A Rumor of War ranks up there with Gen. Harold Moore's, "We Were Soldiers Once and Young," and Col. David Hackworth's, "About Face." All three show how debates that raged in Washington, Paris, Saigon, and Hanoi were ultimately scored. Whether you were a "hawk or a dove," a liberal or a conservative, a professor or student, you will benefit from reading this book that answers the question authoritatively: "Hey! What was Vietnam really like?"
Philip Caputo has written a timeless testament to the men who leave their homes to kill and die in strange lands; and of the things that grow and perish within themselves.
Caputo describes "the splendid little war" as his road from an enthusiastic idealist poisoned by the romanticized view of war as a chivalrous and noble enterprise to the dehumanized and desensitized wreck that he becomes during his tour in Vietnam. The book is an amazing testimony about the true nature of war with all its atrocities and horrors. Caputo brilliantly captures the endless despair of being strained in the jungle with no clear reason for being there, the hopeless madness of chasing the guerillas and the agony of loosing friends. But the most important aspect of this book is that it shows how a normal mentally healthy person can be turned into a thoughtless killing machine in the course of a few months, fast on the trigger, without any remorse for his victims. Caputo uses very strong and vivid images such as "pigs eating napalm-charred human corpses" to force the reader into his story and feel what Caputo has felt. Very realistic book that cannot leave you indifferent, definitely up there with Remarque's "All quiet on the Western front." If you want to know what fighting the Vietnam War was really like, I can't imagine how any book can possibly be better than Rumor of War.
AMAZON.COM READER'S REVIEW
This is the best book I have ever read on the ground war in Viet Nam from the infantryman's perspective. Don't read this if helicopters flying by in the middle of the night still give you cold chills. A well deserved Pulitzer winner!