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A Rumor of War chapter 1 A Rumor of War, meaning A Rumor of War, genre A Rumor of War, book cover A Rumor of War, flies A Rumor of War, A Rumor of War a3fd6f249aee5 In March , Marine Lieutnant Philip J Caputo Landed In Danang With The First Ground Combat Unit Committed To Fight In Vietnam Sixteen Months Later, Having Served On The Line In One Of Modern History S Ugliest Wars, He Returned Home Physically Whole, Emotionally Wasted, His Youthful Idealism Shattered A Decade Later, Caputo Would Write In A Rumor Of War, This Is Simply A Story About War, About The Things Men Do In War And The Things War Does To ThemIt Is Far Then That It Is, As Theodore Solotaroff Wrote In The New York Times Book Review, The Troubled Conscience Of America Speaking Passionately, Truthfully, Finally It Is The Book That Shattered America S Deliberate Indifference To The Fate Of The Men It Sent To Fight In The Jungles Of Vietnam, And In The Years Since It Was First Published It Has Become A Basic Text On That War But In The Literature Of War That Stretches Back To Homer, It Has Also Taken Its Place As An Esteemed Classic To Rank Alongside All Quiet On The Western Front And The Naked And The Dead

10 thoughts on “A Rumor of War

  1. says:

    After recently having the pleasure of the powerful big picture view of the Vietnam War in Burns and Novick s masterful documentary, I found compelled to get immersed in details of the soldier s experience in Vietnam It has been a long time since I enjoyed books by Herr, O Brien, Del Vecchio, and Marlantes The variety in these memoirs and fictional portrayals makes it clear how complex the issues are, both in the general topic of men at war and the situation of different people at different times and locations during the war Here we get a memoir from the early part of the war Caputo grew up in a suburb of Chicago and was a student at Loyola University when he was recruited by the Marines in 1960 After substantial training at Quantico and achieving status as a lieutenant, he was shipped to Danang among the first waves of Johnson s build up in 1965 He digs deep to portray his path to gaining his platoon s trust and expertise enough to survive, and even enjoy, the organized savagery of war Slowly he gets jaded from the futility of long defensive duties, dangerous patrols with frequent small skirmishes, and rare pitched battles for territory often abandoned soon after securing Caputo clearly has talent in telling engaging stories and conveying the band of brothers sense of fighting for your own fellow soldiers Because this was completed about 10 years after his time there he was also to return at the final stages of America s role there as a war correspondent , the account seems to include premature wisdom on his part that the war was not winnable That conclusion may have been in the mind of the President and top advisors by 1966, but Marlantes complained in the PBS documentary how he had to learn about that twisted outlook the hard way after he arrived in 1968 Caputo experienced the beginning of the McNamara and Westland s policy of judging daily progress in the war by body counts and ratios of enemy to American deaths, but the whole scam of inflated figures I believe took longer to emerge He also sees the beginnings of casual killing of civilians by a growing minority of soldiers Once a soldier has experienced the death of buddies from snipers or mines, the frustration of not being able to distinguish innocent peasants from Viet Cong was too much to put a governor on the outlet of violent action.The honesty of Caputo stands out where it comes to his own crossing of moral boundaries From small personal intuition and comments of one native under interrogation, he is sure at one point that he knows the identity of a couple of VC in the nearby village When he can t persuade his superiors of this truth, he persuades men under him to kidnap the suspects, and once they are confined get the informant to openly ID them Unfortunately, his men have a hair trigger over resistance, and they end up killing two men, one of which turns out to be the informant Long before atrocities like Mei Lai came to pass, we see in his arrest for murder a nice example of the military trying to do the right thing Needless to say, the charge soon gets reduced to minor infraction, but one that ends his service in combat Caputo is forgiving of himself which some readers may object to The calculus of morality is to him makes these accidental deaths on the same scale as deaths of civilians after a mortar attack or tactical bombing though different from the mindless slaughter of civilians with the massive bombings later in the war In sum, this war memoir is a well written, accessible, and revelatory account of the early experience of regular combat soldiers in Vietnam It makes a perfect complement to watching the PBS series.

  2. says:

    I ve talked before about a class I took in high school that didn t feel completely worthless the way a lot of my other classes did I took that class because one of my brothers took it the first year it was offered and I remember thinking, Man, when I m a Senior, I hope that class is still offered Because there was a tradition of my brothers getting to take cool classes like Latin or having cool teachers and I d get the crazy assholes and then the classes and teachers not existing by the time I get there a couple years later The US Vietnam Experience was still offered when I was a Senior and it was a heart breaking and hard class to take But I will never forget it A Rumor of War was a book I took from my brother s shelf some time after we were both in college and he no longer had any need for it He read this book for the class when he took it, and I was the sort of person who liked to read all the books my older brothers were reading Even if, as in this case, it s years later.This is not an easy book to read The book is split into three parts the first details Caputo s reasons for joining the Marines in the first place and his training The second part focuses on the unfortunate desk job Caputo held recording casualties I will now probably forever think about that position any time like every day when I whine about my own job which is in line of helping keep people alive rather than having to write down the disturbing details of young people killed in action The third part is about Caputo s reassignment to a rifle company.This last section is, not surprisingly, the most difficult to read Not only is it bloody and honest, there are also bureaucratic frustrations that I m aware the conflict was rife with Reading about bureaucracy is about as much fun for me as watching it go on around me.I m glad to have finally read this book I remember my brother being greatly affected by it when he read it in high school, and I can see why, especially considering he s a bit sensitive than even I am which is saying a lot In many ways I m glad I waited until now to read this book had I read it in high school I would likely have not understood as much or had the right amount of focus to give to it Now as an adult I read it and think this is one of those books that people should read so they have a better understanding as to what happened in Vietnam Yes, this is one man s memoir of his experiences which, I learned from that class in school, is not universal But it s a start in the right direction on the road of understandingSo much was lost with you, so much talent and intelligence and decency You were the first from our class of 1964 to die There were others, but you were the first and you embodied the best that was in us You were a part of us, and a part of us died with you, the small part that was still young, that had not yet grown cynical, grown bitter and old with death Your courage was an example to us, and whatever the rights or wrongs of the war, nothing can diminish the rightness of what you tried to do Yours was the greater love You died for the man you tried to save, and you died pro patria It was not altogether sweet and fitting, your death, but I m sure you died believing it was pro patria You were faithful Your country is not As I write this, eleven years after your death, the country for which you died wishes to forget the war in which you died Its very name is a curse There are no monuments to its heroes, no statues in small town squares and city parks, no plaques, nor public wreaths, nor memorials For plaques and wreaths and memorials are reminders, and they would make it harder for your country to sink into the amnesia for which it longs It wishes to forget and it has forgotten But there are a few of us who do remember because of the small things that made us love you your gestures, the words you spoke, and the way you looked We loved you for what you were and what you stood for p 223 4

  3. says:

    This book does not pretend to be history It has nothing to do with politics, power, strategy, national interests, or foreign policy nor is it an indictment of the great men who lead us into Indochina and whose mistakes were paid for with the blood of some quite ordinary men In a general sense, it is simply a story about war, about the things men do in war and the things war does to them More strictly, it is a soldier s account of our longest conflict, the only one we have ever lost, as well as the record of a long and sometimes painful personal experience A Rumor of War was published in 1977, two years after the Vietnam War ended in April 1975 with the U.S fleeing in the face of advancing North Vietnamese forces In Vietnam it was called the American War Two years is a short time for the healing of wounds so some of the wounds detailed in this book are still ugly and bloody.This is a personal story of a boy becoming a man, a boy who volunteered to become a Marine, seeing it as his patriotic duty, and became a man in the process He came home from the war jaded and disillusioned and against the war I was involved in the antiwar movement at the time and struggles, unsuccessfully, to reconcile my opposition to the war with the nostalgia Later, I realized a reconciliation was impossible I would never be able to hate the war with anything like the undiluted passion of my friends in the movement Because I had fought in it, it was not an abstract issue, but a deeply emotionally experience, the most significant thing that had happened to me It held my thoughts, senses, and feelings in an unbreakable embrace I would hear in thunder the roar of artillery I could not listen to the rain without recalling those drenched nights on the line, nor walk through woods without instinctively searching for a trip wire or an ambush I could protest as loudly as the most convinced activist, but I could not deny the grip the war had on me, nor the fact that it had been an experience as fascinating as it was repulsive, as exhilarating as it was sad, as tender as it was cruel Ordinary men became crazed killers under the right conditions Weeks of bottled up tensions would be released in a few minutes of orgiastic violence, men screaming and shouting obscenities above the explosions of grenades and the rapid, ripping bursts of automatic rifles He and Peterson try to stop the destruction, but it is no use 3rd platoon seems to have gone crazy They destroy with uncontrolled fury At last it is over The hamlet which is marked on our maps as Giao Tri 3 no longer exists All that remains are piles of smoldering ash and a few charred poles still standing. With the mud, heat, leeches, and clawing thorns, and the risk of a wounded VC lobbing a grenade from his hiding place, the mood of the company turned savage This was especially true of 1st platoon they had done the actual killing, and once men begin killing it is not easy to stop them An enormous amount of blood had poured out of him and he was lying in it, a crimson puddle in which floated bits of skin and white cartilage There was nothing on him, no photographs, no letters or identification That would disappoint the boys at intelligence, but it was fine with me I wanted this boy to remain anonymous I wanted to think of him, not as a dead human being, with a name, age, and family, but as a dead enemy That made everything easier We didn t say to ourselves, We ve been under fire, we ve shed blood, now we re men We were simply aware, in a way we could not express, that something significant had happened to us Men were killed, evacuated with wounds, or rotated home at a constant rate, then replaced by other men who were killed, evacuated, or rotated in their turn By that time, a loss only meant a gap in the line that needed filling I like some books so much that I could quote the entire book and call it a review This is one of those books One good paragraph after another, page after page What could there possibly be about war that could make such good copy How do you tell parents that all the years that they had spent raising and educating their son were for nothing Wasted In that war, soldier s slang for death was wasted So and so was wasted It was a good word Author Caputo actually lived this book it is nonfiction, a memoir A memoir That almost makes it sound literary rather than horrific After some months in the rear, safe from bullets and booby traps, Caputo asked to be sent back to the front line He tired of compiling casualty reports the daily dead and wounded but why would someone put themselves in harm s way again I was sure that another few months of identifying bodies would land me in a psychiatric ward On staff, there was too much time to brood over those corpses there would be very little time to think in a line company That is the secret to emotional survival in war, not thinking Finally, there was hatred, a hatred buried so deep that I could not then admit its existence I can now, though it is still painful I burned with a hatred for the Viet Cong and with an emotion that dwells in most of us, one closer to the surface than we care to admit a desire for retribution I did not hate the enemy for their politics, but for murdering Simpson, for executing that boy whose body had been found in the river, for blasting the life out of Walt Levy Revenge was one of the reasons I volunteered for a line company I wanted a chance to kill somebody Can you dig it Caputo tells it like it is In the patriotic fervor of the Kennedy years, we had asked, What can we do for our country and our country answered, Kill VC That was the strategy, the best that our best military minds could come up with organized butchery But organized or not, butchery was butchery, so who was to speak of rules and ethics in a war that had none he asked how I liked Saigon I said that I liked it very much It was a beautiful city when you compared it to the mess in the countryside Yes, you are right, he said sadly There is something wrong with the country I think it is the war If you are fighting in a war, you think about death And if you are writing a book about fighting in a war, you write about thinking about death Thousands of people died each week in the war, and the sum of all their deaths did not make any difference The war went on without them, and as it went on without them, so would it go on without me My death would not alter a thing Walking down the trail, I could not remember having a felt an emotion sublime or liberating than that indifference toward my own death The men like Philip Caputo who write the books like A Rumor of War are the ones who live to tell the story How many likely authors die with war stories unwritten How many war stories are untold by the thousands of men of come home damaged and remain mute for the rest of their lives How many men can honestly tell of the atrocities they have themselves committed Then it happened The platoon exploded It was a collective emotional detonation of men who had been pushed to the extremity of endurance I lost control of them and even myself Desperate to get to the hill, we rampaged through the rest of the village, whooping like savages, torching thatch huts, tossing grenades into the cement houses we could not burn In our frenzy, we crashed through the hedgerows without feeling the stabs of the thorns We did not feel anything We were past feeling anything for ourselves, let alone for others We shut our ears to the cries and pleas of the villagers One elderly man ran up to me, and, grabbing me by the front of my shirt, asked, Tai Sao Tai Sao Why Why This is what an ashamed Philip Caputo was to write when he had survived the rampage After their time in Vietnam, soldiers voluntarily came to testify at public hearings and at the Winter Soldier Investigations to committing atrocities in the war A Rumor of War has something of a Hollywood conclusion Caputo, a military officer, and five other soldiers are charged with murder for the killing of two young South Vietnamese men who were mistakenly thought to be Viet Cong He is guilty but the charges are eventually dropped and he leaves Vietnam having traveled the distance from being an patriotic idealist about the war to being an antiwar protestor I find I need to regularly remind myself that this story is nonfiction.I cannot give this book less than five stars It makes it as clear as any book I have read that the American War in Vietnam made criminals of many young Americans who followed leaders down an immoral path A few days later, Neal told me and the other officers that he was adopting a new policy from now on, any marine in the company who killed a confirmed Viet Cong would be given an extra beer ration and the time to drink it Because our men were so exhausted, we knew the promise of time off would be as great an inducement as the extra ration of beer So we went along with the captain s policy, without reflecting on its moral implications That is the level to which we had sunk from the lofty idealism of a year before We were going to kill people for a few cans of beer and the time to drink them Definitely five stars.

  4. says:

    This was a really interesting memoir The author was a newly minted US Marine Corp 2nd Lieutenant whose unit was transferred to Na dang to take over defence of the base from the ARVN who were departing on a counter offensive His view is naturally that of a small unit commander with the largest body of men under him a platoon of infantry He describes in detail what it was like to go out on patrol, and the effect the body count process had on the psychology of himself and his men Over his tour he initially commanded a line platoon, worked at Regimental HQ then took command of a line platoon again This is his personal account so it focuses on about how he felt about what he saw did himself and ordered others to do It contains details of his experiences on patrol, in ambush, assault, time on base and on leave At times this is very direct and graphic It is not an analysis of the Vietnam 2nd Indochina War but does clearly show what he thought and felt about the conflict which naturally changes as his war experience grew Well worth the time reading 4 stars.

  5. says:

    A Rumor of War is a deeply disturbing book Like Dispatches , by Michael Herr, it is a gripping first person narrative of what it was like to be in Vietnam but Herr was there as a war correspondent, and the worst action he sees is brief visits to forward camps Caputo, on the other hand, is a Second Lt in the Marines, and his best days in Vietnam are much worse than the worst things Herr reported in his book Months spent sleeping in foxholes deep in VC territory, dozens of fellow soldiers killed in the bloodiest ways imaginable right in front of him, and finally, participation in obscene war crimes But it isn t the facts of his experience that make this book so disturbing Caputo s strength is that he forces you to stand in his shoes, and by the end, you come to realize that you would have probably comported yourself in much the same way he did And that erases any sense of moral superiority you might feel towards soldiers, and leaves you with the very uncomfortable feeling that as a citizen, you bear direct culpability for these things terrible things our country makes them do.Caputo begins describes his indoctrination into the Marines He is the real deal deeply courageous, committed to his job, and unquestioning about the larger issues at play in the war Napoleon once said that he could make men die for little pieces of ribbon By the time the battalion left for Vietnam, I was ready to die for considerably less, for a few favorable remarks in a fitness report Words He is desperately eager to fight After I came home from the war, I was often asked how it felt, going into combat for the first time I never answered truthfully, afraid that people would think of me as some sort of war lover The truth is, I felt happy Of course, like soldiers of previous generations, he quickly finds that his ideas about war have very little to do with the brutal reality especially in a dirty, ugly war like Vietnam, fought mostly in small, undistinguished battles in the jungles Everything rotted and corroded quickly over there bodies, boot leather, canvas, metal, morals A typical battle involves parachuting into a hot landing zone, taking fire from an invisible enemy, slaughtering a few of them with overwhelming force, and then retreating to bury many young Americans A brief respite in the rear command base, tallying the numbers of MIAs and KIAs and WIAs just makes him feel worse, and soon, like many of his fellow soldiers, Caputo is on the edge of losing his mind He asks for a return to forward command, and quickly finds himself even deeper in the shit What follows is the most gruesome and strangely beautiful series of scenes I ve ever read in literature For instance, regarding courage in battle he is also attracted by the danger, for he knows he can overcome his fear only by facing it His blind rage then begins to focus on the men who are the source of the danger and of his fear It concentrates inside him, and through some chemistry is transformed into a fierce resolve to fight until the danger ceases to exist But this resolve, which is sometimes called courage, cannot be separated from the fear that has aroused it Its very measure is the measure of that fear It is, in fact, a powerful urge not to be afraid any, to rid himself of fear by eliminating the source of it This inner, emotional war produces a tension almost sexual in its intensity It is too painful to endure for long All a soldier can think about is the moment when he can escape his impotent confinement and release this tension All other considerations, the rights and wrongs of what he is doing become so absurd as to be less than irrelevant Nothing matters except the final, critical instant when he leaps out into the violent catharsis he both seeks and dreads The action builds to a bloody climax after months in the jungle, Caputo orders his men to kidnap some local VCs, making clear that he doesn t care if they murder them in the process The men are duly killed, and it turns out that they weren t VC at all, but instead, loyal South Vietnamese citizens He and his men are then put on trial for war crimes In his own mind, he is clearly guilty, but despite his guilt, and a number of other shocking incidents that he has been involved in torching villages, shooting civilians , he finds himself acquitted and returned home.As I said, deeply disturbing stuff, all the so because Caputo is such a skilled writer after the war he became a Pulitzer prize winning journalist and war correspondent He clearly suffered deeply in the war, and is haunted by his experiences It s impossible not to feel sympathy for him and his fellow soldiers It s easy to forget now, but sympathy for Vietnam vets was in somewhat short supply after the war as a country we were embarrassed by the loss and ashamed of the atrocities we committed at places like My Lai and Hue So Caputo s book was deeply revolutionary, and led to a whole scale reconsideration of the war by many readers, as well as a flood of similar books and films.In his preface, Caputo writes This book ought not to be regarded as a protest it might, perhaps, prevent the next generation from being crucified in the next war But I don t think so But the effect of reading the book is a deep reconsideration of one s feelings about soldiers and about war For a liberal, it makes you feel a sympathy for soldiers you might have never experienced before For a conservative, it might make you question the high price of war, and reconsider if war is justified for anything short of existential threats to the country And for all Americans, it will make you feel a deep sense of shame and responsibility for what we put these soldiers through, and the terrible damage we inflicted on Vietnam The record of the last forty years has proved that we or the leaders we elect haven t learned much from the experience our tribulations in Latin America, Iraq, and Afghanistan continue to be bloody and largely pointless But there is always time to change, and that s why A Rumor of War and books like it will always remain timely and important reads.

  6. says:

    I just finished Philip Caputo s riveting A Rumor of War It clearly belongs in the elite pantheon of books about the Vietnam War along with Michael Herr s Dispatches, Tim O Brien s Going After Cacciato and The Things They Carried, and Stanley Karnow s Vietnam A History Caputo writes about his experiences that led him to enlist in 1965 in order to satisfy his romantic ideals about war His experiences vary as his company defends an airstrip then engages in search and destroy missions before being put in charge of the dead at a base camp Then he joins another rifleman unit for search and destory missions The apex occurs in which a couple of civilian noncombatants are killed and he faces court martial and is eventually cleared of the charges But throughout these experiences Caputo loses his illusion and romantic ideals and begins to question the validity of the war and the reasoning that fuels the war But the beauty of the book lies in the details the stifling heat, the insects, the fatigue, constant worry about snipers and booby traps, an enemy that is indistinguishable from the noncombatant general population, inept officers caught up in the bottom line of kills, lack of the basic joys of life, and so on My only criticism is that it would have been nice to have put his operations in perspective with the general strategies of the American forces, but it is a minor fault It is a powerful account of one s man s life changing experience fighting in the Vietnam War.

  7. says:

    This memior of a marine lt in Vientam was hard for me to rate On a technical score, this book earns three stars It is well written and readable In terms of content and message, however, I could not say that I certainly liked it Caputo was about 6 months ahead of my dad on the Quantico to Vietnam trajectory Many of the officers mentioned in the book were men my dad also knew served with I read the book largely to learn about my dad s experiences as a young marine in training and in combat Caputo was just so whiny and hystrionic that he lost a degree of credibility with me For one small ex, he makes a big deal about the coppermouth snakes living in the swamps of Quantico He acts like the marines lives were on the line from that mortal enemy even before arriving in Vietnam, which is simply laughable My dad said that he supposed the snakes were there, but that absolutely nobody made an issue of it, and that includes the 12 year old girls from our church who recently went camping there The bigger problem with the book, though, had to do with his moralizing and arguments against our involvement in Vietnam First, he claims to have realized as a 22 year old kid in 1965 that the war was a lost cause He doesn t really give any support to that claim other than to remark that American soldiers were being killed, but it is just not truthful to say that anyone could have known at that stage what the outcome of the war was to be, particularly when the loss took place on campuses of America s colleges rather than in the jungles of Vietnam Second, he argues that America should not have been in Vietnam at all That is a perfectly legit proposition, but his supporting arguments are not His reasoning is, essentially, that because men died, sometimes in horrible ways, we should not have fought Of course, death and horrible death is a part of war and an objection to it is simply an objection to all wars, not just Vietnam But Caputo does not object to all wars His argument is just not logical He also argued that because a small minority of soldiers in Vietnam committed brutal, illegal acts himself included the war was wrong Well, there is an element of the soldiering population in all wars that react in a crazy way and do brutal or illegal things A marine in WWII ripped out the gold teeth of a wounded but conscious Japanese soldier for the value of the gold Americans also murdered a couple hundred German POWs upon learning that a troop of German SS had shot a regiment of US soldiers who had surrendured the Germans claimed to not have had the manpower to take the US soldiers to any sort of camp so they had to just shoot them All of those things are horrible, but are they an argument to have not resisted Nazi occupation of Europe I am a little tired of the much touted bit of misinformation based purely on anecdote that Vietnam held a disproportionate number of war crimes as compared to other wars and that most of the soldiers there were a bunch of murderers Vietnam just happens to be a war it is popular to villify WWII, on the other hand, is the hero s war and therefore you will not often hear about the cruel or illegal acts committed by those soldiering it, even though such acts did take place.While only a small minority of soldiers were guilty of war crimes, Caputo was one of them I suppose his order would not have technically been improper had there not been a tragic, tragic case of mistaken identity Rather than take responsibility for his own actions, he choses to blame American foreign policy From start to finish, Caputo is a whiner who credits himself with a prescience about the war s outcome that no one in any position of authority had and shifts blame for a lynching off of himself and onto generalized America while I enjoyed his appreciation for the best soldier writers of the WWI generation Sasson and Owen , he mistakenly appropriates some of their feelings of bitterness about their military leaders He says something about the generals sending better men than themselves to go die Better men The generals in Vietnam were the same guys who were soldiers in WWII and Korea While there was a lot of reason to disparage the generals directing the men in WWI to be mowed down by the hundreds of thousands to earn a few square feet, there just was not that cause for bitterness against the military personel in Vietnam At least, Caputo didn t show me one Maybe I shouldntbe giving this book 3 stars .

  8. says:

    Caputo s book doesn t need another review I will offer mine anyway, if nothing else to contrast it with Wolff s In Pharoah s Army, an inferior book First, I wish I could have written A Rumor of War I wasn t ready to write about the war soon after I returned from Vietnam, in 1967 Not even after a couple years of college in 1971, when I camped on the mall with 1,200 other Vietnam Vets Against the War including John Kerry Caputo had the advantage of education on me Not just that, I needed a lot time to experience other things and gain a broader perspective But he made it all perfectly clear when he had a dialogue in the officer s mess with the chaplain and the doctor, The chaplain s morally superior attitude had rankled me, but his sermon had managed to plant doubt in my mind, doubt about the war Much of what he had said made sense our tactical operations did seem futile and directed toward no apparent end Twelve wrecked homes The chaplain s words echoed That s twelve wrecked homes The doctor and I think in terms of human suffering, not statistics AND THIS WAS IN 1965, before things really got going in Vietnam If you want to know what the BS about body counts was that ended up in a lawsuit by General Westland against Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes, if you want to know what Vietnam was like because you are too young to have learned about it during that time in America and the world s history, read this book If you want to know how it relates to recent events, try my own memoir, Waiting for Westland, that finally came out so many years later.

  9. says:

    I must say this is even a stronger book than Dispatches by Michael Herr, which I must have read last year or so Herr s perspective is that of what we nowadays probably would call an embedded journalist He accompanied the Vietnam war as a journalist for the Esquire, and while his account is disturbing in it s own way A Rumor Of War is even harder on the reader in that respect, as Caputo signed up for the USMC and was amongst the first US troops to be deployed So you re not only confronted with the sheer brutality of war itself, but you get an account of someone who not was in place, but actively engaged in doing morally ambiguous and I d argue even outright wrong actions Recommended for Everyone who needs a brief reminder why you shouldn t go to war.

  10. says:

    Caputo s incorporation of sensationalism in this work betrays him miserably It seems as if someone like a producer or agent may have whispered into this guy s ear, listen don t be afraid to ham it up a little You want this book to sell, right Follow this pattern, etc.Notwithstanding the undeniable factual events he shares with the reader, Caputo s sense of sincerity is clearly and unfortunately diluted with his zealous ambition to be skilled at the craft of writing than he actually is Honestly and plain talk would have served him so much better The facts of what happened to him are incredible enough We don t need all the superfluous drama Philip.

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