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Lost Soldiers Mass Market Paperback – August 27, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
-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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Top Customer Reviews
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!
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book had its moments, but in the end, it was not the kind of book that offered me a blockbuster read. Mr. Read morePublished 24 days ago by Eddie Wannabee
This is a well written, well researched, and fascinating story which examines life in post war Viet Nam. I highly recommend it.Published 2 months ago by Samuel T. Wright
Because I much liked Webb's Fields of Fire < which I read 5 Mar 2001, and his A Sense of Honor, read 20 Mar 2001,and The Emperor's General, read 25 Jan 2004 and because I had a... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Schmerguls
One of the great authors. Webb develops characters as well as anyone. His knowledge of Vietnam allow him to weave a great story. Read morePublished 5 months ago by James Dellinger
I have just finished reading this novel and come away deeply impressed with this man. A highly decorated Vietnam Marine veteran, former Secretary of the Navy, then Deputy Secretary... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Lucille Bellucci