Customer Reviews: We Were Soldiers Once...and Young: Ia Drang - The Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam
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Showing 1-10 of 23 reviews(3 star). Show all reviews
on April 22, 2015
Not an easy read at all. Very complex with many, many names of soldiers & places. I thought it was going to be more the stories of individual soldiers who fought in the war, but it was more an overall picture of the war & the minds behind the strategy.
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on February 19, 2015
A war story about Vietnam its a story with very high stakes told about people who usually didn't want to be there and about what they did in a deadly confrontation. War books written years after the event it talks about normally don't have the same amount of detail. I liked having the great words to describe what was happening. The author was really good at explaining the battle and what was happening around it. The thing is its not just victory or defeat but life or death for the men in the book. Also most of the people involved don't want to be there. This is a subject of inherent drama and worth.
We Were Soldiers Once was wrote by a American field commander in the battle of Ia Drang. The author quotes soldiers who fought in that battle a lot. Their memories are vital to this book. At times the book tugs at your emotions. Like when the author visits the grave of one of his officers who died in the battle of Ia Drang. At other times its awesome courage and resourcefulness are really cool.
Vietnam was a disaster because of the amount of deaths to both America and Vietnam, it's sad that it happened at all. However it happened and Americans who fought and sometimes died in that war deserve to have their stories told and this book dose an okay job at doing exactly that.
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on November 14, 2011
I couldn't put it down and read it over just a few days. Very entertaining, especially if you are keen on all the details about a four day span when the two battles took place.

The only thing that bothered me is that the book celebrates Lt.Col. Moore (the author) as a hero and Lt.Col. McDade is heavily criticized for his actions. The number of casualties from each battle were similar -- more KIAs at LZ Albany, but not dramatically more. Each lost life is a tragedy, but how much worse of a job did McDade do than Moore? McDade certainly had a less defined mission to work with than Moore, and more difficult or uncertain terrain. McDade may have made some serious blunders, but it would have been nice to have his perspective on his decisions. Regarding Moore's decisions/actions, even the "Lost Platoon" getting separated from the rest of the battalion is excused at the outset by putting the blame on an overzealous lieutenant.

In spite of needing a little bit more balance in comparing the two leaders, I would highly recommend the book to anyone who enjoys a detailed war history.
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on March 20, 2013
This book is very fast moving. It has so many people to follow, it is hard to follow them. It would have greatly helped to have a LARGE Map of Viet Nam to be able to follow the battles within this book.
John K.
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on July 3, 2015
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on April 22, 2014
A good read. Being an ex digger who served in SVN in the late 60's I could understand the confusion, fear and courage of the officers and men who were at LZ X-Ray.Any student of history should read this book.
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on November 18, 2015
Enjoyed Prologue, Aftermath and Appendix. The rest of the book was too much repeititious of the fighting for me.That being said, I attended an outstanding event in Richmond, Va this past October featuring Joseph Galloway, the award winning book's co author, which probably took the sheen off the rest of the book.
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on December 5, 2003
I read the book twice and saw the movie twice. The movie does not do justice to the book. It is the best historical record of a brutal battle in Vietnam in 1965. However, the book does not flow easily. Nonetheless, it is painful to imagine the staggering losses on both sides with the Americans having a 5 to 1 kill advantage. But 200 troopers killed in this battle from Custer's old 7th Cav made me reflect that history repeated itself somewhat because Custer lost about 200 troopers too. Hal Moore had high technology to back him up in the way of air support and artillery. Custer had neither. And yet the losses are the same. Politicians should read this book rather than us military history buffs to learn what the human cost is to wage war. Like Fredericksburg, Ia Drang drives home the old saying that war never decides who is right, only who is left.
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on August 5, 2014
I have very mixed feelings about the book. It is gritty and tells the story at the platoon level. That gives the book it's unique feel. But, there is way too much detail. My guess is that the author individually names over 500 individuals and, in the process, creates a cluttered and confusing narrative. A heavy edit would improve this otherwise excellent book
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on April 10, 2014
What these men went through for each other - hell on earth. I only gave it 3 stars because the book was very slow in places. At times I glanced over several pages at a time before getting back to something to hold my interest. I'm sure if you want to know even the smallest of details, you would give it five stars. Fierce battle, heroic men. Not taking anything away from them.
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