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on March 5, 2017
The accepted narrative of Vietnam that the US lost the war is rebuked nicely in this book. The war was a mistake of bureaucratic arrogance and inefficiency. In the end, the politicians gave up, but not the soldiers who fought it. This is a story of the blood and sacrifice and dedication of the soldiers who were thrust in this war. A great telling of the Vietnam War from the prospective of the average grunt.
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on August 28, 2015
I am a Viet Nam era veteran, but spent my entire active duty time in the medical corps in the states. I was privileged to share experiences with combat veterans who described their war in the terms of their understanding of it's meaning, significance, and value to themselves and their country. This inevitably came down to the love/hate relationships they developed with their comrades in arms, living, dead, or somewhere in between in what we euphemistically call recovery. Senator Webb is a master of individual character development and has a way of making meaningful observations from the utter chaos of small unit combat in the blind alleys and dark corners of 1960's jungle warfare, against a shadowy, almost ghostly enemy. Almost 57,000 American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines were sacrificed to the gods of war, as were untold numbers of ARVIN, VC,NVA, and civilian Vietnamese. Webb presents telling and graphic examples which throw a bright light on the thousands upon thousands of reasons why these young men and women participated, willingly or under duress, in the hostile and often futile conflict that radically altered the value structure an entire generation of Americans, and forever changed life for the millions of citizens in what is now a united Viet Nam.
In Senator Webb's narrative you can literally hear the loud whoosh of RPG rounds, the characteristic zing of K-47 rounds, the crashing boom of incoming artillery, and smell the smoke and blood of battle blended in with the unique odor of rotting jungle vegetation. You will personally experience the fear, hatred, confusion, love, and disgust the wells up in Webb's characters in response to the pandemonium of conflict. I came away with a depth of understanding of the Viet Nam experience that would have been much less complete without reading Fields of Fire, my own "experiences" notwithstanding.
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on May 23, 2017
This is not a book to. read if you want to read about actual events or units, but it is a good work of fiction about the Vietnam War. Like many things associated with that war, this isn't a book with happy endings. It`s also a book that left me wondering about how the author really feels about the war even though he is a highly decorated Vietnam veteran. I`m glad I read it and I found it enjoyable and I recommend it as long as you keep my above observations in mind.
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on June 1, 2014
The stories of the soldiers told in this book so closely resemble the stories my Uncle (a Medic on a medevac helo) told me; when he finally was ready to speak of his experiences 10+ years after returning home, that it seemed I could have been reading a memoir rather than a novel. Mr. Webb has leapt into a must read author in my top authors list. Fields of Fire conveys the misery, camaraderie, and sometimes idiocy of both the soldiers and the leadership that my Uncle so well described. I had a boss who was a pilot of a gunship helo who was shot down three times in his career in Vietnam, and while this story isn't from that perspective, in my mind's eye, I could see some of the stories he told over the years too. Wow. I'll buy more by Mr. Webb, starting today.
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on May 3, 2015
An amazing read. It made me feel like I was there, and that was not always comfortable. My husband is a Vietnam vet and also read this book. As I was reading, I would ask about certain passages and he assured me that it was spot on. For this reason it was difficult for me to read as my husband is so much the personality type of the character "Snake" in the book.
Altogether though, I would say rotavirus the best book I've ever read about the Vietnam war. It's a "must read" in my opinion.
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on August 15, 2015
Wonderful novel. I was there, in this work, and in person in 1968/1969, as a grunt, but in the Army, not the marines. It rings true cause it is, as much as any novel can be. I have long heard about Fields of Fire but never got around to reading it. Actually, having been a grunt in Nam, I haven't really had much interest in reading about it. The only other novel I read about Nam was Winston Groom's 'Better Times Than These,' which I picked up because he served with the same outfit as I did, the 4th Infantry Division in the Central Highlands. I'd love to recommend another good novel about Nam but I don't believe I'm allowed to in this review. I finally read F of F because Webb is a candidate for the democrat party for president. He is the only democrat I'm interested in at this point. Anyway, to the book, well done! I liked the set up and the pacing. I liked the way Webb brought it all 360 degrees, the son of a warrior and a mother married to a man not his father, siring before he dies, the son of a warrior and a mother married to a man not his father.
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on June 25, 2017
Very important for people of the Vietnam era to know what it was really like with characters we can relate to. important for generations after also to know the history. The battles were somewhat difficult for me to get through and it took a long time for me to read but I felt I needed to read it.
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on October 26, 2015
Author is former Democratic presidential candidate Jim Webb, a Marine platoon leader in Vietnam in 1969. The story line follows three U.S. Marines: Platoon Leader Hodges, squad leader Snake, and enlisted man Senator. They struggle daily against the climate, the terrain, and the NVA/VC enemy. The author is a master of description, develops three-dimensional characters, and has a spell-binding narrative. I was transported back to my "time in the barrel" working the Arizona Territory, Dodge City, and Go Noi Island areas located a couple of dozen miles southwest of DaNang; I easily identified with the platoon members, and I struggled with similar ethical/moral decisions roughly a half-century ago. Too bad Jim Webb had to withdraw from the presidential race because I my opinion he represented the ethos and values of middle America.
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on March 2, 2015
This is one of the better books from the era of the Viet Nam war. The story profiles typical Americans who answered the call or was drafted or faced the draft. It follows a Marine Platoon over several months telling in part each of the members story, with more on the lieutenant platoon leader. Fields of Fire is a good companion book to "A County Such as This," which is also written by Webb. You can get a good feel of Webbs principles, attitudes and experiences that has guided him through his writings and public life I read the two books mentioned here many years ago and just re-read them in light of Jim Webbs consideration for running for the Presidency. The best praise I can give to this work is to compare it to 'The 13th Valley," By John M. Del Vecchio which I considered to be the best book on the Viet Nam war. Fields of fire is right up there, a great read, a great price and may introduce you to a new writer if you don't know Webb's work yet. All his books are first rate.
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on January 6, 2013
As a Marine who served in Vietnam during the time period this book is set in (68-70), I can confirm that this book accurately depicts the experience of being a Marine Grunt serving in Vietnam. The author, James Webb, is a highly decorated Combat Veteran of the war, and lived the story. He obviously put his heart and soul into it. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is a fictional account of a Grunt platoon, but the story is taken from real life. The main charactors and events were developed perfectly, and while being fictional, I knew Marines, and experienced events exactly like those in the story. It is a gut wrenching trip to the past, and a "must read" for anyone who wants to know what it was "really like" for Marines who fought in that war.
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