry Regiment and pretty much stays on point, free of all the other rhetoric associated with that war.
Lieutenant Bray, following his family's tradition of military service, arrived in-country in the fall of 1969, fresh out of basic training and Officer Candidate School. He ultimately assumed command of Lieutenant William Calley's old platoon and, although those events took place eighteen months previously and all those concerned with the massacre had rotated home, there was a certain stigma or notoriety attached to this unit. The Viet Cong placed a monetary reward on the heads of everyone in Charlie Company, placing additional stress on everyone.
Bray had a wonderful opportunity when assuming command and he took every advantage of it - a steadfast, reliable and savvy non-commissioned officer to lean on while learning the ropes. After My Lai is a poignant story of an infantry platoon in a no-win situation with only each other to rely on. In its honesty, it reveals what combat will do to change your life forever.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jaime (Jim) Batista on December 30, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A long forgotten friend told me about this book--His picture is on the cover--he's seated under the 'i' ..Thanks Tony, for recommending one of the best books I have ever read about the day to day events that a infantry company lives through..No spoilers here-just a great story about great soildiers in a war that America would rather forget about..Like Tony, I was an infantry man in the Marines rather than the Army and found the story more than just a rambling narrative..I would reccomend this book to anyone who would be interested in the life of a combat trooper, and the attitudes that are shaped by the day to day events..
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gary Wade on August 27, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was an educational and eyeopening book. The description of how my uncle was killed in chapter 10, The Easy Job, made me want to pull my hair out and cry. We never really knew exactly how he had died just that a land mine had killed him. This book gave me a little insight on what he was like and what his Lieutenant thought of him. Thank you! Lieutenant Bray for sharing your story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jim Ross on July 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
I read this book at the suggestion of Gary's editor at OU Press. Gary is a fellow Oklahoman and our tours overlapped by a few months, though I was in a completely different part of the country. I know how difficult it is to articulate painful memories from the war and then lay them out for everyone to see (and judge), as I have just finished my own memoir, which will be published by Stackpole Books in the spring of 2013. Believe me, when you read "After My Lai" you will feel Gary Bray's pain. His descriptions of typical infantry operations are dead-on and he very eloquently expresses how defining that experience was for anyone who served there. Like Gary's men, I was a grunt who had an OCS grad for a platoon leader and, like Gary, he was as good as they get. Some people were (and maybe still are) critical of the OCS program at Ft. Benning for turning out officers in six months, but in my experience I would take an OCS graduate over an ROTC officer or West Pointer any day. My only wish is that this book had been much longer and more in-depth, though I thought he did a great job of condensing his entire tour into such a compact package. Honest, forthright, and memorable. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J.P. Grice, Jr. on February 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent Book. It tells it the way it was.

I was in 1st 20th in 70 & 71. While I did not know Gary, I knew his Company Commander, Captain Donnavan.
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