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Hamburger Hill Paperback – December 6, 1999


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Product Details

  • Series: Brutal Battle for Dong AP Bia, May 11-20, 1969
  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Presidio Press (December 6, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0891417060
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891417064
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #711,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"You may not be able to read this... I am writing it in a hurry. I see death coming up the hill..." -letter home from a soldier on Hamburger Hill; "[Zaffiri] skillfully blends his narrative with anecdotal material. It is the many chilling, sometimes poignant, vignettes that make the addition of this volume to any soldier's bookshelf a must." -Military Review; "Vietnam combat veteran Samuel Zaffiri... presents the action and decision making at Ap Bia in remarkably forceful detail." -Vietnam Magazine; Eighth book in the series of ibooks editions originally published by Presidio Press, the foremost publisher of Military History in the U.S. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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This is one of the best books I've read about war.
brazos49
Hamburger Hill is a great book that captures the agony of storming a fortified mountain for no apparent reason 10,000 miles from home.
Amazon Customer
Having done my share of combat, this book is a close as it comes to relaying the emotions of combat at the feet of the reader.
khesanhvet68

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Hamburger Hill is a great book that captures the agony of storming a fortified mountain for no apparent reason 10,000 miles from home. The battle itself was one of the biggest battles of the war, and still resonates with the public to this day. This book helps us understand why. The book starts off with a great lesson on the Ashau valley and why it was so important to both sides and takes on an almost mythical status. In 1966 US forces are knocked out of the valley and the NVA quickly turn it into a massive base area. In 1968 thousands of NVA left this valley sancutary and conquered Hue among other places. The American high command fresh from the amazing victories during Tet finally have the resources to take on the dreaded Ashau Valley. The stage is set for the famed 101st Airborne (battling bastards of Bastogne) to assault into the valley and clean out the NVA once and for all. On May 10 1969 the Americans landed in the valley in force. On May 11 the first contact was made on the slopes of Dong Ap Bia mountain an obscure piece of real estate turned into a honeycombed fortress by the NVA. Over the next 10 days undermanned American troops launch wave after determined wave to knock an entrenced NVA Regiment from the mountain. The battle is fierce, defintely among the toughest fought by American troops in the entire war. Finally the decimated Americans kick the heck out of the NVA and claim the mountain. Once again the 101st has lived up to its reputation as an elite unit. Earlier in the war a victory like this might have meant something but by 1969 America had grown tired on losing its young men in droves and was angered at the losses suffered on this obscure mountain now called Hamburger Hill.Read more ›
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Mike Serrano on February 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
Absolutely an outstanding and accurate account of the fight for Hamburger Hill. Yes, the 187th bore the brunt of the battle but I would have liked to have seen a more in depth account of what confronted the 506th as they ascended Hill 937. I was there with Bravo Company, 1/506th. After reading the book I was left with the feeling that the entire 506th was eluded to as not doing everything they could to assist the 187th in a timely manner. That is the farthest thing from the truth. I can only speak to what Bravo ran into and it was the most intense combat I experienced during my whole tour of duty. First and foremost we did not have an experienced combat CO. Our regular CO, Capt. Erickson was on R & R and a rear area CO with no combat time under his belt at all came out in his place until he returned. Another point was the fact that our resupply {when we were lucky to get it} was done mostly by fly-bys because we could not get a Huey to touch down safely. Also we did not have the luxury of replacements {cherries or not} to take the place of our WIA's and KIA's. Another major point was that we lost almost all of our third platoon with the exception of a handful of men. Till the day I left Country, the third platoon was never reconstituted. So yes, at the start of the tenth day, Bravo was a demoralized company. Most of us had no clue at all what our marching orders were. We just continued to fight and push our way up the Hill. We did the absolute best we could with what we had.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Huwaryu on March 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
I read this book recently after having seen the film version many years ago (an excellent Viet Nam film, better than Platoon or Full Metal Jacket -- and TRUE). Zaffiri recounts carefully the actions leading up to the operation, gives amazing details on the NVA actions as well as the American, and shows the utter futility of the operation as well as the determination of those who followed orders to take the hill.
The descriptions of what it was like for the grunts on the ground (insects, sweat, athlete's foot, snipers, friendly fire, etc.) and of parking a helicopter into a hot landing zone (in the middle of enemy positions) were as fascinating as they were terrifying. Ranks up there with Professor Ambrose's descriptions of soldier's experiences in WWII. Zaffiri also gets instant credibility as a combatant in Viet Nam. He knows what he's talking about, and it comes out without being judgmental or arrogant. Even gives a breakdown of what constitutes various military fighting units, and a small history of the 101st.
Don't be fooled: the Americans [...] lost many casualties over a nine-day, ten-assault period, suffered incredibly at the hands of equally determined and expertly trained NVA and sappers (they tied themselves to trees...virtual suicide!), and at the end of the engagement gave it right back up to the enemy by just abandoning the position.
For those who experienced it, there was no victory, but no shame, either. An excellent book on so many levels. Hawks and Doves alike can get something important out of it. Reads well if you're a military buff or not. Read the book, then rent the movie. In military parlance, it's "Outstanding."
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By C. Thornton on December 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
Usually you think of WWII Marines when it comes to bloody frontal assaults on fortified positions. This book proves that thesis wrong. Samuel Zaffiri describes in careful detail how two battalions of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division launched repeated attacks on dug-in NVA forces atop a mountain called Dong Ap Bia in Vietnam's infamous A Shau Valley. The 101st took so many casualties in nine days of ferocious combat that the mountain was dubbed Hamburger Hill. I think Zaffiri has done an excellent job researching the fight, then explaining how and why events unfolded. The only weakness is a relative lack of enemy sources -- understandable if not ideal. He makes up for that lack by providing detailed accounts from interviews with several dozen U.S. survivors and many details from official records. This book illustrates a controversial facet of that complex war. Once captured at a horrific cost, Hamburger Hill was soon abandoned and reoccupied by the North Vietnamese. This is a good book for anyone trying to understand the war and America's ultimate failure in Vietnam. okiquit@hotmail.com
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