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The 13th Valley Paperback – February 15, 1999


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Paperback, February 15, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"There have been a number of excellent books about Vietnam. . .but none has managed to communicate in such detail the day-to-day pain, discomfort, frustration and exhilaration of the American military experience in Vietnam." --Joe Klein, The New York Times Book Review

"The novel about the Vietnam War. . .Del Vecchio has constructed a classic war novel, a complex and frightening book, that gets it right." --Chicago Sun Times

"An important and distinctly American book." --William Plummer, Newsweek

From the Publisher

Praise for The 13th Valley, a Finalist for the American Book Award:

"There have been a number of excellent books about Vietnam...but none has managed to communicate in such detail the day-to-day pain, discomfort, frustration and exhilaration of the American military experience in Vietnam." --Joe Klein, The New York Times Book Review

"The novel about the Vietnam War...Del Vecchio has constructed a classic war novel, a complex and frightening book, that gets it right." --Chicago Sun-Times

"An important and distinctly American book." --William Plummer, Newsweek

"The first Vietnam combat novel to demand--and deserve--comparison with Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead." --Philadelphia Enquirer

"The 13th Valley written with straightforward, authoritative, unadorned prose and merciless intelligence is not just the best Vietnam War novel to date, but the smartest." --C.D.B. Bryan, author of Friendly Fire

"The 13th Valley is dynamite! This is the most sensuously honest interpretation of the Vietnam experience I've ever read." --Al Santoli, author of Everything We Had

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (February 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312200811
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312200817
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #838,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Doug Vaughn HALL OF FAME on May 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
If one were compiling a list of great novels dealing with the Viet Nam War, I believe that John M. Del Vecchio's harsh and gripping novel of infantry combat, The 13th Valley, would have a high place on that list. It is one of those novels that seems so realistic, both in its presentation of character and in the action (which literally wears the reader down just as it does the soldiers who are at the heart of the story). Unlike the view of Viet Nam taken in such books as Stone's Dog Soldiers and the movie "Apocalypse Now", this story doesn't dwell on the fringe craziness of drugs, secret missions or exaggerated characters for the sake of social commentary. It focuses on the lives of grunts in the bush and how they are transformed by the harsh reality of repeatedly facing and delivering death as their daily job. The universal questions don't have to be asked. They are implicit in the life or death struggle that Del Vecchio recounts so well. This is a stunning book; harsh, gritty, realistic, touching and disturbing. I you thought there was anything romantic or "exciting" about this war, you won't after experiencing this book. I highly recommend it.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By John D. Costanzo on January 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you want to be picked up and dropped in the jungles of Vietnam in the middle of a major operation, then read this book. It was one of the best Vietnam War books I have ever read. Written with both detail and compassion for all involved, it is a brilliant portrayal of the soldiers who fought in the "boonies" during that horrible war. Unlike many Vietnam novels that concentrate heavily on the psychological effects of fighting an invisible enemy, this novel is also about the military aspects of the war, and makes the often-overlooked point that our military had some brilliant successes brought about by the heroic actions of the thousands of valiant soldiers who fought the battles. I highly recommend this dramatic and finely written novel.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By S. Pollock on July 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
I have read many military fiction and non-fiction books and none I have encountered present a more poignant and lucid picture of war. The characters are wonderfully brought to life.

It does a fantastic job of illustrating the experience of jungle warfare (and all the horror it entails). The march of the "boonie-rats" through the valley is exciting and described in magnificent detail. You really feel that you are marching along with them. The battles are vivid and intense.

It is also a touching love story with keen insight on romantic relationships.

Most importantly, it attempts to answer the philosophical question of how and why familial/racial/global conflict happens. It does this in a brilliant way and comes up with some TRULY FASCINATING ideas.

Read James Webb's "Fields of Fire" for another illuminating account of the Vietnam war.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Moss on January 26, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author unabashedly states in his "Author's Note" that Vietnam was "the most moral war this nation has ever engaged." There are merits to that view in spite of "those in the media, in the arts, and in education who continue to perpetrate the cliches" (p. xi). This is not the venue for a debate on that topic, but if you read this book, you will understand the camaraderie and heroism of the men who heeded their country's call and fought there. The novel chronicles thirteen days of Company A, 7th Battalion, 402nd Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. As you hump with the boonierats, you will come to understand the psychology of survival that men like Egan, Cherry, Doc, Jax, and Lt. Brooks employ to keep from going insane: "Don't mean nothin. Drive on." The author's turbo-charged prose plants you right there in the Khe Ta Laou Valley up in I Corps. You feel the elephant grass slice your hands as you move into the valley. If you read before bed, you may wake up in the middle of the night imagining that you're being attacked by insatiable blood-sucking leeches crawling into your poncho. The descriptive language alone is a tour de force, while the characters seem so real they materialize before you as you read. The maps help you keep track of unit positions and movements, and the "Activity Reports" at the end of some chapters aptly summarize the military activity of each day in the valley. I just finished reading this novel today, and already I'm going back and re-reading certain passages that I liked. This is the way Vietnam was. The language of the grunts is authentic. I know. I was there during the time frame within which the story takes place. You can go there, too, if you read this novel. In the beginning chapter, Cherry asks a clerk, "Oh-deuce?" The clerk responds, "Yeah, Man. Oh-deuce. Four-oh-deuce. That's where you goin, cherry. That's where you goin." I challenge you to follow along.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amanda on November 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
As a student in High School we had guest speakers from the Vietnam War come in and speak to us. They had mentioned that "The 13th Valley" was the most accurate account of what really happened in the war. I had never read another war book before, and thought that this may ake as an interesting read for our class. I was awe stricken. The detail and accuracy amazed me, and I couldn't wait to pick up another War Novel. I have now read multiple War Novels, and nothing compares. I have passed my copy around the school to teachers, all say that this is a marvelous book. DelVecchio combines awesome writing skills with great detail, resulting in a Novel worthy of careful reading.
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