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A Rumor of War

by

A Rumor of War Cover

ISBN13: 9780805046953
ISBN10: 080504695x
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The classic Vietnam memoir, as relevant today as it was almost thirty years ago.
 
In March of 1965, Marine Lieutenent Philip J. Caputo landed at Da Nang with the first ground combat unit deployed to Vietnam. Sixteen months later, having served on the line in one of modern historys ugliest wars, he returned homephysically whole but emotionally wasted, his youthful idealism forever gone.

A Rumor of War is more than one soldiers story. Upon its publication in 1977, it shattered Americas indifference to the fate of the men sent to fight in the jungles of Vietnam. In the years since then, it has become not only a basic text on the Vietnam War but also a renowned classic in the literature of wars throughout history and, as Caputo explains, of “the things men do in war and the things war does to men.”

“A singular and marvelous work.” The New York Times

 

After serving in Vietnam, Philip Caputo worked at the Chicago Tribune, where he was part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team of journalists covering election fraud. He went on to become a correspondent covering the Middle East and the Soviet Union. Caputo also has written six novels and a second volume of memoir. He divides his time between Connecticut and Arizona.

When it first appeared, A Rumor of War brought home to American readers, with terrifying vividness and honesty, the devastating effects of the Vietnam War on the soldiers who fought there. And while it is a memoir of one young man's experiences and therefore deeply personal, it is also a book that speaks powerfully to today's students about the larger themes of human conscience, good and evil, and the desperate extremes men are forced to confront in any war.

A platoon commander in the first combat unit sent to fight in Vietnam, Lieutenant Caputo landed at Danang on March 8, 1965, convinced that American forces would win a quick and decisive victory over the Communists. Sixteen months later and without ceremony, Caputo left Vietnam a shell-shocked veteran whose youthful idealism and faith in the rightness of the war had been utterly shattered. A Rumor of War tells the story of that trajectory and allows us to see and feel the reality of the conflict as the author himself experienced it, from the weeks of tedium hacking through scorching jungles, to the sudden violence of ambushes and firefights, to the unbreakable bonds of friendship forged between soldiers, and finally to a sense of the war as having no purpose other than the fight for survival. The author gives us a precise, tactile view of both the emotional and physical reality of war.

When Caputo is reassigned to headquarters as "Officer in Charge of the Dead," he chronicles the psychological cost of witnessing and recording the human toll of the war. And after his voluntary transfer to the frontlines, Caputo shows us that the major weapons of guerrilla fighting are booby traps and land mines, and that success is measured not in feet but in body counts. Nor does the author shrink from admitting the intoxicating intensity of combat, an experience so compelling that many soldiers felt nostalgic for it years after they'd left Vietnam. Most troubling, Caputo gives us an unflinching view not only of remarkable bravery and heroism but also of the atrocities committed in Vietnam by ordinary men so numbed by fear and desperate to survive that their moral distinctions had collapsed.

More than a statement against war, Caputo's memoir offers readers today a profoundly visceral sense of what war is and, as the author says, of "the things men do in war and the things war does to men."

This edition includes a twentieth-anniversary postscript by the author.

“To call it the best book about Vietnam is to trivialize it . . . A Rumor of War is a dangerous and even subversive book, the first to insistand the insistence is all the more powerful because it is implicitthat the reader ask himself these questions: How would I have acted? To what lengths would I have gone to survive? The sense of self is assaulted, overcome, subverted, leaving the reader to contemplate the deadening possibility that his own moral safety net might have a hole in it. It is a terrifying thought, and A Rumor of War is a terrifying book.”John Gregory Dunne, Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Caputos troubled, searching meditations on the love and hate of war, on fear, and the ambivalent discord warfare can create in the hearts of decent men, are among the most eloquent I have read in modern literature.”William Styron, The New York Review of Books

“Every war seems to find its own voice: Caputo . . . is an eloquent spokesman for all we lost in Vietnam.”C. D. B. Bryan, Saturday Review

“A book that must be read and rereadif for no other reason than as an eloquent statement against war. It is a superb book.”Terry Anderson, Denver Post

“This is news that goes beyond what the journalists brought us, news from the heart of darkness. It was long overdue.”Newsweek

“Not since Siegfried Sassoon's classic of World War I, Memoirs of an Infantry Officer, has there been a war memoir so obviously true, and so disturbingly honest.”William Broyles, Texas Monthly

Review:

"This is news that goes beyond what the journalists brought us, news from the heart of darkness. It was long overdue." Newsweek

Synopsis:

The classic Vietnam memoir, as relevant today as it was almost thirty years ago. In March of 1965, Marine Lieutenent Philip J. Caputo landed at Da Nang with the first ground combat unit deployed to Vietnam. Sixteen months later, having served on the line in one of modern history's ugliest wars, he returned home--physically whole but emotionally wasted, his youthful idealism forever gone.

"A Rumor of War" is more than one soldier's story. Upon its publication in 1977, it shattered America's indifference to the fate of the men sent to fight in the jungles of Vietnam. In the years since then, it has become not only a basic text on the Vietnam War but also a renowned classic in the literature of wars throughout history and, as Caputo explains, of "the things men do in war and the things war does to men."

"A singular and marvelous work." --"The New York Times"

The classic Vietnam memoir, as relevant today as it was almost thirty years ago. In March of 1965, Marine Lieutenent Philip J. Caputo landed at Da Nang with the first ground combat unit deployed to Vietnam. Sixteen months later, having served on the line in one of modern history's ugliest wars, he returned home--physically whole but emotionally wasted, his youthful idealism forever gone.

"A Rumor of War" is more than one soldier's story. Upon its publication in 1977, it shattered America's indifference to the fate of the men sent to fight in the jungles of Vietnam. In the years since then, it has become not only a basic text on the Vietnam War but also a renowned classic in the literature of wars throughout history and, as Caputo explains, of "the things men do in war and the things war does to men."

"A singular and marvelous work." --"The New York Times"


Synopsis:

The classic Vietnam memoir, as relevant today as it was almost thirty years ago.

In March of 1965, Marine Lieutenent Philip J. Caputo landed at Da Nang with the first ground combat unit deployed to Vietnam. Sixteen months later, having served on the line in one of modern history's ugliest wars, he returned home--physically whole but emotionally wasted, his youthful idealism forever gone.

A Rumor of War is more than one soldier's story. Upon its publication in 1977, it shattered America's indifference to the fate of the men sent to fight in the jungles of Vietnam. In the years since then, it has become not only a basic text on the Vietnam War but also a renowned classic in the literature of wars throughout history and, as Caputo explains, of "the things men do in war and the things war does to men."

"A singular and marvelous work." --The New York Times

About the Author

Philip Caputo worked nine years for the Chicago Tribune and shared a Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for his reporting on election fraud in Chicago. The author of seven works of fiction and a second volume of memoir, he divides his time between Connecticut and Arizona.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

crowyhead, July 2, 2008 (view all comments by crowyhead)
This is a magnificent memoir of one man's tour of duty in Vietnam. Caputo was part of the first ground combat unit committed to fight in Vietnam, and thus his memoir begins with youthful idealism and the idea that Vietnam would be a "splendid little war" that would be over quickly. Caputo lost his innocence along with the rest of the nation over the course of his sixteen month tour of duty, and the book is a stunning look at how war can change and age a young man. It also highlights the painful contradictions that every soldier experienced daily. One of the most evocative images for me was Caputo's story of seeing a young soldier angrily set fire to a hut in a village suspected to be populated with VC sympathizers. Seconds later, that same Marine turned around, raced into the same burning hut, and rescued a civilian. Caputo's point seems to be that some soldiers are good men, and some are not, but most often they are a mix of the two. It's not an apology for the war, nor is it an antiwar polemic; instead, it is one man's story.
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sgf5, January 14, 2008 (view all comments by sgf5)
It amazes me that this was published only two years after the war ended, 30 years ago, and it is just as contemporary as if it was written yesterday. Not that I'm an expert, but this has to be one of the best war memoirs ever written. In 2050, it will still be relevant. More than just a recount of being a soldier in the Vietnam War, it made me feel it like I was there, and then, feel along with the narrator, the author, the emotional, mental, and moral anguish that fighting on the front lines of a war induces.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780805046953
Author:
Caputo, Philip
Publisher:
Henry Holt & Company
Location:
New York :
Subject:
Biography
Subject:
Historical - U.S.
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Military
Subject:
Military - Vietnam War
Subject:
Soldiers
Subject:
Soldiers -- United States -- Biography.
Subject:
General History
Subject:
Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Subject:
Biography-Military
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st Owl Book ed.
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
19961131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.50 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » Historical
Biography » Military
History and Social Science » Military » Vietnam War
History and Social Science » World History » General

A Rumor of War Used Trade Paper
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$7.95 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Henry Holt & Company - English 9780805046953 Reviews:
"Review" by , "This is news that goes beyond what the journalists brought us, news from the heart of darkness. It was long overdue."
"Synopsis" by , The classic Vietnam memoir, as relevant today as it was almost thirty years ago. In March of 1965, Marine Lieutenent Philip J. Caputo landed at Da Nang with the first ground combat unit deployed to Vietnam. Sixteen months later, having served on the line in one of modern history's ugliest wars, he returned home--physically whole but emotionally wasted, his youthful idealism forever gone.

"A Rumor of War" is more than one soldier's story. Upon its publication in 1977, it shattered America's indifference to the fate of the men sent to fight in the jungles of Vietnam. In the years since then, it has become not only a basic text on the Vietnam War but also a renowned classic in the literature of wars throughout history and, as Caputo explains, of "the things men do in war and the things war does to men."

"A singular and marvelous work." --"The New York Times"

The classic Vietnam memoir, as relevant today as it was almost thirty years ago. In March of 1965, Marine Lieutenent Philip J. Caputo landed at Da Nang with the first ground combat unit deployed to Vietnam. Sixteen months later, having served on the line in one of modern history's ugliest wars, he returned home--physically whole but emotionally wasted, his youthful idealism forever gone.

"A Rumor of War" is more than one soldier's story. Upon its publication in 1977, it shattered America's indifference to the fate of the men sent to fight in the jungles of Vietnam. In the years since then, it has become not only a basic text on the Vietnam War but also a renowned classic in the literature of wars throughout history and, as Caputo explains, of "the things men do in war and the things war does to men."

"A singular and marvelous work." --"The New York Times"


"Synopsis" by ,
The classic Vietnam memoir, as relevant today as it was almost thirty years ago.

In March of 1965, Marine Lieutenent Philip J. Caputo landed at Da Nang with the first ground combat unit deployed to Vietnam. Sixteen months later, having served on the line in one of modern history's ugliest wars, he returned home--physically whole but emotionally wasted, his youthful idealism forever gone.

A Rumor of War is more than one soldier's story. Upon its publication in 1977, it shattered America's indifference to the fate of the men sent to fight in the jungles of Vietnam. In the years since then, it has become not only a basic text on the Vietnam War but also a renowned classic in the literature of wars throughout history and, as Caputo explains, of "the things men do in war and the things war does to men."

"A singular and marvelous work." --The New York Times

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