From Publishers Weekly
There are two basic types of Vietnam War memoirs: embittered narratives written by those who see the war and their participation in it as a giant mistake, and gung-ho tales of derring-do by those who believe the conflict was a worthwhile endeavor. Black's effort falls squarely in the second category. A self-described "meat and potatoes guy," Black is a much-decorated, up-from-the-ranks retired army colonel who served honorably and well in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. His competently written memoir concentrates on his 1967-1968 Vietnam tour when he was a senior district adviser to the South Vietnamese Army in Long An Province southwest of Saigon. Black offers up a by-the-numbers account of his upbringing, his Korean War experience and his time in Vietnam, along with his ideas about why the American war effort floundered in Vietnam. He points accusatory fingers at "indecisive" American politicians for not allowing the U.S. military to wage all-out war against North Vietnam and at the American news media and antiwar movement for aiding and abetting the North Vietnamese and Vietcong. "Our own people were giving the enemy encouragement," Black complains. For many historians, these views (which are not uncommon among Black's peers) oversimplify matters. They do square, though, with a strain of patriotism in evidence since September 11.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Library Journal
Like many military memoirs, this book offers an insider's view of military life told with the hard-edged voice of a combat veteran. Black is a retired army colonel who served with distinction in both Korea and Vietnam. Here he describes military life and his various posts with the vivid, colorful language used by front-line soldiers, e.g., "Pusan had the smell of a giant latrine." He regales us with his time as an army ranger and how membership in that elite unit has shaped his life and career. What is lacking in his memoir is some theme to bridge the meanderings in his storytelling. Because Black writes with an aloof, almost arrogant tone, scarcely showing emotion, the reader will likely feel little sympathy with or connection to him. Whether these shortcomings are a result of writer, editor, or both, this memoir lacks the focus and clarity necessary to make it compelling. Recommended only for large military collections. Mike Miller, Dallas P.L
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.