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Lost Soldiers Mass Market Paperback – August 27, 2002


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Lost Soldiers + Fields of Fire + I Heard My Country Calling: A Memoir
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Dell (August 27, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440240913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440240914
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #568,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Webb's cultural and political portrayal of Vietnam 25 years after the war's end is delivered with such bold strokes and magical detail that it really doesn't matter that the plot itself is relegated to the backseat. This is a highly personal and empathetic look at today's Vietnam, a land of misery and inequity, yet one still vibrantly alive. The story follows the experiences of Brandon Condley, an ex-Marine whose job it is to find missing American soldiers, dead or alive. Condley is trying to track down Theodore Deville, an army grunt who not only deserted his unit in 1969 and killed a fellow serviceman, but then joined the ranks of the enemy. Condley is convinced Deville is still alive, operating somewhere in southeast Asia's underground economy. Webb introduces a rich cast of supporting characters as Condley pursues his quarry across Vietnam, Australia, the former Soviet Union and Thailand. Among the most delicately etched is Dzung, a former South Vietnamese officer now relegated, like thousands of others on the losing side, to a menial station in life, one that he and his family have no hope of escaping. Such characters, as well as the highly textured mood and atmosphere that Webb creates, tend to further eclipse the main narrative and shift the focus to the moral consequences and social fallout of the war. This detailed, lovingly drawn portrait of Vietnam reveals a sad, tortured country that has never recovered from the horrifying events of a quarter-century ago. Major print and radio advertising. (Sept. 4)Forecast: Webb (Fields of Fire) is no stranger to the bestseller lists; endorsements from heavy hitters like Sen. John McCain will help put him there once again.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Some of the memories were horrible. A few of them were good. But all of them had meaning. Thus begins a gripping tale of mystery and intrigue set in present-day Vietnam. The center of this fine novel is the search for two army deserters who led U.S. troops into ambush and then hid in North Vietnam after the hostilities ceased. Like the best of such tales, however, the novel offers more than the resolution of a mystery: it also tells a poignant story of a love that might have been and of friendship across partisan lines and is rich with the sounds and smells of its foreign setting. Former Secretary of the Navy and Assistant Secretary of Defense Webb (also the author of the best-selling Fields of Fire and other novels) has used his familiarity with the Far East to evoke the tangled net of loyalties and enmities bequeathed to a troubled country by a savage history of conflict. This exceptionally well-written book tells a gripping tale; enthusiastically recommended.
-David Keymer, Zayed Univ., Dubai
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Webb tells a great story.
Francis A. doherty
The plot works well given the setting and the characters. and the book holds the reader's interest right through the last page.
Joseph A. Hines
The characters in this book together provide a window into the aftermath of the Viet Nam war.
Alan L. Chase

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Joseph on September 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover
WOW - what book did "Anchorage, AK" read? After finishing this book, I could not wait to way in with my thoughts.
I first became a James Webb fan with "Fields of Fire". I am not of his generation but I knew instantly that I was hooked on this writer as I finished that book and was left with a real sense of loss. His vivid details of the war and the culture of Viet Nam captured me and left me with a desire to learn more.
He has again captured me with "Lost Soldiers" as I felt like I have picked up 40 years later with the Viet Namese culture, with out missing a beat. My urge to learn was more than satisfied. I felt as though I was in Viet Nam with Brandon Condley. I felt the sadness and loneliness of the limited life of his cyclo driver, Dzung. The political manuverings of all the chess pieces (characters) was riveting and you know that all this was written with a great deal of accuracy. The plot is fresh and the insight into the history and culture of Viet Nam made Condley leap off the pages as he introduces you to unforgettable characters. How can you not feel for Condley and his sense of love for Viet Nam? I could vividly see Van, Colonel Pham's daughter. A beautiful women who can taste her freedom but is torn by her deep sense of love for her culture and heritage. A product of her past and Viet Nam's present. Colonel Pham is a well written character who's past combined with his current activities had me craving to know more of the inner workings of the government.
As a side note, the good humor of Condley's sidekick, Professor Muir, is classic Webb. This war hero sprinkles humor in all of his books (something I have always wanted to see more of) and does not dissappoint you here. Muir is a classic, a wonderful break from the tension that Webb creates in this powerful, beautifully written novel.
Highly recommend, has all the earmarks of a "National Best Seller" - Enjoy the read!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Francis J. West on October 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
In 1966-67, I worked with the Marines at Fort Page, CAP Lima One, south of Chulai. It was a village of contradictions, of beer, peanuts, duck eggs and laughter during the day, and sudden firefights on the trails and among the hootches once the sun went down.
Author James Webb has captured the contradictory soul of that beautiful, tragic country, the conflict between an archaic communist system and the true character of the people, between a system which doesn't work and a people who never stop working.
His descriptions rival those of Conrad and, because they are fresher, are better than those of Graham Greene. In fact, he has written the book which explains Vietnam and the fascination it holds for those of us who fought there. He tells an adventure story which is a story of the soul.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By S. Annand on March 31, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
James Webb has written a number of books of varied topics. Unlike some Vietnam veteran authors who seem stuck on Vietnam, Webb can certainly shift gears.
Former Marine Brandon Conley is the protagonist. In a word, Conley reflects what Webb is really like, at least in my humble opinion as one who has met him. I merely mention this as I think this is an important point to consider. Webb is fluent in Vietnamese, just like the character (alter-ego) Conley, he is steeped in the culture of the Vietnamese, and he does indeed offer prayers for deceased former enemies as in the book. In short, he is a complex character.
The understanding of Vietnamese culture is what comes out in the book. Yes the plot takes a back seat, but must we be so picky? Many of the incidents in the book actually took place during Webb's numerous visits to Vietnam. For instance, the North Vietnam driver really did turn to him when the officer left and speak pidgeon English to him, praising America. Webb thought it so great that he wrote that incident into the book. And Webb truly seems struck, as in the book when he offers a proper prayer in front of the family for their deceased family members. Webb describes in meticulous detail how the photos are arranged. The different generations, as exhibited by Colonel Pham and his daughter Van, who wants freedom and modernity, is what is truly happening in Vietnam
Also of interest are the descriptions of the former ARVN soldiers and the social discrimination directed against them. As a form of punishment, no former ARVN soldier is allowed to rise above menial labor. They are all placed in a ghetto in Saigon (or Ho Chi Minh City) so they can be watched.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By brazos49 VINE VOICE on August 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a very fine book - a 5 star book by a first class author. The story, centered around the search for remains of Americans left in Vietnam, is intriguing and the characters are engaging. The plot is well developed, even if it does come out of the blocks a little slowly.
Having said all that, let me water my praise down a little with the following: I am a huge James Webb fan. He's one of my favorite authors and I've greatly enjoyed all of his books. I looked forward to getting this book, particularly after his last book, The Emperor's General, which I thought was spectacular. As good as it is, I have to rate Lost Soldiers as the least of Webb's books; not nearly in the class of A Sense of Honor, Fields of Fire or The Emperor's General, and not quite as good as A Country Such As This or Something to Die For. Maybe it's the story, which just didn't flow as well as the others and which had a few over the top features that didn't seem needed. Or maybe the characters weren't quite as interesting as those in prior works, but whatever it was, I feel there's a good chance you'll be a little disappointed if you expect this book to be as good as the author's earlier work.

In spite of the prior points, I write this to praise the book, not bury it. I heartily recommend that you read it. If James Webb never again writes anything better than this, I'll still gladly read it all.
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