Prime Fields of Fire By James Webb –

My father was a radio operator in Vietnam, 69 70 He saw things that are still beyond my realm of understanding A few Christmases ago, he played a recording he had of a firefight he was in for my brothers and me It was harrowing What he told us after he were through with this recording was that his CO, James Webb, had written a book about this very firefight and other portions of the Vietnam War in a book called Fields of Fire Three days later, just before one of my brothers was set to leave, my father presented all of us with this book I have read many Vietnam novels the topic is one of fascination and horror for me.While I read this book, the tape recording of the firefight was its soundtrack It moved me to the point of tears sometimes All I could think about was an eighteen year old Marine caught in this hellish world and knowing he still had X amount of days left before he was able to go home, if he was fortunate enough to make it home And let me be the first to say, this book is than just a war novel It really looks at the Vietnam War from the perspective of some of the soldiers that fought in it Poor or rich Volunteer or draftee It even gives some extremely great insight into the psychology of the Vietnamese There are parts that are graphic But the violence is never over the top or there for purposes of shock I will never ever truly understand what my father experienced, but this book brought me closer to him.HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDTION Originally Published In , Webb S Classic Novel Of The Vietnam War Follows Three Soldiers From Different Worlds Who Are Plunged Into A White Hot Murderous Realm Of Jungle Warfare As It Was Fought By One Marine Platoon In The An Hoa Basin In They Each Had Their Reasons For Being A Soldier They Each Had Their Illusions Goodrich Came From Harvard Snake Got The Tattoo Death Before Dishonor Before He Got The Uniform And Hodges Was Haunted By The Ghosts Of Family HeroesThey Had No Way Of Knowing What Awaited Them Nothing Could Have Prepared Them For The Madness To Come And In The Heat And Horror Of Battle They Took On New Identities, Took On Each Other, And Were Each Reborn In Fields Of FireFields Of Fire Is James Webb S Classic, Searing Novel Of The Vietnam War, A Novel Of Poetic Power, Razor Sharp Observation, And Agonizing Human Truths Seen Through The Prism Of Nonstop Combat Weaving Together A Cast Of Vivid Characters, Fields Of Fire Captures The Journey Of Unformed Men Through A Man Made Hell Until Each Man Finds His Fate this is one of my all time favorite vietnam war books which sounds a little wrong to say, but every time i read it ive read it 3 times now i become so engrossed in the characters that i feel as though im actually there which is kinda of scary when you think about it.definitely worth a read, particularly if you have a relative who is a vietnam vet This book was published 32 years ago and this is the first time I have read it James Webb is one of my U.S Senators so I thought I would read some of the books he has written and found Fields of Fire I avoided the draft to Vietnam although I was 1 A for a nervous month or so before my first son was born and provided me with an exemption If you went through anything in the Vietnam era like that, you will probably find yourself somewhere in this book This book is intense For me at least.But first I want to make a short detour There is a good deal of macho man here Early in the book one of the heroes date rapes a young Okinawan woman This was before the days of no means no I wrote this in my first status the incident is on page 36.Our macho, macho marine forces himself on an Okinawan girl He is going to Vietnam in three days She kissed him back, a portion of her innocence crumbling with great remorse, admitting his attractiveness Date rape and she wanted it, right, Mr Webb What false stereotype is this Some would probably say that this is just character development and does not have to bear any relationship to the attitude of the author But this idea of admitting to his attractiveness comes from the woman herself not the perp This idea of the woman wanting or agreeing to rape is bullshit That Webb puts this thought in the woman character s mind makes a big difference in my mind.Now at the end of the book they are talking about marriage based on their relationship of several days I guess you would have to believe at love at first sight Or maybe just remember that this is a novel and a love relationship is an essential ingredient This whole relationship bothers me because of its starting point That means I can t stand it and reserve my right to overreact Then I remember that during Webb s campaign for the Senate the opposition said that he didn t treat women very well in this book and that said something about his character That was probably categorized as mudslinging Webb is a Democrat and the slinger was a Republican I voted for Webb, and would again But, now that I have read The Book, I wonder if I might not agree with the criticism but forgive Mr Webb since this book was written in another era Is that a fair thing to do Anyone else like to chime in Now that I have that behind me, let me actually say a little bit about the book I was pulled into the book That did not happen to me with War or Matterhorn There are many lost arms, legs and lives you will read about them with detail than you may like This is a vivid book It has mud and blood and crud I would be Mark who fled to Canada or Goodrich a Harvard student who enlists and little bits of a few others, including the guys who were organizing the protest demonstration at the end of the book I would have been the one chanting, Hey, hey, LBJ How many kids did you kill today No, that is not the chant in the book but that would be my speed than Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Min The NLF is going to win which was than a little beyond even my ability to be a leftwing traitor.Is Vietnam far enough into the past that we could fairly call this historical fiction People who were there say that this book captures their true experiences It is so hard for me to believe that anyone would voluntarily go through something like this It is suggested that a man who experienced something like this book describes could never fit into the normal world again So he would become a lifer in the Marines.If you are tracking down must read war books, don t miss this one For me, it s on to Dispatches which I understand is another must read war book. I think this is a powerful novel and although I m certainly no expert, it seems to do an excellent job capturing the horror of the Vietnam War, the conflicting emotions of many who fought in it, the terrible moral dilemmas servicemen faced when confronting the enemy, and some of the ugliness that greeted them when they got back home Jim Webb, who was a much decorated Marine and published it in 1978, went on to have an extremely distinguished career in government and politics I have a lot of admiration for him.That said, I didn t enjoy reading it The subject matter is sordid and repulsive Everything about the novel made me feel slimy and nauseous and it was a relief to finish it Now I m going to give it away. Jim Webb, former USNA alum, Marine officer, former SECNAV and current Senator from VA Taught English at USNA Excellent account of small unit leadership in Vietnam. Highly influential in my decision to join the Marine Corps A tale about Vietnam, but really, a story about society s estrangement from a war and the people left behind to fight it.Jim Webb D, VA was one of the war s most decorated Marines Navy Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster and Valor Device, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster and is now serving as the junior senator from Virginia. James Webb was one of the most decorated U.S Marines that served in the Vietnam war and his experience brings brutal authenticity to his well crafted novel Webb has gone on to serve as Secretary of the Navy and is currently a U.S Senator from Virginia None of that takes away from the power of this novel of war. Probably expresses my feelings upon returning from Vietnam better than almost any other book I ve read. Reminds me of the Platoon movie Chickenhawk book.