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Fallen Angels
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am a sophomore at Clark Magnet High School and I just finished reading Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers. As a high school student I have to tell you that this is the best book that I read this year. This is also one of the best books that I have enjoyed in a very long time. I got the book from our school library and I did not think that it was going to be this good. I just checked it out and told myself that it is just a book and its going to be just like the other 90% of the books that I have read and that it is going to be boring. Little did I know that I enjoyed this book. This book is written so close to the heart. Fallen Angels if about the Vietnam War and how it was actually going on and the real truth behind the way the war was going on. This is also a story about friendship between soldiers and other personnel from the army. This book was written in so much detail that you think that you are there in the battle fighting with the enemy. This story is about the main character whose name is Richard Perry and he enlists in the army. There he meets a friend who later becomes his closest friend and his name is Peewee. At the army Peewee and Perry become close friends and they meet some other friends who are Lobel, Johnson, Brummer and their tight friendship. They get into many battles with the Vietnamese and end up losing their friends. This book shows how much of an effect the Vietnam War had on the soldiers and how they try to stick together through all the hardships. I would recommend this book to war-story fans and war-story lovers that are mature. Even though I am a little young to be reading this book it was still interesting to me. Fallen Angels contains some very graphic language that I do not think will be appropriate to teenagers under the age of seventeen. So if you like war-stories this will be a great story to start reading.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Fallen Angels is a tale of five soldiers coming from different parts of the States to serve their country in the Vietnam War which is taking place in the 1960's.The book's main focus lays on a soldier by the name of Richie Perry a young kid out of the poor streets of Harlem (New York). Perry didn't have any intention to go to the army, he preferred college, but after not getting in he was left with no other choice. While in Nam the soldiers face racial conflicts between themselves that distracts them from the war. While having to fight off constant conflict barriers Sergeant Simpson, Lieutenant Carroll, and others are making an effort to come up with various tactics to defeat the Congs, as Peewee says. The characters must also deal with the physical abuse they go through while still having to participate in combat. The book in general deals with issues concerning violence and racism. Although the story wonders off into long spans of dialogue, it still keeps the reader entertained with its action-oriented themes. It contains inappropriate language for younger audiences, which is spread throughout the book.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book because it is an optional novel for me to teach to my sophomores. I wasn't expecting much. I had it labelled in my mind as a "Vietnam War" book, a "boy's" book, and a "Black experience" book. What I found was a gripping novel about war and compassion, humanity and the humane. It was so great I read the whole book in one five hour sitting. Meyers uses humor at the exact moments it is needed, deftly manipulating the reader's emotions, and the character portrayals are so vivid I had the entire book cast with popular actors within a few pages! This is one of the best books I've read all year, and I'm definitely going to use it in the classroom!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2001
Format: School & Library Binding
Fallen Angels is about a soldier named Perry and his adventures in Vietnam. I thought this was a great book and I couldn't put it down. I was assigned to read this book, but I read it even in my spare time for fun. There is a lot of action when Perry and his squad go into battle. There was a lot of history about the Vietnam War. This kept me interested the whole time. There are a couple of points where the story gets a little weird when Perry is thinking about his feelings about the war and killing people. He seems to be really depressed and moody and really wanting to go home. He wishes he never joined the army. But it helped me understand how a soldier must have felt about the war.
I would recommend this book to anyone, especially fans of history and action books. One last thing make, sure that you have a lot of spare time before reading Fallen Angles, because you won't want to put it down.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Fallen Angels - A Look at What Life Really Means
Walter Dean Myers' Fallen Angels is a well-written tale of not only the tragedies of the Vietnam War and of the experiences of the typical black American soldier, but also an open-minded view of the realities of precious life and courageous death. The main character in the book, Richard Perry, is a young man fresh out of a high school in Harlem. When dreams of going to college and playing basketball don't turn out as he'd planned, Perry joins the army, and is sent to the front line in Vietnam. The rest of the story describes his life in the army: his arrival in the foreign country, the meeting of his squad, and the building of friendships and camaraderie. The dialogue between the soldiers is realistic, sometimes grotesque, and often humorous. Myers also vividly depicts the battles Perry fights in, using exquisite language so to bring the reader into the battle itself with the soldiers. He uses his expertise to show the pain felt by Perry and his friends. I do not mean physical pain alone, but pain of the aching heart and wandering mind, the tired body and longing soul. One example of such description is found after one particular battle when Perry says, " I had stood trembling in fear and waiting, and had run in near panic for the choppers and hoped and prayed for a few minutes more of life" (Myers 141). Another example is found during another battle, when Perry tries desperately to think of other things besides the war he is in. He remembers his Harlem home, saying, " It would be day and the park would be filled with kids, their screaming and laughter would slide along the light beams into the helter skelter world of monkey bars and swings" ( 246). For me, this book is one of great power and insight. It brought me deeper into the world we live in, a world of prejudice, violence, and love. It took me back to days before my time, teaching me about world history, as well as the story of a most interesting human being. One of the things I think I enjoy the most about this book is its display of humanity found in the depths of war. The feelings shared by Perry about his family and his life back in the World show compassion most people would probably not expect from a trained soldier. The story is like an elongated parable, teaching the reader a new sense of morality about warfare and violence. I'm not saying that these things are moral in themselves, but rather that love, tenderness and virtue can be found behind the scenes in the hearts of the men who fight in a war. It is for this reason that I highly disagree with the reviewer from Topeka, Kansas, who leads readers of his review to believe that he threw his copy of the book away because it was so bad. While it may not always be historically accurate by way of the use of guns or grenades, it is after all a work of fiction, and so is expected to quaver in its depiction of the war. It is an excellent piece of work; a product both entertaining and educational to read. I highly recommend you take the time and read Fallen Angels.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Fallen Angels is about a dramatic epic about a young Afro-American male realizing that his life has changed by a simple signature of his name. I began reading this book not too long ago and really understood what the story meant. I agree with another person's review that this book gave me much information about the Vietnam War that I had not known. Being a Vietnamese-American myself, I grew up having a different perspective of the Vietnam War. Having never read a war story before, I chose Fallen Angels to see if it could grab my interest. As I began reading I saw that Walter Dean Myers used very descriptive language that made me feel like I was there myself. A metaphor that Myers uses is "there were shadows all around me, laughing jerking and mocking". His language truly a phenomenal gift. He used the names and words that people used in that time period such as "Vietcong", "Charlies" and, "hooch". He also used vivid details and description to show the harsh and cruel ways that the war dealt with people. Myers quoted " They tied them to a tree and ripped out their guts and left them there still alive". The story is based on a young seventeen-year old African-American boy from the streets of Harlem that has just finished high school and wants to attend college. But, his dreams of being a college student is crushed and Perry had to find another alternative, which was to enlist in the army. Perry is sent to the war. Along the way, Perry meets Peewee, an aggressive individual that becomes a close friend of his. Together, they overcome many harsh situations in the story that test their abilities. Through the book, war, gunfire, and the killing of people occur one after another. Perry and his friends are put to the test when they battle with the hated Vietcongs in which they go through seeing their friends and fellow soldiers die. As the story progresses, Perry and his friends realize that the have more dangerous assignments than the whites. They even wonder why they are even in the war helping their country. In conclusion, Fallen Angels captures the reader's imagination and puts he or she in the story with Perry and his friends.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am a 15 year old "jock" that usually hates reading. but with this book i have turned into a book worm. I mean this book is incredible, for the first time in my life i finnished a book in less than a week. It's a story of a young man trying to find out who he is while fighting in a war. I dunno what else to say. it's just plain awesome.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Richard Perry is a17-year-old African-American from Harlem, New York, who joins the Army and ends up going to Vietnam. He leaves the sometimes-rough streets of Harlem for the horrors, heartbreak and camaraderie he will find in Southeast Asia. What he sees will make him grow up quickly. While this is an African-American's point of view, in reality it is a story about the universal soldier. There's profanity in this book but this is the way many soldiers talk. This novel won the Coretta Scott King award and is a very personal account for the author who also grew up in Harlem and was in the army as a young man.

This novel deserves to be called a classic. It is a definitive war novel of that generation as was the Red Badge of Courage and All Quiet on the Western Front during their eras. This is a well-written and well-researched novel about the young men who went to Vietnam. Myers captures in detail the fear and realities of combat and the universal thoughts of all soldiers--that of staying alive and going home. Teens will learn more about this time in history from this book than from many non-fiction sources.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers, is a deep, exhilarating war story about Richard Perry, a young recruit along with his fellow soldiers as they endure the horrors of war in Vietnam. I recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of war stories. This book is action packed, has a colorful cast of characters, and displays the horrors of war vividly.

This book is exciting. The action scenes are descriptive and will make your blood boil. Violence is not sugar-coated. Richie and his fellow soldiers are regularly injured. The action is not glorified. This is illustrated in a skirmish that did not end well. It turned out that the enemy was a stealth platoon, and Richie had killed some of his own friends. Killings are graphic. Scenes are frantic and Richie has many brushes with death. Luck even saves him, when an enemy soldier's gun jams at point-blank range.

The characters are very realistic. They talk like soldiers, with sentences littered with expletives, and act like soldiers, constantly dreaming of home. Each soldier is different. Peewee is the joker, and is Richie's closest friend in battle. Brew is the praying one of the group. Richie is portrayed well. He has a family, just like every other soldier, but is unsure about how close he really is to his mother.

War isn't toned down for younger readers. For some, this may be a disadvantage. Deaths are gruesome. No side is shown to be any more "good" than the other side. Vietnam is displayed in detail from the food, to the diseases, to the lay of the land. Soldiers talk about things that are personal. They show every emotion, from bitter anger and hate, to romance, or something like it. At the end, Richie's romance, Judy Duncan dies. He mourns and dreams of what she felt like. He remembers the faces of all of the people killed, only to have their bodies buried or burned.

Frankly, when it comes to war stories, this story is at the top of the list. If you can stomach its vivid depictions of war, pick this book up now.

J. Bowman
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is about a nineteen year old Richie Perry, who is ablack high-school graduate from Harlem. He travels to Vietnam afteronly basic army training. Perry had always dreamed of going to collegeand becoming a writer, but his father abandoned the family yearsbefore he even had a chance to continue with his dream. Perry thenwent and enlisted in the army because he could not afford to go tocollege, and he wanted to help support his younger brother, Kenny. Acouple months earlier during his basic training, Perry had messed uphis knee playing basketball during his training, but by chance therewas a delay in the processing of his medical profile. Therefore, hehad no choice but to continue his training. His captain had assuredhim that he would be sent home without ever having to fight in combatwhen his medical profile is finally processed. This describes ourbasis for the story. It then illustrates the hardships that he and hiscrew had to overcome. Not just during battle on the field but againstthe US Army itself.
Fallen Angels illustrated the tragic irony ofturning teenage boys into killers and cannon fodder for a war thatthey don't really understand, nor had a chance to get out of. The bookalso illustrates very clearly the divisions of race and class inAmerican society during the Vietnam War. Most of the soldiers of thewar fell largely on the working class and minority youth. Collegestudents, largely from white, middle-class backgrounds, were exemptfrom the draft. However, people like Perry, who were to poor forcollege, chose to enlist in the army. The irony is that the men whowere fighting were the ones that didn't have the privileges andluxuries of the America's, and yet they were sent to war to defend theAmerican ideals against Communism, to fight for thecapitalistic-dependent American Dream. These soldiers got sent into awar that was constantly contradicting itself, and for what?... Evenwhen enlisted in the army they were not treated as soldiers but aslower class soldiers. Racial killings amongst soldiers were verycommon during Vietnam. Even though the war with Vietnam was over theracial war was still far from over.
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