Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I met a Vietnam Vet my junior year in high school, he was missing an arm and one of his eyes. The movie Platoon had just come out. When asked if the events in Platoon really happened, his answer has stuck with me to this day. He said, "I believe that everything depicted in the movie was pretty accurate to events that did in fact occur. The only difference is that I don't believe it could have all happened to the same group of men." He then went on to say that the night the "Deer Hunter" played on national television, hundreds of Vietnam Vets committed suicide. It was his opinion that when Platoon eventually played on TV, it would be double.
Years later when I read "Nam" by Mark Baker, those words were with me. Did these stories really happen? I'm sure there are inaccuracies, but these are those who were there. Is there anyone who can stand up and say they didn't happen? It's unfortunate that we can't ask those who ended their lives after seeing a movie that was to some also fiction. Would they say these stories are untrue? If you are like me, you take their word for it and you have no choice but to be filled with a dozen different emotions, the majority of which are nothing close to joyous.
If you have any interest in what Vietnam was about to the individuals who served, you really should read this book. Here you will not hear about politics, or the impact of the television on public opinion. You won't get sound bites from presidents or celebrities. What you will get is a few hours spent with men and women who had to live in that place day after day. You will find that it wasn't always bombs and bullets they feared, but the very ticking of the clock itself. The incessant monotony that lulled them to sleep would then awake them with blinding flashes of their own deaths.
Some of these stories you will never be able to forget, nor should you. This is an event we would do well to remember in all its horrible detail. "Nam" goes a long way to ensure that forgetting is something we will never be able to do.
33 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
War is hell. To this end, author Mark Baker collects a vast series of comments from many of the brave men and women who answered the nation's call to duty. In doing so, Baker captures the terrible bloodshed of the Vietnam war.
The only negative factor of this book is that Baker is not a veteran. He is a journalist who did not serve in Vietnam. Consequently, a few of his snapshots are open to question. They certainly make for good copy but as a two tour USMC Vietnam vet I offer with absolute certainty that some parts of this book do not ring true.
Nevertheless, this is an important book. Baker reaches out to vets and allows them to bare their soul. Some sections of this book are horrible. Others reflect well on the quality of the American fighting man. All in all, any young kid who foolishly thinks war is glorious and that the battlefield is a place of honor should read this book. It will probably save his or her life.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on December 25, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book about ten years ago. I bought a paperback in a drugstore and read it several times over before retiring it to the book shelf. I just researched it here to find out if it is still in print. Too bad that it's not. I WOULD recommend this book to anyone wanting to read about the REAL Vietnam. Well worth special ordering. This book is better than any movie or novel about Vietnam that I have ever read. It helped me have a better understanding of Vietnam Vets and what they endured. At nearly 30 years now since Vietnam, this book should be among the textbooks for US History. Lots of violence and adult language, but history is history. Report it like it was, then we can learn from our mistakes. GREAT BOOK!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Note: Joann's husband here, just so you know it's not her.

I read "Nam" the first time probably 15 or 20 years ago. I'm guessing I probably liked it because I kept it in my collection. Today, about 60 pages into my first re-read, I started whiffing the unmistakable odor of bull turds. Something just didn't feel right. I continued reading. I became utterly convinced by page 70 that Mark Baker's book is pure fabrication.

I've got several reasons for this. First, as a veteran (mid to late '80s, Air Force): When I was in Korea in '87, one of my buddies was a Master Sergeant (Thumper was his name-o) who'd been in 19 years and whose first overseas tour in the USAF was Da Nang in 1969. I got to hear some of his Vietnam experiences. Thumper's stories mostly had the tone of someone who had been consistently and regularly freaked out by what had gone on around him while he was there. I've met a lot of other Vietnam vets, either on a job or at a VFW post, and on the rare occasions that they chose to speak about their experiences it was much the same. The overall sense I get from the Vietnam vets I've personally listened to is that they were freaked out by the ever-present possibility of random sudden death or dismemberment but were even more freaked out by frustration with the idiocy and incompetence of the people that were running the show. I never heard but one Vietnam vet ever speak about killing another human being and he said it felt both amazing and awful at the same time.

Second, as someone who's read a lot of books about Vietnam: Al Santoli's "Everything We Had" and "To Bear Any Burden" are, by far, the best examples of Vietnam oral history to be found. There are several reasons for this. Al Santoli is a Vietnam veteran himself. All the people that contributed to Santoli's books are identified by name and many also have pictures, taken in Vietnam while they were there, included. Santoli's contributors talk about the full experience, the Vietnamese people, the culture, the history, their worries about people back home...and they talk about the war with many, many acronyms and military references. And they're always referring to what date it was (or what season) when something happened. They talk about long periods of insufferable boredom and monotony broken by brief occasional bursts of combat. Contrast this with Baker's book. Baker's not a vet. The "people" that contributed to Baker's book are NOT identified by name or picture. Baker's contributors talk about their physical experiences only. They don't seem to have any empathy. They seem one-dimensional. And they never mention any dates or seasons.

Finally, as a writer (yeah, I write sometimes): Just about a quarter of the way into "Nam", I started realizing that all of Baker's characters are getting their planes shot at as they're landing in Vietnam. They all seem to run off the plane and try to take cover (because Charlie is attacking them in broad daylight all the time). Each character seems to introduce only one piece of military jargon per segment. Every segment also seems to contain some kind of Vietnam cliché ("They called in Spooky and he was standin' on column of tracers", "You could only keep ears on a necklace for a few days because they'd start to rot", -- you get the picture). Baker tries to write a couple of these characters as if they were black but he can't quite keep their patois consistent and believable. They both end up sounding like black caricatures (They sho'ly does). There are other oddities. There's the 80 "mike-mike" mortar. 'Scuse me, but it's an 81mm mortar. There's both of the "black" characters being rushed immediately, and in much confusion, directly upon their ground-fire threatened landings, up to the Siege of Khe Sanh and the beginning of the Tet Offensive respectively. Another guy, although not intended to be "black", gets hit with "incoming" as soon as he arrives at his unit. They all seem to refer to the heat, presence of bugs and the smell of burning feces. Everyone seems to be going everywhere on planes. There should be more helicopters. They all seem to have some sort of clothing mishap along the way too. And it all seems to happen in similar order. Real life is more random. Baker seems to be writing the same story over and over again, making slight (ever so slight) changes to the details.

I'm mostly just shooting from the hip here. I could dig back into this travesty and give a more detailed and better quoted analysis. But why bother? The bottom line is that Baker's "Nam" just rings hokey to me. But, hey, Baker covers this in his introduction when he says, quite clearly: "This book is not the Truth about Vietnam."

Do yourself a favor, don't waste your time on this phony crap. Read any of the following instead: The previously mentioned books by Al Santoli, "The Grunts" by Charles R. Anderson, "Once A Warrior King" by David Donovan, or "Chickenhawk" by Robert Mason. You'll be glad you did.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I served as a Forward Observer with the 9th Infantry Division in IV Corps during the Spring of '69 Offensive during which time 'we' engaged Viet Cong, North Vietnamese Regulars and at times Viet Cong who were led by a Mercenary. I have stated the aforementioned as a background to my comments in regard to this book. Since 1975 I have become an avid reader of books written by troops and/or Officers who were 'there in Combat' as well as those who profess to have been in the field and experienced combat in Vietnam.
This book is a sum total of B/S and made up B/S stories I heard or read about in fictional accounts of instances and each account or narrative is written for the basic shock value of 'look how bad we really were!' The majority of the stories I read in this sham of a book; I heard about prior to going to Vietnam or since I came back from the field.
Most of the stories such as those in this worthless book are made up by examples of the other 15 Million who claim to have served in combat in Vietnam when only 2.5 Million or so were actually in a Combat Zone with far fewer than that engaged in actual combat.
Each war has had it's share of 'misfits' which reflect the makeup of our own society and those of us who served with distinction subscribe to the belief that those same individuals should be in prisons and not be free to perform atrocities upon society even if it is under the guise of a war/combat situation.
To kill the enemy is basic to a war/combat situation which I did witness as well as take part in.
To embellish and perpetuate lies for the sake of shock value as Baker has exibited his talent to do in this book is a disservice to those of us who served with honor and who continuted to serve the United States with honor after our discharge from Active Duty.
For those of you who wish to question my credibility; I served with distinction and am highly decorated. By 'highly decorated' I am not referring to 'I was there medals!'
I purchased this book for 50 cents from a used book mart. I would have been better off saving my 50 cents and given it to a bum on the street panhandling.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
From the books I've read on Vietnam, this is second only to 'Dispatches' by Michael Herr. This book was one I could not put down. Really gives you a feel for what it was like to be there - because it's all told by those who were there. Some tragic parts, some amusing, definitely highly recommended for anyone with an interest in the subject
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book was a great!
I can't say I enjoyed reading it though because a lot of the things mentioned in this book are horrifying, e.g. 'But the guy who tried to kill me was still alive and they peeled him like you'd peel an apple...' you just don't enjoy reading about this kind of thing unless your wierd!
Once i started reading it though I just couldn't put it down, I cried, I smiled and I felt guilty at one point. The horror the men and women had to suffer, was trying to be covered up by the government and pictured by the media as 'U.S. G.I.'s kill thousands of innocent vietnamese'.
I feel sorry for one man imparticular in the book who saw his friends get blown away by a shoeshine boy, this was terrible!
I liked this book though because it was not a boring book where the author goes around asking people of a high rank what they thought of the war he went and asked the normal everyday G.I.'s.
Everybody who has a chance to buy or loan this book should, it is marvellous!!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
As a child, my grandfather often talked about WWII. It was often taught to elementary school children like me. But none of my teachers would ever discuss the Vietnam War. As a child, I was very curious. So I bought this book in Phoenix in 1982. I read it and was horrified by war. But it reflects a history that was often hidden at the time. It seems that the Vietnam War was often shrouded in resentment throughout much of the 1970s and early 1980s. But after the Vietnam War Memorial was dedicated (with survivors such as POW Alvarez and General Westmoreland), it became more open for discussion. This book is perfect for reading about the soldier's perspectives from the front line. It is also very harsh in it's description with real heartbreak in many of the stories. But it is highly educational for those who did not experience the war and are from a younger generation.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
Baker has put together a collection of sensational comments and stories that may or may not be true. Most of them seem to be accounts by people who had shaky moral compasses to begin with, put in situations where they could freefall to degeneracy without restraint. Although the outrageous behavior described may have occurred at times, it was by no means normal, accepted or encouraged by professional soldiers. Reckless murder and mayhem described in this book would not be tolerated or go unpunished as a rule. There was a special place in Vietnam for outlaws when they were caught called "LBJ" -- Long Binh Jail. It seems to me that Baker picked the worst offenders he could find just to sell a book. To make readers think this was the "real" Vietnam during the war and not a collection of isolated events -- presuming they are even true -- does a disservice to readers and to the 99.9% of the three million men and women who served honorably, with dignity and humanity under the most difficult circumstances in Vietnam. And yes, I am a Vietnam veteran.
66 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
I am a child of the 80s, and have never had anything nice to say about war. I have always felt that war, and those people associated with it, were of some less intelligent class, a group of humans stupid or inhumane enough to do what is done in war. This novel gave me some very needed perspective, and endowed me with a sense of respect for the people who go into war for our country (and others, for that matter). The novel, comprised of first-person accounts, reads like fiction, though every word is true. The message is important and relevant, and the pages fly by. I highly recommend.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed

Cops
Cops by Mark Baker (Mass Market Paperback - March 1, 1989)

The Boys of '67: Charlie Company's War in Vietnam (General Military)
The Boys of '67: Charlie Company's War in Vietnam (General Military) by Andrew A. Wiest (Paperback - January 21, 2014)
$13.38
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.