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ISBN: 9780552150262


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We Were Soldiers Once...and Young

The Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam

by Harold G. Moore , By (author) Joseph L. Galloway

Category: True Stories / General
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Publication date: 1 March 2002
Number of pages: 528

In November 1965, 450 men of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, under the command of Lt.Col. Hal Moore, were dropped by helicopter into a small clearing in the Ia Drang Valley. They were immediately surrounded by 2,000 North Vietnamese soldiers. Three days later, only two and a half miles away, a sister battalion was chopped to pieces. Together, these actions at the landing zones X-Ray and Albany constituted one of the most savage and significant battles of the Vietnam War. How these men persevered - sacrificed themselves for their comrades and never gave up - makes a vivid portrait of war at its most inspiring and devastating. General Moore and Joseph Galloway, the only journalist on the ground throughout the fighting, have interviewed hundreds of men who fought there, including the North Vietnamese commanders. This devastating account rises above the specific ordeal it chronicles to present a picture of men facing the ultimate challenge, dealing with it in ways they would have found unimaginable only a few hours earlier. It reveals to us, as rarely before, man's most heroic and horrendous endeavour.

There are plenty of war memoirs out there but Lt Gen Moore's account of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry's fierce battles in the Ia Drang valley in Vietnam stands out as a polished, intense and informative piece of work. The subject material is fascinating in itself. Moore's unit was involved in the first major clash between Viet Cong and US forces, as the two sides faced up to each other and tried to learn the tactics that would bring them victory. Unfortunately for Moore's unit, this meant dropping by helicopter into a Viet Cong infested area in November 1965, becoming completely surrounded, and being forced to fight for survival against superior enemy forces. Drawing mainly on Moore's recollections, official documents and reports and the memories of dozens of US and Vietnamese soldiers and officers, the finer details of weapons and tactics will satisfy the serious military historian looking to study infantry combat. But it is the human stories that draw the reader's attention. Oral histories, which play such a major role in compiling combat studies, are intriguing by their very personal nature, and the recollections of American and Vietnamese soldiers are used here to great effect to highlight key moments of the fighting. The book successfully conveys something of the terror and exhilaration of being a young soldier in combat against a determined foe. Countless tales of heroism and fear are the real heart of this book, along with gruesome details of injury and death. The level of detail, large array of personalities and fast-moving action make reading this book difficult at times. Although they occasionally lapse into jingoism, Moore and Galloway deserve credit for meticulous research and for making an effort to study the wider political context of the fighting and events from the enemy's point of view. (Kirkus UK)

What the papers say:
"Between experiencing combat and reading about it lies a vast chasm. This book makes you almost smell it" Wall Street Journal "A stunning achievement... I read it and thought of The Red Badge of Courage, the highest compliment I can think of" -- David Halberstam "The best account of infantry combat I have ever read, and the most significant book to come out of the Vietnam War" -- Colonel David Hackworth "There are stories here that freeze the blood... The men who fought at Ia Drang could have no finer memorial" The New York Times Book Review "If you want to know what is was like to go to Vietnam as a young American... and find yourself caught in ferocious, remorseless combat with an enemy as courageous and idealistic as you were, then you must read this book. Moore and Galloway have captured the terror and exhilaration, the comradeship and self-sacrifice, the brutality and compassion that are the dark heart of war" The Times

Author's Biography:
Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore retired from the Army as a 3 Star General in 1977 with over 32 years active service. Commissioned a 2nd Lt of Infantry in 1945, he served and commanded at all levels from Platoon through Division. After his retirement from active duty in 1977, Hal became the Executive Vice President of the Crested Butte Ski Area in Crested Butte, CO. During the '80s and early '90s, he researched and wrote a book, We Were Soldiers Once...and Young with his co-author, Joe Galloway then of US News and World Report. The book covers the first major battle of the Vietnam War, the Ia Drang Battle, in which both men participated. Hal was the Battalion Commander on the ground and Joe was a UPI correspondent. Joe Galloway is a native Texan. At seventeen, he was a reporter on a daily newspaper, at nineteen a bureau chief for United Press International. he spent fifteen years as a foreign and war correspondent based in Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, Singapore, and the Soviet Union. After UPI service in Los Angeles, he spent several years as a feature and Senior Writer in Washington, DC with US News and World Report.

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