I've served a combat tour in Vietnam in the same "AO" that this takes place and learned to depend on the ability of our forces to airlift everything from reinforcements to fuel and water.
This saga was really interesting to me to see how recent the advent of the air cavalry was and how it effected the battle. I witnessed it firsthand and enjoyed reading it even more.
In terms of books on battles/war, this book is one of the best I have ever read. I believe that, rather than being written by a historian who may over-romanticize events, it was written by the commander on the ground. Adding to that is the fact that there are a lot of first-hand accounts by the soldiers involved. This story is told honestly and up-close and you feel like you are there with the men as they fight for their lives. If this genre is an interest to you, this is a book you have to read.
In November 1965, some 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 landing zones X-Ray and Albany constitute one of the most savage and significant battles of the Vietnam War.
The Americans faces what seemed to be certain destruction. How these men perservered-sacrificed themselves for their comrades and never gave up-makes a vivid portrait of war at its most inspiring and devastating. General Moore and Joe Galloway, the only journalist on the ground throughout the fighting, have interviewed hundreds of men who fought there, including the North Vietnamese commanders. The result is a story of unparalleled human interest.
We Were Soldiers Once...and Young also brings the war back home with unforgettable stories of those who lost family members to combat. This devastating accout 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 endeavor.
A very powerful story that hits home because it's real, not fiction. Having seen the movie, and knowing books are able to cover much more depth, I decided to read it. I was not disappointed. Being a Vietnam era veteran ('66 - '70) but never stationed in country, reading this was a way for me to try and better understand what our troops went through on the ground. The bravery shown by all involved really came through. I later read a 9/11 related book called "Heart of a Soldier" written about the efforts of Mr. Rick Rescorla who was responsible for saving so many of his co-workers lives that day only to lose his own. Mr. Rescorla fought in the battle of Ia Drang valley and is the soldier shown on the cover of We were Soldiers.
After seeing the motion picture of this story, I knew I had to read the book. I was not disappointed. In my opinion. Vietnam is a war we must remember. This story, about so many heroic soldiers and their bravery and sacrifices is one that is hard to forget.
If you only read one book on the war in Vietnam, read this one. It's impossible to capture the reality of combat on the pages of a book, but this is as good as it gets because the author was there and experienced it. A sad, but inspirational tribute to the American soldiers who survived and died on that worthless patch of ground nearly 50 years ago. This is a classic that will always be on my bookshelf.
LTC Hal Moore's story of the training, combat, and events after the Ia Drang battle offers a first hand account of a pivotal point in US military history. While I found the development and implementation of air assault to be fairly interesting, Moore's narrative seemed to be a bit to simple for me. Don't get me wrong, its an easy read and a great story, but it just seemed like one long 'interview' style documentary. Mel Gibson's movie oversimplifies many aspects, but condenses the book adequately.
Got this book for my husband, who gives it 5 stars. Well written and he thought a good reflection of how it was during the Vietnam War.
Now he's taken it to the office to share with others, we love this book club.
On Nov. 14, 1965, the 1st Battalion of the 7th Cavalry, commanded by Lt. Col. Moore and accompanied by UPI reporter Galloway, helicoptered into Vietnam's remote Ia Drang Valley and found itself surrounded by a numerically superior force of North Vietnamese regulars. Moore and Galloway here offer a detailed account, based on interviews with participants and on their own recollections, of what happened during the four-day battle. Much more than a conventional battle study, the book is a frank record of the emotional reactions of the GIs to the terror and horror of this violent and bloody encounter. Both sides claimed victory, the U.S. calling it a validation of the newly developed doctrine of airmobile warfare. Supplemented with maps, the memoir is a vivid re-creation of the first major ground battle of the Vietnam War. Photos.
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY REVIEW
In November 1965, some 450 men of the 1st Battalion, 7th cavalry, under the command of Lt. Col. Hal Moore, were dropped into a small clearing in the la Drang Valley. They were immediately surrounded by 2,000 North Vietnamese soldiers. Three days later, only tow and a half miles away, a sister battalion was chopped to pieces. Together, these events constituted one fo the most savage and significant battles of the Vietnam War. Told by the commander of the battalion and the only journalist on the ground through the fighting, this is the devastating, yet inspiring, story of those soldiers who sacrificed themselves for their comrades and never gave up.