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Nam: The Vietnam War in the Words of the Men and Women Who Fought There

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Numerous people who experienced the Vietnam War firsthand share their stories in this oral history. Men and women, officers and draftees, prowar and antiwar veterans, all give personal accounts of the bloodshed they witnessed, and the horrifying circumstances they survived. Grunts recount losing their friends in combat; doctors remember the patients whose lives they desper Numerous people who experienced the Vietnam War firsthand share their stories in this oral history. Men and women, officers and draftees, prowar and antiwar veterans, all give personal accounts of the bloodshed they witnessed, and the horrifying circumstances they survived. Grunts recount losing their friends in combat; doctors remember the patients whose lives they desperately tried to save; soldiers try to understand how they could become willing participants in the slaughter of innocent civilians; and veterans, back in the US, discuss dealing with nightmares and a life far away from the constant presence of war.


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Numerous people who experienced the Vietnam War firsthand share their stories in this oral history. Men and women, officers and draftees, prowar and antiwar veterans, all give personal accounts of the bloodshed they witnessed, and the horrifying circumstances they survived. Grunts recount losing their friends in combat; doctors remember the patients whose lives they desper Numerous people who experienced the Vietnam War firsthand share their stories in this oral history. Men and women, officers and draftees, prowar and antiwar veterans, all give personal accounts of the bloodshed they witnessed, and the horrifying circumstances they survived. Grunts recount losing their friends in combat; doctors remember the patients whose lives they desperately tried to save; soldiers try to understand how they could become willing participants in the slaughter of innocent civilians; and veterans, back in the US, discuss dealing with nightmares and a life far away from the constant presence of war.

30 review for Nam: The Vietnam War in the Words of the Men and Women Who Fought There

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    A powerful and compulsively readable oral history of NAM (three letters which take on totemic significance), compiled by Baker from interviews he conducted with veterans. In plain-spoken language, with remarkable honesty and candor, they tell their stories: profound, moving, strange, funny, and endlessly disturbing. What strikes one at first is the sheer naivety with which these men and women entered the war: the first statement in the book ends with, “I had no idea what I was getting into,” and A powerful and compulsively readable oral history of NAM (three letters which take on totemic significance), compiled by Baker from interviews he conducted with veterans. In plain-spoken language, with remarkable honesty and candor, they tell their stories: profound, moving, strange, funny, and endlessly disturbing. What strikes one at first is the sheer naivety with which these men and women entered the war: the first statement in the book ends with, “I had no idea what I was getting into,” and those words serve as a harbinger for the horrors to come. In country, these soldiers descended into personal hells in which they discovered the capacity for unfathomable violence towards their fellow humans, atrocities to make the brain bleed. One soldier dons a necklace of severed ears. Another shoots a Vietnamese woman out of boredom. And in the book’s single most devastating section, a solider describes the gang-rape and murder of a Vietnamese girl, followed by the mutilation of her corpse. These are just the tip of the iceberg in an ocean of blood. And yet the depth of insight in many of these statements is startling. Reflecting on the slaughter of fleeing enemy soldiers, one veteran reflects: “You began at that point to understand how genocide takes place.” Another watches from in-country as the first man on the moon utters his famous words and thinks, “Come here and step with me for a day, motherfucker.” Vital voices from the heart of darkness. A significant document of the American Nightmare.

  2. 4 out of 5

    David Turko

    A powerful and intense read. 'Nam' is a book that goes into specific events of Vietnam through the eyes of the veterans who fought in the war. The soldiers tell about their basic training, their time during Vietnam and the aftermath of it all. This book is not for the faint of heart. There were moments where I was reading this where I had to put the book down from how heartbreaking some of the stories were. Several of the interviewees mentioned how it would've been better for them to die in Viet A powerful and intense read. 'Nam' is a book that goes into specific events of Vietnam through the eyes of the veterans who fought in the war. The soldiers tell about their basic training, their time during Vietnam and the aftermath of it all. This book is not for the faint of heart. There were moments where I was reading this where I had to put the book down from how heartbreaking some of the stories were. Several of the interviewees mentioned how it would've been better for them to die in Vietnam than to come back to the U.S. Nam is a book that filled me with many emotions. I was moved, disturbed and captivated by these veteran's stories. One of the best non-fiction books I've read in years.

  3. 5 out of 5

    David Campbell

    One of the very first books I picked up on the Vietnam War as a young Marine, eager to learn everything I could about our last great conflict - and I could not have chosen a better opening splash. Baker gathered stories from countless veterans and put them into short, anonymous formats, blowing the lid off of the American public's silence regarding the Vietnam War. In simple, logical sections, he bombards the reader with short, powerful stories and anecdotes on various subjects through the life One of the very first books I picked up on the Vietnam War as a young Marine, eager to learn everything I could about our last great conflict - and I could not have chosen a better opening splash. Baker gathered stories from countless veterans and put them into short, anonymous formats, blowing the lid off of the American public's silence regarding the Vietnam War. In simple, logical sections, he bombards the reader with short, powerful stories and anecdotes on various subjects through the life of a Vietnam veteran: signing up, basic training, combat, wounded, etc. I have since read well over 40 works on this compelling conflict in our nation's history, but this book remains one of my very dearest. If you want to see what kind of hell combat is - and its effect on the human psyche - look no further.

  4. 4 out of 5

    David

    This book was amazing. An oral history of Vietnam from grunts, nurses, officers, etc. A powerful story.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Saski

    What is this book? A history book? A mere transcribing of a selection of people’s words? Journalism? I don’t know. I do know that this was probably the hardest book I have ever finished. And I can honestly say I am glad I read it, though I could have done without the nightmares that followed. Quotes that caught my eye These guys I was taking the test with was just wild. The whole crew was making noise and they was throwing the pencils. Half of them was banged up high as kites. And I’m laughing, be What is this book? A history book? A mere transcribing of a selection of people’s words? Journalism? I don’t know. I do know that this was probably the hardest book I have ever finished. And I can honestly say I am glad I read it, though I could have done without the nightmares that followed. Quotes that caught my eye These guys I was taking the test with was just wild. The whole crew was making noise and they was throwing the pencils. Half of them was banged up high as kites. And I’m laughing, because the woman lieutenant who was supposed to be running things couldn’t control the group. ‘Well, I got something for you,’ she says, and she walks out of the room. These big Marines come in the door, right? A major with about four sergeants. They went around and collected all the test papers. The major says, ‘seeing as you want to give the lieutenant such a hard way to go, all of y’all just passed the test. You will be leaving in two days … Or you could leave in thirty days if you come into the Marine Corps.’ We get up. ‘Oh, come on, you jiving.’ ‘No, I’m serious. Everyone of you just passed the t4est and y’al leaving. If you keep going through all these changes, we have right to pull y’all out of here right now and put you on the bus to boot camp.’ ……… About fifteen of us stood up and said we’ll go in the Marine Corps, get us a little extra time. Going through the paper work the guy was talking in terms of three years. Then all of a sudden he says, ‘You know, when you enlist, you go for four years.’ That was when they told me that I was enlisting. (6) The war billed on the marquee as a John Wayne shot-‘em up test of manhood turns out to be a warped version of Peter Pan. Vietnam was a brutal Neverneverland, outside time and space, where little boys didn’t have to grow up. They just grew old before their time. (24) The doors opened up and I got my first whiff of Nam, what do you do if you’ve got 500,000 men and no plumbing facilities? What do you do with all the human shit? The Army’s answer to that was to collect it in barrels, then drag them someplace where they soaked all that human waste in fuel oil and set it on fire. Whoever the poor bastard was who had done something wrong yesterday, his job today was to stand there and stir this mess to make sure that it all burned. (28) What were they doing throwing hand grenades in the river? They were fishing. (32) I spent my first night in a little shack. The next day I woke up real early, but it was already hot outside and the sun was bright. I’m here. Man! I got to go out and see what’s going on. I’d seen my dad’s slides of Korea a hundred times and I was fascinated. I ran outside and God, there’s all these little people with their coolie hats running around on the other side of the fence. It smelled different and it looked different, so I was pretty excited. You’re stupid at first and you really don’t know. (38) Use kids to fight a war – if you’re going to use anybody. They’re the best they’re still leaning. They can hump the hills. They can take it. And they don’t take it personal. (57) There was such a scary thing about going out to the bush, like jumping into a cold ocean. You hit the LZ and it’s hot. That door opens up and you run out screaming. There’s little rocket ships whizzing through the air. You feel you can stick out your hand and catchy a round. I could have beat Bob Hayes in a foot race with all my gear. I could have hidden behind a pack of camels, with not part of me protruding. That’s got to be the hairiest thing in the world. Adrenaline for days. (74) Some of the post was very beautiful. Gorgeous French plantation homes ringed the airstrip. They were mostly empty, but they had caretakers. A few Vietnamese were there in the daytime. The windows were still clean. Every once in a while you’d see a little laundry hanging out on the line. With all the incoming we had, not one of those buildings was ever hit. (95) I got angry when I realized that our casualty reports in the Stars & Stripes were being falsified. In every case, I knew what the total was – I knew it – but the numbers were always reported as less. We falsified the enemy casualties. Why not falsify our own? I began to realise the extent of the lie, all the kinds of lies. I don’t believe for a moment that there were only 53,000 people killed in Vietnam. I don’t know how it’s possible to disguise thousands of deaths, but I believe that there were thousands more Americans who died than were reported. I saw it with my own eyes constantly. (100) We’d run out of blood. We’d run out of antibiotics. But we always had fruit cocktail, rubbers and shower shoes. (109) …I found out that he really believed in what he was doing. That was the difference. We were there because we didn’t want to go to jail or whatever our reason was, but he was there because he believed it. I kind of felt sorry for them in a way. They got there and found out that their talent was killing and they were damn good at it. They had a taste of killing and they all liked it. Now when the war ended, what were they going to do? Once you reach the peak it’s all downhill. (121) It rises like a wave of nausea in your throat, out of nowhere, uncontrolled, the dry bitter taste of evil. You’re walking the dog in the canine goofiness he insists on sniffing one empty square of sidewalk, holding his ground until you jerk the leash so hard the choke chain almost cuts his windpipe in two. A child says ‘No’ at just he wrong time and you swallow hard when you find yourself towering over your own flesh and blood with murder in your eye. You actually slam on the brakes, jump out of the car and run back to rip the throat out of the tailgater behind you before he can roll up his windows. An uneasy joke escapes from the knot of petty viciousness inside you and you seem to stand outside yourself as you watch it metamorphosise to malicious teasing. Suddenly you’re tormenting some other human being – usually someone you love – until he’s ready to take a wild swing at you. The feeling passes quickly leaving you shaking with every thump of yo8ur heart, wondering where in this same and ordered world a psycho like that comes from. But that psycho was you, the other you, the darker side, the one who knows all the nasty things you’ve done or thought in the privacy of your mind, the flipside of your conscience that hoards the merest slights and demands revenge no matter how petty, how misdirected. (131) For all the glory words like duty, honour and valour, war runs best on evil, a breeder reactor that vomits out a hell full of pain for the little spark of sadism people feed into it. Evil was encouraged with rewards of medals, time off from the horror, a hot meal. How else can you persuade bo7us to kill one another day after day? And when the darker side grabs the upper hand, takes control, how else can it be excused? (132) I had a sense of power. A sense of destruction. See, now, in the United States a person is babied. He’s told what to do. You can’t carry a gun, unless you want to fail. If you shoot somebody, it’s wrong. You’re constantly babied till you go to the grave. The only people’s got the authority is the judges or the Establishment. But in the Nam you realise that you had the power to take a life. You had the power to rape a woman and nobody could say nothing to you. That godlike feeling you had was in the field. It was like I was a god. I could take a life, I could screw a woman. I can beat somebody up and get away with it. It was a godlike feeling that a guy could express in the Nam. (134) Too many of us forgot that Vietnamese were people. We didn’t treat them like people after a while. It was hard to separate. I really didn’t like to mistreat people over there. I tried as hard as I could … not that I didn’t from time to time. I met this woman in a bar when an American Green Beret was pushing her around and drinking whisky. I told him to knock it off, because3 I though he was being an asshole. One thing led to another and we had a fight. After that, me and girl because friends. Later she saved my life and strangely enough she was probably Viet Cong. (135) The Viet Cong and the NVA figured a combat loss is a combat loss. It doesn’t matter if a guy can’t go to war because he’s got the clap and it hurts when he takes a leak or if he can’t go to war because he’s got a bullet through his head. Either way it’s a loss. (147) I didn’t really speak the language. I could understand a few phrases, though. One day during a fire fight, for the first time in my life, I heard the cries of the Vietnamese wounded, and I understood them. When somebody gets wounded, they call out for their mothers their wives, their girl friends. There I was listening to the VC cry for the same things. That’s when the futility of the war really dawned on me. I thought, ‘Jesus Christ, what a fucking waste this whole thing it.’ (153) The guilt, the pain, the scars are intact. The lessons of friendship and compassion are lost. (155) We stood there at attention in the morning sun and the dust, listening to this fucking asshole do a little memorial service about how ‘These people did not die in vain’. If looks could have killed, that man would have been dead. In fact, that man would have been dead if we had been left alone with him. We’d have jumped on him like crows on a corpse. (171) Wasted. ‘After a hump, you were wasted.’ ‘Jesus, we wasted them gooks.’ ‘I got really wasted on that dope.’ ‘Geezer got wasted up on some hill.’ ‘What a waste.’ American were wasted in an amazing variety of ways in Vietnam. When they returned home, they were wasted again, like greasy paper plates after the picnic. Disposable soldiers, men and women who were treated like so much human refuse to lugged to the dump. (209) … and there were the Pentagon Papers. I read as much as I could on that Sunday afternoon. I because violently ill. I actually threw up and got a blinding headache. I was rolling around the floor of my apartment. I couldn’t fight the pain, I couldn’t succumb to it – it just blew me the fuck away. Containing communism was only worth 5 percent of the war. Generate capital for corporations was 41 percent. ‘I pledge allegiance to the flag’ just died. I was pledging allegiance to Dow and Monsanto and all the large corporations. That shattered my whole image of the United States, of freedom and democracy, of the world we live in, all the ideals I had gone to Vietnam with. The sacrifice was a lie. The war was a fraud. I had recently reexamined what had been said about my being a murderer. Now, I thought I just might be. I was of total insignificance, except to be used. ………….. The war’s not over for us. That’s why it won’t be over until somebody takes their rightful responsibility. The federal government and the chemical companies. (224) Another buddy of mine, Mark Cole, had been a Special Forces officer that lost an eye and an ear and an arm and a leg. He’d get drunk in a bar and start banging at the glasses and throwing things. You’d be sitting there drinking your beer and you’d feel guilty because you still had everything. Yet the presidential aspirants were all talking about how we shouldn’t be defoliating the trees in Vietnam. Fuck defoliating the trees, how about defoliating us? (226) Then you come back to the Land of the big PX and it’s business as usual. Men are being male in traditional ways, stepping on each other’s toes on the way up the ladder, not with genuine ruthlessness, but with sloppy masculinity. (230)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dylan Snell

    Personal Response: I enjoyed reading this book. The thing is, I don't know exactly why. Like most books about the war, I claim to like them because my Grandpa was in Vietnam. For this book, I think I liked it because I can now almost feel what the guys over there felt. Being told by actual veterans makes the conflict come to life for me. Another cool thing is that you know that the author didn't take facts from a history book approved by the government, going along with their slick cover up. This Personal Response: I enjoyed reading this book. The thing is, I don't know exactly why. Like most books about the war, I claim to like them because my Grandpa was in Vietnam. For this book, I think I liked it because I can now almost feel what the guys over there felt. Being told by actual veterans makes the conflict come to life for me. Another cool thing is that you know that the author didn't take facts from a history book approved by the government, going along with their slick cover up. This book tells the real story of the living hell they went through, not so much in Vietnam, but back here in the States. Plot Summary: The book doesn’t have a specific order of events. I does however have interviews conducted by the author with Vietnam Veterans. Seven of the veterans interviewed enlisted in the Army or Marine Corps. The other couple veterans were drafted. The soldiers then tell about their basic training experience. Then they get sent overseas to Vietnam. Most of the people say that they were under fire while they are descending on the airplane. All of the veterans say that they go to a briefing immediately after they land. They then get sent to a smaller base camp. One guy says that he got sent to three different bases, the next one each smaller. Everyone said they did pretty much whatever they wanted over there, like smoking weed, hiring prostitutes, or shooting whatever they wanted. In the early part of the war, you had to call on the radio to headquarters to ask for permission to fire. The one soldier said that when they found some VC, they would shoot up their radio so they wouldn't get in trouble. One squad even shot at their own guys to get revenge on a colonel. One special-operations soldier said his squad went and destroyed a village and killed its inhabitants, then the U.S. blamed it on the NVA. The final part of the book is when the soldiers come home. Every veteran interviewed says that people ask them the same thing, “How many people did you kill? How does it feel to kill somebody?” One soldier said that his honorable discharge was a computer print out with his Social Security Number on a piece of cardboard. One guy said that he felt safer in Vietnam than in California. Most of the veterans said that it would’ve been better to die in Vietnam than to come back to the states. Recommendation: I would recommend this book to mature history fanatics and military fanatics in middle school. I say mature middle schoolers because there are parts where masturbation, prostitution, and rape is mentioned. I would also recommend this to high school students because they should learn about the rea Nam, and just not some government approved document. You know, someday there won't be any Vietnam veterans left to tell their story. Case-in-point, read the book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    If even half of what's related in this book really happened then Nazi war criminals were fingerpainting compared to our boys in Nam. Personally, I don't buy a lot of the stories in here: One soldier's ordered to keep kicking in a dead soldier's head until his brains creep out his ear. A Vietnamese girl is gang-raped by GIs and then mutilated to death. When Marines were bored of shooting at Viet Cong they shot at each other to pass the time. GIs posing for pictures over a dying Vietnamese man's body If even half of what's related in this book really happened then Nazi war criminals were fingerpainting compared to our boys in Nam. Personally, I don't buy a lot of the stories in here: One soldier's ordered to keep kicking in a dead soldier's head until his brains creep out his ear. A Vietnamese girl is gang-raped by GIs and then mutilated to death. When Marines were bored of shooting at Viet Cong they shot at each other to pass the time. GIs posing for pictures over a dying Vietnamese man's body (shades of Guantanamo). Vietnamese tossed out of airborne helicopters after supplying information rather than taken prisoner. Oh, the brutality goes on and on with nary a positive accomplishment from our troops. I sense a couple of Mark Fuhrmans giving Mark Baker a load of sensational war tales to spice up his book. War is hell, but this goes beyond hell.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Zombieslayer⚡Alienhunter

    I found out I was supposed to read this book in September of 2015 so, being me, I just finished it last night. Well, around January I realized I needed to buckle down and get my shit together. Later that month, my great-uncle Milt died. He fought with the Marines in Vietnam in 1969, and I can vividly remember him telling me and my brother and my cousins stories about the war. If it had been anything graphic I'm sure his wife would have smacked him with a wooden spoon, all I remember is him talking a I found out I was supposed to read this book in September of 2015 so, being me, I just finished it last night. Well, around January I realized I needed to buckle down and get my shit together. Later that month, my great-uncle Milt died. He fought with the Marines in Vietnam in 1969, and I can vividly remember him telling me and my brother and my cousins stories about the war. If it had been anything graphic I'm sure his wife would have smacked him with a wooden spoon, all I remember is him talking about the fireworks on the Fourth of July and the sunset over the village, the search dogs he trained. He didn't talk about the VC and he didn't talk about watching his friends, boys hardly older than my brother at the time, fight and die for nothing. He was more like a grandfather to me than my maternal grandfather ever was, I know for damn sure I learned more about just about everything from Milt. After an eight-year battle with Dementia, and losing my great-aunt Sue in September of 2o14, Milt passed away in a VA hospital with his daughter and his dog beside him. I didn't see Milt hardly at all in the final years of his life, by then he had forgotten my and my brother and most of his grandchildrens' names. Part of me will always feel guilty that I saw him maybe five times after he was diagnosed, and not at all in the last two years. There was a huge hole in his mind where me and the other kids used to be, and that upset me so much, not the fact he'd forgotten me but the fact he was forgetting everybody, that I couldn't bear to see him. I called him on his birthday (which also happens to be mine) and he thought I was a nurse in a field hospital somewhere in the jungle. I don't remember talking to him again after that. Reading Mark Baker's Nam was like talking to Milt again, and within thirty pages I was in tears. Not because I missed my uncle, but because I had never, not once, thought about what he had to have gone through during 'Nam. Instead of wasting your time arguing about the war (because guess what? For us, it's over. But for them, it never will be) and fighting each other over trivial bullshit, you need to read Mark Baker's book. Read it and understand that, yes, American soldiers, the GI Joes, the heroes, committed atrocities in Vietnam, but the majority of them never knew what they were doing was so wrong. They wanted to help, to be heroes. What they didn't know was that heroes are just villians speaking another language. Like Mark Baker, I'm anti-war. I believe in conflict resolution without warfare. But even those who stand on my side need to read this book. They need to read it to understand.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Chris Steeden

    The project for the author started in 1972. He shared an apartment with a Vietnam Vet (Brian) and the basis of this book came to fruition. He told the vets he spoke to that he had no intention of forging a political document honed on guilt and condemnation but nor was he interested in glorifying war and the soldiers lot. Just wanted to record what they could remember about the intersection of their lives in Vietnam and the consequences of that experience. The interviews and letters show the differ The project for the author started in 1972. He shared an apartment with a Vietnam Vet (Brian) and the basis of this book came to fruition. He told the vets he spoke to that he had no intention of forging a political document honed on guilt and condemnation but nor was he interested in glorifying war and the soldiers lot. Just wanted to record what they could remember about the intersection of their lives in Vietnam and the consequences of that experience. The interviews and letters show the difference in backgrounds in those enlisted and drafted. The book goes through all the experiences from the training / boot camp, off to Vietnam, fighting, relaxing injuries, escapades, home and normal life. No names are put to the letters / interviews in the book and it is not just soldiers experiences as there is a nurse as well. If you take the text at face value and as the ultimate truth then be prepared. It is graphic, appalling and very very shocking. Here is one quote: 'But in Nam you realized that you had the power to take a life. You had the power to rape a woman and nobody could say anything to you.' It did take me a little time to get into the book because of the fact that it is interviews you finish one and start another so the book does not flow but you do get used to it. Some of the stuff that is detailed is horrific and then these guys have to come home and start leading a normal life. This is not for the faint-hearted

  10. 5 out of 5

    Joey

    This book was a very hard read. Not because it was poorly written, but because it was really sad. Some of the stories made me chuckle, but the ending of the book was the worst. Reading about the Vets coming home and what they had to deal with made me ashamed of being an American (even though i was not alive during that time). It made me want to go out and hug as many Veitnam Vets, and thank them for their service as I can. We have failed all of them as a country. These were boys who thought they This book was a very hard read. Not because it was poorly written, but because it was really sad. Some of the stories made me chuckle, but the ending of the book was the worst. Reading about the Vets coming home and what they had to deal with made me ashamed of being an American (even though i was not alive during that time). It made me want to go out and hug as many Veitnam Vets, and thank them for their service as I can. We have failed all of them as a country. These were boys who thought they were doing right by serving in our military and then to come home and have our Country turn our backs on them we should be ashamed of ourselves. Yes there were some injustices done over there by our military, but injustice was done to our boys and girls who served over there and how can we blame them for doing what they had to do to survive. Nothing in war is right, but we should never have turned our backs on our innocent children our country sent over to fight the war.

  11. 4 out of 5

    ✨Bean's Books✨

    I don't really know what to say about this particular book. Please forgive me but I'm still in a bit of shock. These are REAL stories of the war in Vietnam told by REAL people who were there and experienced it. The things that our troops had to endure are just unbelievable. And if their physical situation wasn't bad enough, their mental and emotional states were worse. And then to have gone through all that just to come home unwanted, unloved, unvictorious and even branded as a murderer... just I don't really know what to say about this particular book. Please forgive me but I'm still in a bit of shock. These are REAL stories of the war in Vietnam told by REAL people who were there and experienced it. The things that our troops had to endure are just unbelievable. And if their physical situation wasn't bad enough, their mental and emotional states were worse. And then to have gone through all that just to come home unwanted, unloved, unvictorious and even branded as a murderer... just heart wrenching. These veterans we're (and are) shunned by the very government and country they fought for. Simply unbelievable. As for the book itself, it is very well written and easy to get into. The author did a great job compiling these testimonies. I highly recommend this book to anyone.

  12. 4 out of 5

    David Richardson

    I really like the way this book told it's story. No political correctness or debate about whether the war was right or wrong. People who were there tell their stories plain and simple. Hands down the best Vietnam war book I have read. I really like the way this book told it's story. No political correctness or debate about whether the war was right or wrong. People who were there tell their stories plain and simple. Hands down the best Vietnam war book I have read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sarra Moogski

    Possibly one of the best war logs I've ever read. By turns horrifying, moving, disturbing, beautiful and utterly insane. Possibly one of the best war logs I've ever read. By turns horrifying, moving, disturbing, beautiful and utterly insane.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Samiam

    The horror of it all.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    In this collection of war stories, not truths, the theme of survival, or lack thereof, is striking. One individual recounts that "war is not killing. Killing is the easiest part of the whole thing. Sweating twenty four hours a day, seeing guys drop all around you of heatstroke, not having food, not having water, sleeping only three hours a night for weeks at a time, that's what war is. Survival." The brutal physical and mental test of this war, Nam, is portrayed unlike any other with gripping in In this collection of war stories, not truths, the theme of survival, or lack thereof, is striking. One individual recounts that "war is not killing. Killing is the easiest part of the whole thing. Sweating twenty four hours a day, seeing guys drop all around you of heatstroke, not having food, not having water, sleeping only three hours a night for weeks at a time, that's what war is. Survival." The brutal physical and mental test of this war, Nam, is portrayed unlike any other with gripping intensity and often shame for a serviceman's loss of self and morality, all traded in for the sake of survival. At times, the stories are so disturbing that they are hard to accept as a human experience, and their accuracy can perhaps be questioned, based on the author's admittance that the stories in the book are just that, stories. However, the heartfelt intensity of each account is obvious, and you are led to wonder why someone would exaggerate actual events. Regardless of the content's accuracy, the organization of this book is on point, starting with initiation of those into battle and ending with homecoming. The progression, climax, and letdown, or in other words, the book in its entirety, was most affecting for me. The men and the women of the book are both victors and victims, dead but living, allies but enemies. Their identities are blurred to this day, and with each anecdote that builds upon the last, Baker is able to add a significant piece to the puzzle that answers the question of what really happened in Vietnam and why so many veterans are still suffering to this day.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Hai Le

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Nam was one of the most intense books on the Vietnam War that I’ve ever read. As the book states - it’s an oral history compiled from various war veterans including a nurse. Some of the details and stories were so harrowing at times that I’ve had to put the book down and begin again a few days later. A justification for some of the vets awful behaviour was that being in this war made them feel like ‘God’. Being in a lawless war zone made them feel like they could do whatever they wanted without an Nam was one of the most intense books on the Vietnam War that I’ve ever read. As the book states - it’s an oral history compiled from various war veterans including a nurse. Some of the details and stories were so harrowing at times that I’ve had to put the book down and begin again a few days later. A justification for some of the vets awful behaviour was that being in this war made them feel like ‘God’. Being in a lawless war zone made them feel like they could do whatever they wanted without any consequences. It really makes you wonder what people will do if we were to live in a lawless society. I particularly enjoyed the nurse’s stories as that’s an angle that’s rarely been told and about the metal breakdown she suffered when she returned to the US. She couldn’t face some of the things she did i.e. withholding medication, deciding on whose life was more important; letting the other patient die and poisoning Vietnamese patients so that they can free up more beds for the US GIs. No nurse in normal circumstances would have to be forced to make those choices and I’m not surprised by her mental breakdown. The final part of the book was really interesting in that the war vets; when returning home thought they were going to be hailed as hero’s. When in fact quite the opposite; getting spit on, sworn at, things thrown at them and just ridiculed in general by the American public. Most of them were unable to get jobs and suffered severe mental health problems, depression and suicide. A lot of them claimed they were literally used and abused by the American government and regret going Vietnam in the first place. Reading this book is part of my research for my next script and I’m glad I got to go into the minds of these war vets; before, during, and after the war. If you want to read a brutally honest account of the Vietnam war from a variety of vets that holds no punches. Then look no further. Highly recommended.

  17. 5 out of 5

    John McNair

    Outstanding! I had wanted to read this book for some time after seeing a recommendation somewhere that this was one of a small number of 'must read' books on Vietnam. Finally found a used copy on Amazon, from a book shop somewhere in the USA. In sum, this is a collection of interviews with a wide-ranging number of ex-soldiers and some nurses. Nearly exclusively infantry, and all enlisted men and a few junior officers (all young people at the time). It was written in 1981, when memories were stil Outstanding! I had wanted to read this book for some time after seeing a recommendation somewhere that this was one of a small number of 'must read' books on Vietnam. Finally found a used copy on Amazon, from a book shop somewhere in the USA. In sum, this is a collection of interviews with a wide-ranging number of ex-soldiers and some nurses. Nearly exclusively infantry, and all enlisted men and a few junior officers (all young people at the time). It was written in 1981, when memories were still fresh. All about ground ops, in the jungle and at fire bases, and then about life at home in America. It pulls no punches and sugar-coats nothing. PTSD was not mentioned once, of course, but the impact runs throughout the book. There are funny-as-heck passages and there are others they will cause the reader to tear up. Some are short - only a few sentences at most - and others carry on a page or two. They all resonate. The author did a very skillful job in editing and piecing these reminiscences together in chapters that are more or less grouped together in themes (Initiation, Operations, War Stories, etc). Now, there is that small sliver of doubt, I will admit. First, did the author embellish things a bit to provide a degree of sensationalization? Or - more likely - did the interviewees embellish their own stories somewhat, for various reasons? You now, it doesn't really matter. The stories are such terrific - and slightly disturbing - reading. This is what we now - in 2022 - call "history of the Vietnam War".

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Reading this slapped me back about 45 years or so. I'm a veteran of the era but didn't serve "in country". Reading these Viet Nam vets thoughts and experiences both in country and what they experienced at home made me angry and sad all over again. The insanity of that stupid futile war, the unfair and ridiculous draft, and the sheer incompetence, deceit and blood-thirst of our leaders - goddam. This is especially rueful to ponder after having just read The Ugly American which was published in 195 Reading this slapped me back about 45 years or so. I'm a veteran of the era but didn't serve "in country". Reading these Viet Nam vets thoughts and experiences both in country and what they experienced at home made me angry and sad all over again. The insanity of that stupid futile war, the unfair and ridiculous draft, and the sheer incompetence, deceit and blood-thirst of our leaders - goddam. This is especially rueful to ponder after having just read The Ugly American which was published in 1958 FFS! We had no business fighting in Viet Nam and we sure as hell had no justification to waste so many young lives.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sally

    “Senseless, needless. All wars are filled with that. But there was more of it in Vietnam. Or maybe, because the whole thing was so senseless, every time something like that happened, it was just another insult.” Some scared newbies got spooked in the night and killed nine of their own, with a tank. A classic example of the futility of yet another war that should never have been. At the other end of the ridiculous scale a guy who has been in the hell that was Nam for two years was thrown out of a “Senseless, needless. All wars are filled with that. But there was more of it in Vietnam. Or maybe, because the whole thing was so senseless, every time something like that happened, it was just another insult.” Some scared newbies got spooked in the night and killed nine of their own, with a tank. A classic example of the futility of yet another war that should never have been. At the other end of the ridiculous scale a guy who has been in the hell that was Nam for two years was thrown out of a casino in Vegas for being underage

  20. 4 out of 5

    Millie Ilene

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I am still moved by the masterful way these sometimes funny, yet completely horrible, stories are told. The guy who tries to evade death by all means is killed by the stray bullet. The doctor shooting up heroin because of what he is seeing in the OR. The soldier fucking a prostitute who is just laying their smoking a cigarette. The ears. Those god damned ears still haunt when I think of them. Born after this war ended, it was pivotal in my lifelong anti-war stance. I hope to tell stories of othe I am still moved by the masterful way these sometimes funny, yet completely horrible, stories are told. The guy who tries to evade death by all means is killed by the stray bullet. The doctor shooting up heroin because of what he is seeing in the OR. The soldier fucking a prostitute who is just laying their smoking a cigarette. The ears. Those god damned ears still haunt when I think of them. Born after this war ended, it was pivotal in my lifelong anti-war stance. I hope to tell stories of others as well as Mark Baker.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Floyd Williams

    As the title implies, this book is an oral history. It covers all phases of the Vietnam War experience, including induction, basic training, entering the country, combat and its aftermath, and returning home. It is told primarily from the standpoint of the "grunts." It is a tough read but, also, a must read for those who would like to gain a real feeling for what the war must have been like for those who were there. As the title implies, this book is an oral history. It covers all phases of the Vietnam War experience, including induction, basic training, entering the country, combat and its aftermath, and returning home. It is told primarily from the standpoint of the "grunts." It is a tough read but, also, a must read for those who would like to gain a real feeling for what the war must have been like for those who were there.

  22. 5 out of 5

    David

    This book is famazing for me. Actually it is the stories ofhttps://www.goodreads.com/search?utf8...# the soldiers relayed in the novel. Since leaving the Navy and become a priest my views have changed greatly. War solves no problems. Our youth die for no lasting reason. The men who declare war never seem to go or pay any type of price. I will stop my rant. The stories are gross on so many levels. This book is famazing for me. Actually it is the stories ofhttps://www.goodreads.com/search?utf8...# the soldiers relayed in the novel. Since leaving the Navy and become a priest my views have changed greatly. War solves no problems. Our youth die for no lasting reason. The men who declare war never seem to go or pay any type of price. I will stop my rant. The stories are gross on so many levels.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jody Nicholson

    I didn't know much about the Vietnam War before starting this book and I still have little knowledge of why it happened, but boy do I know about the experiences had by the contributors of this book. What an insight into what went on. How any veteran survived the 'real world' when they came back, I'll never know. I didn't know much about the Vietnam War before starting this book and I still have little knowledge of why it happened, but boy do I know about the experiences had by the contributors of this book. What an insight into what went on. How any veteran survived the 'real world' when they came back, I'll never know.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Was looking for the books I had bought as part of a college course in Vietnam many moons ago and apparently had only kept this one .... I remember how powerful the stories and personal testimonies were. It stayed with me for a long time. Keeping this on the “need to re-read” list.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    The book was an incredible insight into the Vietnam war, untold stories from different perspectives and angles or how it effected the war was for them - pre, during and post the war . It was my first book on the Vietnam war and was hard to put down

  26. 4 out of 5

    Laural Wallace

    Truly captivating, to read 1st hand accounts right out of the mouth of a NAM vet. From the stories of war to the stories of being home. Made you want to cry, and scream all within the same letter, story after story.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Harrowing but interesting read. What the hell happened to men over there? Also read Dispatches by Herr and Chickenhawk by Robert Mason for more true to life stories. Glad I read it, but wish I hadn't in a way. Harrowing but interesting read. What the hell happened to men over there? Also read Dispatches by Herr and Chickenhawk by Robert Mason for more true to life stories. Glad I read it, but wish I hadn't in a way.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Edmundo Munguia

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Brought back memories of that particular time. I can agree to some of what is in the book because I experienced some of it. I'll never forget the sacrifices of close friends during some of the worst years there. Brought back memories of that particular time. I can agree to some of what is in the book because I experienced some of it. I'll never forget the sacrifices of close friends during some of the worst years there.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sheri Chibnall

    I really liked this book, I wanted to because I just read a great story with two guys were back from Vietnam and was telling stories to a young Man. I found this book I really wanted to know more about Vietnam, I never knew much about it. I’m glad I did! NAM is very powerful and I recommend it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    George Bravo

    I was cleaning out my office when I came across a high school paper I wrote on this book. Looks like I enjoyed it.

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