A Rumor of War

A Rumor of War The extraordinary bestseller that provides a close up look unlike any other at the American experience in Vietnam Powerful vivid compassionate and heartbreaking here is a very personal and yet un

  • Title: A Rumor of War
  • Author: Philip Caputo
  • ISBN: 9780030176319
  • Page: 473
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The extraordinary bestseller that provides a close up look unlike any other, at the American experience in Vietnam Powerful, vivid, compassionate, and heartbreaking, here is a very personal and yet universal grunt s eye view of the hopeless brutality and the ultimate, and seemingly endless horror where men and governments sacrificed their morality and the souls of their nThe extraordinary bestseller that provides a close up look unlike any other, at the American experience in Vietnam Powerful, vivid, compassionate, and heartbreaking, here is a very personal and yet universal grunt s eye view of the hopeless brutality and the ultimate, and seemingly endless horror where men and governments sacrificed their morality and the souls of their nation.

    One thought on “A Rumor of War”

    1. 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 more 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 di [...]

    2. 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 [...]

    3. 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 wel [...]

    4. 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 [...]

    5. 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 more about my dad's experiences as a young marine in training and in com [...]

    6. "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 [...]

    7. 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 more skilled at the craft of writing than he actually is. [...]

    8. 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 need [...]

    9. Easy read. He had some good points on war that of course never having been through a war - I would never have thought about.It wasn't as philosophical or even maybe horrific as I needed. He didn't sell me on why exactly did the Vietnam war effect men's psyches more than other wars. I guess that's what I was looking for. To understand their psyche. He only would delve into that a few times. I guess I felt this book was a good overall view on the Vietnam war. But really it didn't make me feel a wh [...]

    10. In January of 1961 the newly elected President John F Kennedy stood on the steps of the Capital building in Washington and famously challenged the youth of America to “Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country”.Away in windy Chicago a young student at Loyola University knew just how to answer that call; he would join the United States Marine Corp and play a man’s part in defending the new Camelot against all enemies, foreign and domestic. A Rumor of Wa [...]

    11. 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 [...]

    12. Tim O'Brien arguably wrote the best work of fiction about the Vietnam war in The Things They Carried. To me, Philip Caputo inarguably wrote its best memoir. Unlike more recent attempts in the genre, Caputo's account of combat is never blinkered, gung-ho, or glamourised. Blunt as a boulder, vivid, and unforgettable, I rate it higher than even Michael Herr's Dispatches.

    13. Rescued this from a window seat in the local hospital, where someone had "abandoned" it. I definitely remember the title but as far as I know I haven't read it. Despite the fact that I am a Vietnam vet I don't make any special point of reading Vietnam books. I've read a few this one's pretty famous. Read the more recent author's Prologue last night.- The author says that Vietnam was the first war "lost" by The United States. What about Korea? I guess that's viewed as a stalemate, but we certain [...]

    14. I found the beginning of this utterly fascinating, but then tired of the narrative. And so moving on. That should not be taken as a criticism of the book, but only of my interests and my own restlessness.

    15. A re-read for me, inspired by the interminably heartbreaking, often infuriating Ken Burns series. This is far less flashy than many VN books, with much minutiae about the rear echelon bureaucracy of “war,” which I (being the granddaughter of a general and daughter of a colonel) happily slogged through. I have military acronyms in my DNA.The visual picture of Vietnam in the pages of this book, and the descriptions of the weather - which for soldiers was a special circle of hell - were so vivi [...]

    16. I received Philip Caputo’s A Rumor of War as a gift a few years ago, but did not read it until now. After reading it, I am glad I waited. Caputo’s memoir seems to be the type of book that as the reader ages, there are more thoughts he/she is able to extract from this terrific book.Philip Caputo divides his memoir into three distinct sections. The first covers his reasons for enlisting in the Marine Corps prior to the war and his initial deployment as part of the first ground combat unit of t [...]

    17. “The greatest tragedy is war, but so long as there is mankind, there will be war.” -Jomini, The Art of War Emotionally powerful. Personally riveting. A simple story about war without all the preachy judgement and rhetoric. A perspective on infantry life written by an infantryman. To quote Caputo, “This book does not pretend to be history. It has nothing to do with politics, power, strategy, influence, national interests, or foreign policy; nor is it indictment of the great men who led us i [...]

    18. Although I'm giving this book 5 stars, it's a little hard for me to simply say that I enjoyed it. It's not a pleasant read. It's dark. It's ugly. It's war. And this book throws you right in the midst of it. The reason I gave it 5 stars is because it's important. As Caputo says early on, there are plenty of TV shows and movies about war that may be exciting, but many of them focus on building this image of being a hero. Books such as this one strip the make up off and describe every horrific deta [...]

    19. Tremendously powerful memoir of a 2nd lieutenant in the Marines who was in the first wave of Marines coming into Vietnam in March of 1965. From gung-ho teenagers to hardened cynical veterans in just a few months, this book shows, in no uncertain terms, the misery and futility of the war and the damage it did to all the participants and non-combatants alike. Read it in conjunction with Patriots: An Oral History of Vietnam (which is told in interviews with US troops, ARVN, Viet Cong, North Vietnam [...]

    20. I was hesitant about this book for the first half of this book, and wouldn't have recommended it to most people. In the first two thirds of the book Caputo was a young marine, and like a lot of marine he thought he was God's gift to war. But after he becomes a monster and through that more human the story comes home and his reflections allow the previous writing to take hold of you. It's still not my favorite Vietnam memoir, but very good nonetheless.

    21. In reviewing a recent reprint of this book, Max Hastings says this: "It is said that all men who go to war experience a moral as well as a physical odyssey, and that is amply demonstrated in Philip Caputo's memoir of his time as a Marine Corps platoon commander in Vietnam. A Rumor of War was published at a time when Americans self torture about what they had done to themselves and to Vietnam was at a peak." Those two sentences capture the essence of this book perfectly: the commonality of experi [...]

    22. I just finished A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo, which amply deserves 4 stars. What a powerful book. This memoir about Vietnam gives the reader a virtual, firsthand experience of war, with all its violence, boredom, suffering, terror and thrills. The author is brutally honest and insightful, and the passages about the morality of war and the seesawing between hatred and guilt that he experiences are extremely thought-provoking. I must admit that I skimmed through some of the detailed day-to-day [...]

    23. For years, I'd been scared away from reading this because of the terrible movie that had been made from it in the 80s. Glad I finally followed through. Terrific writing from a conscientious agent, trapped - like so many marines/GIs - in a war that made so little sense, especially when contrasted with the wars of their fathers and grandfathers. Caputo's prose in lovely, well-paced and lucid. I put it right up there with Michael Herr's "Dispatches."

    24. This was a book club selection. And not by me :-)Philip Caputo was a marine lieutenant among the first units in Vietnam in 1965. And his unit, like all such who are the first of their generation to go to war, was unsure of what they would find, looking to their few veterans from Korea to what it would be like, and the guidance from above. And the guidance from above was that it would be easy.It was not. And Caputo shows what it was like at the ground, the walking into the unknown, not knowing wh [...]

    25. Philip Caputo enlisted in the Marines in 1960, and admits to being motivated by both a desire to escape the humdrum existence of suburban Illinois and the glowing enthusiasm engendered by the euphoria that was Camelot. He envisioned himself as a courageous patriot, becoming a man by surviving the rigors of military life, and being eventually discharged as a recognized hero. After college and officers' training, he became part of the first group of Americans to be dropped on Vietnamese soil; this [...]

    26. I bought a spare used paperback version of this book for 3.95. I think it represents the most focused narrative of what combat must have meant for American soldiers in the Vietnam War. Similar to Norman Mailer's Naked and the Dead in its focus on the present, limited perspective of soldiers in combat on a small island in the Pacific, little connected to the sweep of the conflict, or perhaps played out a thousand times, all merging into the course of the war.In this book the author Caputo keeps h [...]

    27. I'll admit that it took me awhile to warm up to Caputo's rather technical account of his year in Vietnam. The problem is that I'd already read Tim O'brien's bewitching The Things They Carried, which sets the bar for literary memoirs of soldiering in the Indochinese swamplands absurdly high, and while Caputo's book isn't without literary merit, he can't quite match O'brien's poetry. Plenty of men get blown up in both books. In A Rumor of War those men are exactly what they are: too-young American [...]

    28. Beautifully written memoir of a Vietnam war veteran. Highly recommended for Vietnam vets and their families who want to better understand.

    29. To quote the author, "I did not want to tell anyone about the war but to show it. I wanted readers to feel the heat, the monsoons, and mosquitoes, to experience the booby traps, and ambushes. Above all, I wanted to comunicate the moral ambiguities of a conflict in which demons and angels traded places to often to tell one from the other, even within yourself."This memoir deserves the praise received from the public because Caputo accomplishes everything he set out to do. As the reader I was able [...]

    30. I loved this book as a kid, but since I met several Marines during the Desert Storm era who said it inspired them to enlist I don't think it qualifies as an anti-war classic. The truth is, Caputo is much better at capturing the allure of the Marine Corps -- the chance to belong, to prove oneself, to escape the trivial and materialistic side of suburban life -- than he is at describing the destructive horrors of war. One almost gets the impression that the anti-war stuff at the very end was tacke [...]

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