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Steel My Soldiers' Hearts: The Hopeless to Hardcore Transformation of U.S. Army, 4th Battalion, 39th Infantry, Vietnam

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In January 1969, one of the most promising young lieutenant colonels the US Army had ever seen touched down in Vietnam for his second tour of duty, which would turn out to be his most daring and legendary. David H. Hackworth had just completed the writing of a tactical handbook for the Pentagon, and now he had been ordered to put his counterguerilla-fighting theories into a In January 1969, one of the most promising young lieutenant colonels the US Army had ever seen touched down in Vietnam for his second tour of duty, which would turn out to be his most daring and legendary. David H. Hackworth had just completed the writing of a tactical handbook for the Pentagon, and now he had been ordered to put his counterguerilla-fighting theories into action. He was given the morale-drained 4/39th—a battalion of poorly led draftees suffering the Army's highest casualty rate and considered its worst fighting battalion. Hackworth's hard-nosed, inventive and inspired leadership quickly turned the 4/39th into Vietnam's valiant and ferocious Hardcore Recondos. Drawing on interviews with soldiers from the Hardcore Battalion conducted over the past decade by his partner and coauthor, Eilhys England, Hackworth takes readers along on their sniper missions, ambush actions, helicopter strikes and inside the quagmire of command politics. With Steel My Soldiers' Hearts, Hackworth places the brotherhood of the 4/39th into the pantheon of our nation's most heroic warriors.


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In January 1969, one of the most promising young lieutenant colonels the US Army had ever seen touched down in Vietnam for his second tour of duty, which would turn out to be his most daring and legendary. David H. Hackworth had just completed the writing of a tactical handbook for the Pentagon, and now he had been ordered to put his counterguerilla-fighting theories into a In January 1969, one of the most promising young lieutenant colonels the US Army had ever seen touched down in Vietnam for his second tour of duty, which would turn out to be his most daring and legendary. David H. Hackworth had just completed the writing of a tactical handbook for the Pentagon, and now he had been ordered to put his counterguerilla-fighting theories into action. He was given the morale-drained 4/39th—a battalion of poorly led draftees suffering the Army's highest casualty rate and considered its worst fighting battalion. Hackworth's hard-nosed, inventive and inspired leadership quickly turned the 4/39th into Vietnam's valiant and ferocious Hardcore Recondos. Drawing on interviews with soldiers from the Hardcore Battalion conducted over the past decade by his partner and coauthor, Eilhys England, Hackworth takes readers along on their sniper missions, ambush actions, helicopter strikes and inside the quagmire of command politics. With Steel My Soldiers' Hearts, Hackworth places the brotherhood of the 4/39th into the pantheon of our nation's most heroic warriors.

30 review for Steel My Soldiers' Hearts: The Hopeless to Hardcore Transformation of U.S. Army, 4th Battalion, 39th Infantry, Vietnam

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    If you get me started on Vietnam you'll probably want me to stop before I'm through. What most Americans "think" they know about Nam they learned from Hollywood. Before I go on about the book let me say that the majority of troops were not spending most of their time high or smoking pot. Marijuana grew wild in the bush, it wasn't hard to come by. It also had (has)a distinctive smell that would bring all kinds of unwanted attention. Yes some did smoke, and other things and yes atrocities happen. If you get me started on Vietnam you'll probably want me to stop before I'm through. What most Americans "think" they know about Nam they learned from Hollywood. Before I go on about the book let me say that the majority of troops were not spending most of their time high or smoking pot. Marijuana grew wild in the bush, it wasn't hard to come by. It also had (has)a distinctive smell that would bring all kinds of unwanted attention. Yes some did smoke, and other things and yes atrocities happen. Yes My Lai was real. The problems in Nam went back mostly to the leadership. These things were also real. Rear Echelon Officers (REMFs...figure out the acronym) who sat on their butts while men died. Also read troops who managed to stay there in cushy billets. The war was fought by draftees who quickly learned that what they had to worry about was not winning the war but surviving and those who enlisted because they thought it was their duty. (there was also some friction between the two groups). The brass were concerned about numbers, they kept close track of body count. In Washington President Kennedy's people came up with a formula. X bullets fired should produce Y number of enemy killed. President Johnson stayed with that. You see we never set out to win a war. It is true that troops would die to take an objective and then headquarters would give it back only to order it taken again. The Vietcong would attack from cover and then fade into the population in general. A rice paddy full of black pajamas makes everyone look the same. Drop the AK47 and your gear and you look like everybody else. It brought about a very personal war. The Cong would tell the population, "see the Yankees kill any of you" as they hid among the population. So you got hatred on both sides. The Cong would attack from Cambodia then flee back across the border where American troops were forbidden to follow or even fire. No direct or indirect fire into Cambodia. Don't ask the CIA about Cambodia, if they tell you they have to kill you. So, now to this book. The Colonel is given command of an outfit which has a "poor" reputation. When he arrives he found it led as poorly as you could imagine. Morale is rock bottom and the discipline is so lax as to cause casualties. The camp was located "in" a mine field. The CP (Command Post) hunkered down in the center of the camp...beside a WW2 style ammo dump that could go up like the 4th of July with one RPG. There was artillery but no ammunition for it. The helicopter supposed to fly in the ammo instead had flown in the existing commander's white porta potty. The book follows Hackworth as he turns the 39th into a lean outfit that became one of the best and toughest in the Delta. Yes I recommend this book. I'd like you to go into it with open eyes and realize the most of the troops in Nam were good soldiers who fought to stay alive and to keep each other alive. The American troops won the battles but as cliched as it sounds they were never allowed or even meant to win the war. I'm glad to see that now almost 40 years after they were pulled out they are finally getting a little of the respect they are due.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michael Burnam-Fink

    Hackworth's story is one of leadership, about how to take a losing unit and turn them into winners through energy, training, and discipline. Inheriting a broken and despirited battalion, Hackworth went from a CO with a bounty on his head to commander of a crack team of killers. The lessons in this book are about esprit de corp, warfare, and how an organization rots from the top are universal. Unlike most of these war memoirs, Steel My Soldiers' Hearts has an antagonist, the careerist and incompet Hackworth's story is one of leadership, about how to take a losing unit and turn them into winners through energy, training, and discipline. Inheriting a broken and despirited battalion, Hackworth went from a CO with a bounty on his head to commander of a crack team of killers. The lessons in this book are about esprit de corp, warfare, and how an organization rots from the top are universal. Unlike most of these war memoirs, Steel My Soldiers' Hearts has an antagonist, the careerist and incompetent Colonel (later Major General) Ira Hunt, who interfered constantly in Hackworth's plans to the detriment of the ordinary soldiers in the battalion. The VC are a respected and crafty foe, but Hackworth has no time for the slow work of counter-insurgency. He's a master of light infantry tactics, and stealthy and brutal ambushes and patrols. For a layperson, this is a good intro to the chaos of airmobile operations. As a writer, Hackworthy is a pulpy as a freshly squeezed glass of politically incorrect orange juice. The book is far from a neutral account, but it's his story and he tells it with verve and gusto. New crazy Vietnam War moment: A helicopter taking out an AA gun in hand-to-hand combat. Just lean out and karate chop it down.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Peter Corrigan

    David Hackworth, a very highly decorated U.S. Army veteran of Korea and Vietnam wrote this about his time leading an infantry battalion in the 9th Infantry division. Action is mainly in the Mekong Delta in 1969. There are numerous actions described but hard to follow with no tactical maps (just front and end piece maps of the general area). Perhaps that was a conscious decision as Vietnam was rarely about specific terrain. If you have not read anything about Vietnam this is a good microcosm of t David Hackworth, a very highly decorated U.S. Army veteran of Korea and Vietnam wrote this about his time leading an infantry battalion in the 9th Infantry division. Action is mainly in the Mekong Delta in 1969. There are numerous actions described but hard to follow with no tactical maps (just front and end piece maps of the general area). Perhaps that was a conscious decision as Vietnam was rarely about specific terrain. If you have not read anything about Vietnam this is a good microcosm of the worst and best of that mess. Seems like such ancient history but those young warriors are honored here (except for most of the 'brass' which he brilliantly excoriates!). I read his memoir 'About Face' years ago. That book and this one should probably be required reading in infantry schools but I doubt they are. But at the very least the afterword, which distills his thoughts rather succinctly. Notable that he carried a copy of Sun-Tzu with him all the time having first read it in Korea after the Chinese entry.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nickson Kaigi

    This book is an expansion of a chapter from About Face: Odyssey Of An American Warrior As such, some stories are not new if you've already read About Face: Odyssey Of An American Warrior Nonetheless, this is one well written book by Hackworth, on his policy of how to "out-G-the-G." This is more about getting the story first hand from the grunts. By naming them in this book, and giving them a voice, Hackworth has immortalized this men. He emphasizes the basics of infantry soldiering. Cover the basic This book is an expansion of a chapter from About Face: Odyssey Of An American Warrior As such, some stories are not new if you've already read About Face: Odyssey Of An American Warrior Nonetheless, this is one well written book by Hackworth, on his policy of how to "out-G-the-G." This is more about getting the story first hand from the grunts. By naming them in this book, and giving them a voice, Hackworth has immortalized this men. He emphasizes the basics of infantry soldiering. Cover the basics, care for your men, be a leader! I enjoyed reading this.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Carina

    I don't think this is the 'best' book on the Vietnam war I have read but it is certainly interesting. Colonel Hackworth is a good writer and managed to make even boring details interesting. His description of battles is very good also - despite in some situations having numerous troops in a number of locations the descriptions of the battles were straight forward and relatively easy to understand. The Colonel certainly has a chip on his shoulder, so if you're looking for a non-biased view this mi I don't think this is the 'best' book on the Vietnam war I have read but it is certainly interesting. Colonel Hackworth is a good writer and managed to make even boring details interesting. His description of battles is very good also - despite in some situations having numerous troops in a number of locations the descriptions of the battles were straight forward and relatively easy to understand. The Colonel certainly has a chip on his shoulder, so if you're looking for a non-biased view this might not be it. That said his techniques in training the Hardcore are certainly interesting and I can see why he believes that many could learn from what he did in Vietnam - his epilogue and afterword regarding more recent wars gives you his thoughts on this matter. Although the focus of this book is on the 'grunts' and the great heroics and achievements that they do, their is always an undertone of ... not stupidity but stubbornness or blindness, or perhaps even short-mindedness of those in power in the army. I'm in the process of reading a book on the Boer War and the mistakes made by the British there seem to be repeated here (and as Hackworth says were also repeated in the Somme and numerous other wars). It is interesting to see such similar elements repeated in so many different wars and times but at the same time you do wish it weren't the case. Although this isn't the first book that I would recommend about this war I certainly enjoyed reading it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    John

    Col. Hackworth describes how he takes a rag-tag unit of ill-disciplined soldiers and turns them into an aggressive and extremely competent fighting force. I would highly recommend this book to anybody in a leadership position in the military. I would recommend reading "About Face" prior to this book. As people who read this without having read About Face may think "Hack" is arrogant, when in fact he is a very humble man, and his exceptional competence as a leader can be construed as arrogance th Col. Hackworth describes how he takes a rag-tag unit of ill-disciplined soldiers and turns them into an aggressive and extremely competent fighting force. I would highly recommend this book to anybody in a leadership position in the military. I would recommend reading "About Face" prior to this book. As people who read this without having read About Face may think "Hack" is arrogant, when in fact he is a very humble man, and his exceptional competence as a leader can be construed as arrogance that does not have the context of the man, given in About Face (AF). In AF he tells the reader of his triumphs and tribulations, it's not all flowers and sunshine, sometimes he got beat and made mistakes, and he admits to and learns from them. With AF as a solid foundation one can truly appreciate Steel My Soldiers Hearts. On a side note, don't be dissuaded by AF, it is lengthy but an entertaining, informative and educational read. One of my favorite books.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Keyes

    One of the best books on military leadership that I have read. Most military leadership books come off too much like an after action report, or are too seeped in memoirs that its a personal diary, but this find a good medium. It provides excellent lessons on how to lead. It provides entertaining stories. Thats really all you can look for in this genre. I can't give it a perfect score because he comes off too arrogant. Sure, he think's these other characters are X and Y and Z, but does everyone el One of the best books on military leadership that I have read. Most military leadership books come off too much like an after action report, or are too seeped in memoirs that its a personal diary, but this find a good medium. It provides excellent lessons on how to lead. It provides entertaining stories. Thats really all you can look for in this genre. I can't give it a perfect score because he comes off too arrogant. Sure, he think's these other characters are X and Y and Z, but does everyone else? He hands out a LOT of criticism but mentions almost none made about him except for comments that give him positive attributes. I read this book because of the Jocko podcast, and like the podcast, I would select the same parts to read or listen to if you are short on time- first 10 chapters or so and then the epilogue. the latter part is not as elucidating as the first part of the book when he assumes the leadership role.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Monical

    Interesting but disturbing book about the Army in Vietnam, which can equally be applied to armed forces activities today. As they say, what a [email protected]#&%! And we are now planning on spending even more of our tax dollars to support the bloated and inept military. I also am increasingly against the "volunteer" army-- if everyone had children or relatives at risk, and everyone could see how ridiculously the military is run, there would be much less opportunity for continuing the farce. And how easi Interesting but disturbing book about the Army in Vietnam, which can equally be applied to armed forces activities today. As they say, what a [email protected]#&%! And we are now planning on spending even more of our tax dollars to support the bloated and inept military. I also am increasingly against the "volunteer" army-- if everyone had children or relatives at risk, and everyone could see how ridiculously the military is run, there would be much less opportunity for continuing the farce. And how easily the rest of us will sacrifice the (relatively faceless) few who are willing to shoulder the burden, starting with our cowardly Commander Bone Spur. This book should be required reading for everyone in Congress and the White House.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Mullen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book is precious and needs to be read by every military leader from the top to the bottom. It features LTC Hackworth turning the 4-39 “Hardcore Battalion” from getting their butts kicked by insurgents to an effective counterinsurgency fighting force. LTC Hackworth highlights his struggles with upper echelon leaders and their obsession with World War 2 tactics. Even after the Hardcore begins to crush the enemy, the upper echelon leaders only care about body count that make themselves look go This book is precious and needs to be read by every military leader from the top to the bottom. It features LTC Hackworth turning the 4-39 “Hardcore Battalion” from getting their butts kicked by insurgents to an effective counterinsurgency fighting force. LTC Hackworth highlights his struggles with upper echelon leaders and their obsession with World War 2 tactics. Even after the Hardcore begins to crush the enemy, the upper echelon leaders only care about body count that make themselves look good. This is a brutally honest take on the Vietnam conflict. One of my favorite books to this day. It takes a lot to stand up for what is right and that is what COL Hackworth did.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Derek

    An easy read albeit small type face. I hope this becomes a timeless classic as what Hackworth writes about isn’t just analogous to war and soldiering but also to life. As I read through the book I couldn’t help but reflect on so many great insights into human nature and how things really work (or don’t). I came away with a new appreciation of the brutality of war, reinforcement of my views on leadership and a sense that even Hackworth knew he was flawed yet lived by a personal code that he believ An easy read albeit small type face. I hope this becomes a timeless classic as what Hackworth writes about isn’t just analogous to war and soldiering but also to life. As I read through the book I couldn’t help but reflect on so many great insights into human nature and how things really work (or don’t). I came away with a new appreciation of the brutality of war, reinforcement of my views on leadership and a sense that even Hackworth knew he was flawed yet lived by a personal code that he believes saved many lives in Vietnam.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kevinch417

    This is my favorite book about Vietnam. It's told from David Hackworth's personal experiences and gives you a great idea of the vocabulary, mindsets, and so on of the soldiers. Hackworth is highly critical of the military leadership during the Vietnam War and their inflated body counts. I recommend this to everyone I know that has any interest in military history. This is my favorite book about Vietnam. It's told from David Hackworth's personal experiences and gives you a great idea of the vocabulary, mindsets, and so on of the soldiers. Hackworth is highly critical of the military leadership during the Vietnam War and their inflated body counts. I recommend this to everyone I know that has any interest in military history.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Should be required reading for every war college and anywhere else leaders are trained. The epilogue especially drives home the lessons learned, and partially forgotten, and the relevance in today’s world.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sloan

    Incredible book that showcases the power of leadership and the awesome story of taking ownership of a team and leading them to great success. I believe this should be required reading for everyone, but especially for folks that are interested in being a better leader or even a better follower.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marian Zeic

    A great book from a great leader respected by his superiors, loved by his grunts and a nuisance to incompetent people in the chain of comment. The story is very uplifting with great takeaways for especially for leaders military or civilian.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Andy Weiss

    Danny had me read this.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Teemu Suoranta

    Great account on how Vietnam should have been fought, many issues of US army and some leadership lessons.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Miles Keane

    An amazing book about leadership and a MUST READ for anyone looking to be an infantry officer.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

    One of my favorite books. David Hackworth was an incredible leader.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jurgen Rose

    Always had an affinity for COL David Hackworth. A great warrior who never compromised his ideals.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Great history leadership book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Honk Honkerson

    As a complete foreigner to the Vienam war this was interesting to see though American eyes. The principles of leadership and command are quite interesting too. Read Sun Tzu.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nathan O'Connell

    The grit, determination and mastering of the battlefield all come to light in this book. A great read for any aspiring leader. Always remember the importance of the man on the ground.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Walter Valkema

    Good read, some good principles to learn, respect the story and principles but a little to detailed for me, lots of acronyms and military jargon lost on me

  24. 4 out of 5

    Josh Berry

    Brilliant story of the transformation of the worst the worst unit in the entire US army in the Vietnam to be best.... not to mention they were all made up of draftees.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bob Schmitz

    One of the best books I have read about the Vietnam war. Colonel David Hackworth, a decorated Korean vet wrote the book on the way to successfully fight the Viet Cong. This is a story of battlefield tactics, and leadership as well as an unvarnished view of a grunts life in the war and mud of Viet Nam. Prior to taking command of the U.S. Army’s 9th Division, 4th Battalion, 39th Infantry Hackworth had written a primer for soldiers on guerrilla warfare. It was basically ignored. In the Spring of 19 One of the best books I have read about the Vietnam war. Colonel David Hackworth, a decorated Korean vet wrote the book on the way to successfully fight the Viet Cong. This is a story of battlefield tactics, and leadership as well as an unvarnished view of a grunts life in the war and mud of Viet Nam. Prior to taking command of the U.S. Army’s 9th Division, 4th Battalion, 39th Infantry Hackworth had written a primer for soldiers on guerrilla warfare. It was basically ignored. In the Spring of 1967 when he given a battalion command he used these training and tactics to turn a sorry bunch of poorly lead soldiers getting killed regularly into highly motivated and effective jungle unit. Taking over the battalion he began with 2 rules: #1 At all times wear helmets and have guns with you and spotless. #2 Reverse the anti-war graffiti covered cloth covers on the helmets. The inside of the of the cover was brown and there was push back as it was less camouflaged than the green. Hackworth felt the anti-war graffiti was more disheartening and insisted. Eventually the soldiers viewed their brown helmets as a sign of belonging to an elite group and the Viet Cong greatly feared the "Brown Helmets." Initially he was hated by his battalion and in fact had a price on his head which rose to nearly 10K. He thought it was not enough. This hatred gradually changed to adoration especially after Hackworth landed his command helicopter and personally went out in fire to drag a wounded soldier to safety. Hackworth removed comfort privileges for himself and the staff. They lived, ate and slept like the grunts. Hackworth send his troops out for long multiple night missions. He stopped providing hot meals and fresh water insisting that his soldiers learn to live off the land, and "out guerrilla the guerrillas." The soldiers would land by helicopter set up camp and then move after dark to ambush the ambushers. They left "stay-behinds" to re-ambush the Viet Cong when they returned to pick up their dead. They would fake landings, touch down and then fly off to another part. Hackworth wrote this book long after leaving Viet Nam and interviewed many of the soldiers in his command to get their insights, opinions and recollections of the time. The various views of a single situation is interesting. The book does not whitewash the American army nor his battalion. It describes officers making terrible decisions from incompetence to cowardice. It includes the killing of women and civilians. It describes officers and men going crazy mentally in battle. Hackworth describes the incompetent, self-serving nature of many in the military high command then and now. He also describes specific individual acts of unbelievable bravery and love. Towards the end of his command Hackworth received intelligence of a battalion size VC offensive being planned in his area. He surmised the likely infiltration routes and assembly areas and the likely start date. He meticulously planned a perimeter of blocking positions and focused bombing and ground attacks to drive the Viet Cong into these positions. The assault went off as planned and he effectively destroyed an enemy battalion. Years later he talked with the VC commander who verified his assessment. 4 months after taking command Hackworth disobeyed orders to keep his command helicopter high above the battle, a rule he rarely followed. He was wounded an EIGHTH time(8 purple hearts) and was relived against his desires. He was offered a non-field position and refused as commanding men in the field was the only thing he wanted to do. On leaving the battalion he was carried aloft by his soldiers.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gary Tepool

    Great book. Very basic level discription of what actual soldiers did.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Stingray

    David Hackworth’s „Steel my soldier’s hearts“ is a belligerent, controversial and polarizing account of Hackworth’s actions to turn the 4th Battalion 39th Infantry Regiment from a poorly lead security force into an effective fighting organization despite a mismanaged war and a leadership detached from reality. The author here is anything if not a controversial figure and despite his prior experiences in combat and leading a battalion of the 101st Division in Vietnam the reader quickly gets the im David Hackworth’s „Steel my soldier’s hearts“ is a belligerent, controversial and polarizing account of Hackworth’s actions to turn the 4th Battalion 39th Infantry Regiment from a poorly lead security force into an effective fighting organization despite a mismanaged war and a leadership detached from reality. The author here is anything if not a controversial figure and despite his prior experiences in combat and leading a battalion of the 101st Division in Vietnam the reader quickly gets the impression of a presumptuous character, quick to judge the people around him. And although this impression never quite goes away, Hackworth’s story has been under such scrutiny, that it is to be assumed, things really were this bad and he actually did, what he writes about. Keeping this in mind the book is written authentically and with many individual scenes of action described but also many measures and anecdotes only military professionals will appreciate. Hackworth’s story begins with him taking command over the 4th Battalion 39th Infantry Regiment, which is assessed by its command to be completely ineffective. Hackworth finds the units base set up in a minefield producing new casualties every day. As the former commander apparently did not show much leadership the rest of the book depicts the author’s measures to reinstate discipline, select leaders able to fight and to introduce new tactics to make the unit more effective and reduce casualties. Here it is noteworthy how a better focus on discipline and training turns around the unit and its tactical situation with more initiated contacts, ambush patrols and the use of snipers. Although Hackworth is quiet successful on all accounts his unconventional methods and outspoken criticism of his superiors earn him their wrath and many interferences for his unit, which in the end is one of the first combat units to redeploy to the United States. This is one of several books depicting how unit commanders had to pick up the pieces after bad officers had been given a combat command they likely never had held under normal conditions. Although Hackworth’s measures are neither timid nor risk averse they do stand out as professional tactics against the mere ignorant management by quota his brigade and division leadership appears to conduct. While the reader does not have to like the author or his attitude this is an interesting and enlightening book on the Vietnam War showing much of what went wrong and providing many lessons of what could have been done better, with inspiring and professional leadership on all levels.

  28. 5 out of 5

    James

    One of the best books I have read

  29. 5 out of 5

    Scott Morris

    Loved this book, and the raw honest telling of the story by Hack. It was engrossing from start to finish. Rough in parts to see what people had/have to go through...but inspiring. Great leadership lessons throughout as was highlighted by @jockowillink on his podcast.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jared

    This book was a very good representation of how army life was and still is today. It shows that your leaders are not always the people you think they should be, and shows how a good leader doesn't just yell you orders he also supports your decisions. This book features a 1st person view of Colonel David H. Hackworth (U.S Army Ret.) and how he took a hopeless team of citizen soldiers and turned them into the hardcore and most feared soldiers of Vietnam. It also shows that the Army had very uniq This book was a very good representation of how army life was and still is today. It shows that your leaders are not always the people you think they should be, and shows how a good leader doesn't just yell you orders he also supports your decisions. This book features a 1st person view of Colonel David H. Hackworth (U.S Army Ret.) and how he took a hopeless team of citizen soldiers and turned them into the hardcore and most feared soldiers of Vietnam. It also shows that the Army had very unique characters, no man was identical. When you read this book you will meet many American Heroes who do not have much in common except that they wear the same flag. Even though none have much more common then that this book proves that they would give their lives’ for each other to keep them safe, this proves that though there different and have different families they are true blood-brothers. Vietnam is a hell hole to the grunt soldiers who fought there, it’s a very rainy and muddy area, this caused death by disease and hypo-thermion very common. This book goes to great lengths to not just explain why they fought, but HOW they fought, it shows you that a grunts greatest threat wasn’t a Charlie (slang for Viet cong enemies) but usually a claymore or booby trap scattered among the dangerous woods that cover Vietnam's landscape, the tactics used in Vietnam were very ineffective for those who, unlike the Colonel didn't evolve and cost many mans lives. This book WILL change your view on what Vietnam really was and hopefully you will learn that not all wars are worth fighting. This is my first of hopefully many more posts, and I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.-Jared Bruski

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