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Death Valley: The Summer Offensive, I Corps, August 1969 Hardcover – May, 1987

4.4 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Keith William Nolan is one of the foremost historians on the Vietnam War and the author of the highly-regarded Battle for Hue, The Magnificent Bastards, Into Cambodia and, with Dwight W. Birdwell, A Hundred Miles of Bad Road. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Presidio Press; First Edition edition (May 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0891412875
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891412878
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #747,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
First, this book was published in 1987, not 1984 as one of the other reviewers mentioned. Second, the Marine units (5th and 7th Marine Regiments) in this book were part of the 1st Marine Division not the 3rd Marine Division. Third, this is Nolan's third book, not his first ("Battle for Hue" and "Into Laos, Operation Dewey Canyon II/Lamson 719" were his first two books). I enjoyed this book immensely primarily because I was serving as an 0331 machine gunner with Mike 3/5 during the summer of 1969 and I vividly recall our company actions in Arizona Territory, Que Sons Mountains, Go Noi Island, Liberty Bridge, and Hills 10, 22, 65 . Nolan's description of "The Arizona Territory" in 1969 as the "war's bloodiest arena" is apt as my unit spent many long weeks humping that hideous area and lost many Marines to snipers, booby-traps, incoming, ambushes, and sapper attacks. I appreciate Nolan writing about combat during the Vietnam War that occurred after Tet '68 as many books and media accounts apparently thought the war ceased to exist after 1968. Nolan's motivation to write "about the war as the soldier saw it" and what the "average grunt experienced in Vietnam" is clearly expressed in his writing and I, as one of those summer of '69 "grunts," appreciate his efforts to show us as good Marines and soldiers caught up in a crappy situation who performed as well as any American "grunt" from past wars. I highly recommend this book and all of Nolan's subsequent books about the Vietnam War. Nolan books honor those of us who served as infantrymen in Vietnam at a time when so many others reviled our sacrifices and attempted to dishonor our service through exagerration, hyperbole, and tired cliche.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Keith Nolan has written many fine books providing excellent and factual information on various battles and places we fought during the Vietnam War. This book covers a period of time in Summer 1969 when our country and armed forces had been beaten down and insulted by the media, their government and the people. After many years of constant combat in a very tough climate fighting well equipped and trained enemy, many units, especially the Army Americal Division lacked the leadership, training, skills, and attitude to succeed. There were individuals who still carried on with honor and courage but for the most part the Army units lack the will and skills to win. Some elements of the USMC likewise had troops with bad attitudes and hate caused by the events following the death of Martin Luther King that ripped our country apart. Fortunately the USMC leadership still prevailed for the most part, although it was apparent they had some personality clashes at leadership levels, which I myself experienced during my 25 years service. As one officer described in the book - if your reporting senior doesn't like you there is nothing you can do that will be right. And leading troops in battle in the Arizona Territory of Vietnam is not a place to have petty disagreements.
Overall, the book is written with historical objectives and not to be a novel. It tells the truth and should be required reading for all in government who make decisions regarding sending our troops into battle, especially those in the White House and Defense Department. Who continue to make the same mistakes over and over.
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Format: Paperback
Research is accurate and detailed. I was a member of one of the participating units; and it happened as written. Intense and spellbounding book covering a dramatic fight for their lives of Army and Marine Corps units. Marine Corps Vietnam vets will think it should be mandatory reading. Semper Fi
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Format: Paperback
I know the author and the previous publisher seems sad that a good book did not even try to correct errors from the first publication. It was a truly great early study of Vietnam but fails to add the additional facts since discovered.
I was there.........
Joe "Doc" Kralich 4/31, 196th LIB 1969-1970
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is William Keith Nolan's first Vietnam War book, published in 1987 when he was in his mid-twenties. Do not expect the smooth writing style that characterizes other Nolan works, such as "Ripcord" and "Into Cambodia." The prose is often choppy and the narrative disjointed, making "Death Valley" a bit of a tough read. Moreover, there are too few maps, and what maps there are do not help the reader much, as he tries to follow the deployment and movement of the various Army and Marine units involved. Nevertheless, Nolan does a fine job of chronicling events, especially when it comes to providing a grunt's eye view of the firefights and ambushes endured by elements of the hapless Americal and 1st Marine Divisions. The NVA were strongly entrenched in tree lines and along ridges, while American units continually and tragically tried to root them out of the Hiep Duc Valley under a boiling sun and in stifling humidity. It gets depressing after awhile, reading how under-strength companies, exhausted and pushed to the limits of human endurance, get cut up again and again by hardcore NVA that know at all times where the Americans are and to where they're headed. All they had to do was lie in wait for just the right moment to open fire. After Tet of '68, North Vietnamese Army tactics shifted from concentrating on ARVN units to inflicting casualties on the Americans. They were playing to the American media and public opinion. There is tremendous heroism here among the citizen-soldiers who did not evade the draft but chose to do their duty. They endured for the sake of their buddies. If there is anything uplifting in the history of the battles described, it is the camaraderie of the soldiers that fought, bled, and died there.
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