Synopses & Reviews
The inspiring, true story of a top soldier who survived Jim Crow only to land in a struggle for survival beside his racist white captain after they were downed in Vietnam
Raised in the segregated South, Ezell Ware was determined to excel beyond the lines drawn by white power brokers. He became the top recruit in his Marine training class; having grown up without running water, electricity, or sufficient food, he wasnt daunted by military life. He eventually earned a chance to join the Armys helicopter pilot program, realizing his dream of flying. It was a role that would change his life, and the life of an unlikely partner in valor at the height of the Vietnam War.
Downed by enemy fire while on a mission over thick jungles, Ware and his badly injured captain endured a three-week descent into hell, with one canteen and little defense against countless deadly forces. But when his captain revealed his membership in the Ku Klux Klan, their situation took a turn that surprised them bothand put Ezell on the road to becoming a general.
A unique memoir of heroism and humanity, By Duty Bound captures a crucial chapter in American history through the eyes of one of its most remarkable witnesses.
"A self-proclaimed military 'lifer' and one of the few black pilots with the army's 61st Helicopter Assault Company, retired California National Guard General Ware Jr. has an intriguing story to tell, and with journalist Engel he has produced a mostly compelling autobiography. Well-observed accounts of growing up poor and black in 1950s rural Mississippi and of Ware's eventful, combat-heavy first tour in Vietnam are matched by a stirring recounting of the three weeks Ware and another army helicopter pilot spent evading the enemy in the jungles after being shot down. Chronological chapters alternate with short, first-person interludes sketching those hellish weeks Ware spent avoiding the enemy and nearly starving to death. Adding to the drama: Ware discovered that his fellow pilot who suffered a severe leg wound in the helicopter crash was a card-carrying member of the Ku Klux Klan. Less revealing and less interesting are Ware's by-the-numbers chapters on his army training, including flight school, further hindered by poorly reconstructed dialogue. Also in the minus category is Ware's political analysis; if the United States hadn't intervened in Vietnam 'the imperial communist powers' would 'have continued to grab countries.' But anyone with a taste for life behind the lines will want this book." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Ezell Ware, Jr., recently retired as a Brigadier General with the California National Guard, after a distinguished Marine and Army career for which he was highly decorated.
A journalist for The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, Joel Engel coauthored By George (the New York Times bestselling autobiography of George Foreman) as well The Oldest Rookie, the book that became The Rookie, starring Dennis Quaid.