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Who Shot the Water Buffalo?: A Novel Hardcover – April 14, 2011
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"An impeccable, humorous heirloom, a shock of napalm that smells like . . . victory." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A strong individualistic tale of wartime experience from a man who served there." — Historical Novels Review
Top Customer Reviews
Hucklebee narrates the story, beginning each chapter with psychedelic ramblings in conversation to a doctor. In pain, he recalls details from the beginning of flight school as a junior Marine officer, where he trains with Cochran. Hucklebee stems from a long line of Army veterans, while Cochran gets himself booted from a college ROTC program but signs up for Marine Officer Candidate School before his military family can object. Both consider themselves family renegades. Over many a bar drink, the two become friends. Cochran is a self-subscribed word-hound, loudly spelling any lengthy word that will elevate him as an intellectual. Hucklebee seems okay with the designation as "illiterate," but takes comfort in a backseat position to Cochran. In Florida, they lease a beachfront bungalow from a retired Admiral and his southern-belle wife. The Admiral and his wife are closet alcoholics, providing some sideline entertainment. Sharing a hurricane's fury with their landlords, the young pilots declare that they both will become chopper pilots. The admiral declares them "numbnuts.Read more ›
Set in the early days of the Vietnam War - when the United States was there simply to, uh, "provide support" - "Who Shot The Water Buffalo?" combines humor, drama, and the sort of wordplay you'd expect from the Intrepid Traveler himself. Babbs knows of what he writes - he piloted choppers in Vietnam before he got on the bus - and it shows. The narration morphs and shifts as the weirdness of the situation increases for Majors Mike Huckelbee and Tom Cochran; Babbs navigates sweat-soaked stream-of-consciousness raps as easily as he does passages of gonzo slapstick.
It's been close to 50 years since Babbs starting typing "Who Shot The Water Buffalo?" out in the jungles of Vietnam. It was well worth the wait.
I rate this very high in the genre of Vietnam war "fiction". Clearly autobiographical delivered with power and humor. Laugh out loud funny and heartbreaking as you are brought into the world of Marine Corp Helicopter aviation.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really enjoyed this book. It lends an interestingly humorous perspective to some truly horrifying experiences. Great narrative!Published 8 months ago by Elk
A novel worth reading "Who Shot The Water Buffalo? is about the Vietnam experience. Unconventional at times it can be riveting, humorous, and terrifying. Read morePublished 16 months ago by mary shipko
I joined that Helicopter Squadron in Danang as part of the OE-1 detachment. It is a very honest depiction of the living conditions, the missions and the ridiculousness of the war. Read morePublished on November 2, 2012 by Lawrence Rolstad
As a Vietnam veteran of 63 and 64, the chopper pilots involved bordered on being crazy. They risked their lives going in and out of hot zones regardless of risk. Read morePublished on October 24, 2011 by rfl93k
I loved the book. I lent it to my Father who flew helicopters in Vietnam for two tours, he really enjoyed it and and tied in his experiences to events in the book.Published on June 6, 2011 by Jim Maclain