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4.6 out of 5 stars109
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 2 July 2009
I bought this just as an impulse purchase as I saw it was recommended on my homepage and when it arrived I literally read it non-stop for 2 days and finished and at the end I wanted more and more. Hathcock's story is amazing yet sad, his ledgendary status within the Marines is well-deserved and some of his exploits are unbelievable.
The story takes you from his child years hunting rabbits and birds around his home to his growth as an expert marksman, winning the 1000 Yard Championships and the Wimbledon Cup. It then covers his two tours in Vietnam which includes him breaking the world record for the longest sniper shot at a young Vietcong at about 2500 yards or more! It also includes his assassination of a Vietnamese General deep behind enemy lines, killing a notorious and feared Vietcong female sniper and shooting an expert sniper who was tasked specifically to kill Hathcock. You also see his rise to become known as the 'White Feather' among the local popualtion and having a bounty put on his head by the NVA.
It is an incredible story about an incredible soldier.
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on 12 July 2009
This book isn't the first sniper based book I've bought and read but is certainly the one which I love the most.
The book details Carlos Hathcock's multiple tours of Vietnam and his eventual life in retirement after his injuries in the field.

The missions undertaken by this man are simply unbelievable and if it wasn't for the corroborative evidence and genuine quality of this book I'd have trouble believing them. This man has done it all as a sniper and helped to make the USMC snipers who they are today; they simply wouldn't have been trained if he hadn't done these feats.
The sniper shot in "Saving Private Ryan" where the guy gets hit through the scope in the eye; the Tom Berringer bit of creeping through a field in a gillie suit full of guards undetected in Sniper. Well those are two films who have taken direct inspiration from Carlos's amazing life. I don't want to give further details but it's worth a look for those.

If you like war books, true stories, etc this is worth a read. Whatever your country and allegiances this is a fascinating book. It also benefits from having information from both sides of the line, from the USMC and Carlos himself to the Vietnamese records and soldiers.
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on 19 March 2004
i have read this book three times , and i think it is probably one of the most engrossing books i have ever read . war is terrible , and we know how destructive it is yet man still fights them in the name of religion , politics etc the list goes on , but it is the fighting man , the humble soldier , that see,s the horrors and the deaths first hand , this story is about one mans experiences and memories of his vietnam war . gunnery sgt hathcock is one of those few men who if possible can be classed as the true ultimate warrior breed . his experiences are so incredible it is a travesty that the moguls in hollywood have not taken it upon themselves to bring it to the big screen , because it is one hell of a story .the sniper in modern warfare is a very very important weapon , but in history no other position has carried such stigma . you must read this book and discover how important the role gunnery sgt hathcock played in this immense war , as a sniper he was sent on incredibly dangerous missions , and carried them out with vigour and professionalism , and through his experience and training it shows you how he achieved the missions and tasks assigned to him , please buy this book and read it for yourself , it really is a classic account of one mans amazing tour of duty during the vietnam war .
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on 19 May 1998
In my mid thirties, this was the first non-technical book I had read since college. It was loaned to me by my TaeKwonDo instructor who had served as a Marine recon sniper in Viet Nam. My girlfriend (now wife) almost left me because I wouldn't (no couldn't would be more accurate) put it down. I started it one evening and finished it by the next, then walked around almost stunned by his story for days (she got pretty fed up with me talking about it all the time). This was the beginning for me of literally more than a hundred true account books on Viet Nam, all of them stemming from the inspiration from this book.
The book is organized in chapters, each covering some incident in his tour. Offhand I cannot think of more than a couple that a sane person would believe to be true. Though it's been a year since I last read it (three times now, after writing this it will be four) I can easily think of four or five chapters that sound more like some drunken soldiers' ramblings about some mystical soldier they had only heard of who did astounding things that got more unbelievable each time the story was told. But from what I have heard from those who were there and other books on sniping that reference US military records, incredibly it's all true. Comparing Carlos Hathcock to the fictional movie characters like those portrayed by John Wayne, Stallone, Schwartzenegger and others or using the word "legend" to describe him doesn't begin to do justice to this man. He is a true Amercian hero! Somebody should make a movie about this guy.
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on 28 September 2009
great book, excellent insight into the world of a vietnam sniper. Only thing i will say is that in the book he describes how he he shoots an enemy sniper after a stalking duel in the jungle, he describes that when they examine the dead enemy they found that hathcock shot the enemy sniper straight down the scope of his rifle and into his eye. Anyone familiar with the programme mythbusters might have watched the one were they tried to recreate the scene from saving private ryan where a sniper gets shot down his scope and into his eye. They discovered that no matter what the range, type of rifle,bullet or angle it is impossible due to the fact that the glass in the scope being slightly curved always caused the bullet to deflect slightly and so they never could get the bullet to reach the other end of the scope.Just makes me think about other claims in the book.
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on 7 June 1997
Practically everyone who knows me has heard me rave on and on about this book. I read it for the first time about 4 years ago, after picking it up while browsing through the bookstore. I read the excerpt at the front recounting the Vietnamese general's final moments and I was hooked. I recently finished it again, and it was even better this time. Everything that happens to Hathcock seems like something out of a movie; something no mortal man could survive. I learned to respect the discipline and will-power of a well-trained Marine, and was left in awe of the effectiveness of the sniper. Charles Henderson does his part, too. He not only tells Hathcock's incredible story, but makes it an immersive, addictive one to read. Through his clear and descriptive writing, the reader is transported back in time to the dark "Charlie"-filled jungles of Vietnam, where he lies beside the sniper known as "Long Tra'ng" and experiences not only the satisfaction of a well-placed shot, but also the emotional struggles that a man must deal with when he takes the life of another one. Undoubtedly a timeless classic.
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on 23 February 2011
The high positive ratings for this book will give you some idea of what to expect from it. I found it gripping and would recommend it to anyone interested in military history and the Vietnam War. I would also recommend that if you decide to read it, that you watch online the Carlos Hathcock interview in which he elaborates on some of the sniper missions in the book. The book is shocking in its honesty when dealing with the art of killing at long range and his courage is astounding when you consider the horrific conditions and events surrounding him and his men.
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on 26 May 1999
This book is the story of GunnerySergeant Carlos Hathcock, USMC.What is so remarkable about this individual is the fact that he holds the highest number of confirmed kills in Vietnam by USMC Scout/ Snipers. This man also made the longest known shot with a kill at 2500 yards. This book is about this gentleman's life. Hathcock graduated high school in 1964 and entered the Marine Corps in that year. Before he was shipped to Vietnam, Hathcock won all kinds of matches with the Marine Corps marksmanship Unit. Hathcock earned his Navy Cross by returning six times to a damaged and burning armored personnel carrier to save the unconscious Marines within. He did this after being burned and blown up by the artillery shell that hit the APC. After he left the Marine Corps, Hathcock became a firearms instructor for the FBI and many smaller state agencies. He was diagnosed with MS and in February of this year died from complications at the age of 57. This is particularly poignant to me because I had the privilege of meeting this fine man twice in my life. Many people consider him a murderer, but I do not. He was simply the kind of extraordinary soldier that armies have relied upon for centuries. Carlos Hathcock is the type of role model people of today should look up to instead of individuals such as bill clinton.
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on 8 May 1998
I have nothing but the highest admiration for the man's ability and courage. The book, however, was shallow, syncophantic, and ultimately a waste of time. The Vietnamese are reduced to the basest racial stereotypes that are dangerously close to the buffoonish John Wayne movie "The Green Berets"; this in no way accurately reflects the reality of their worth as a foe. They world is full of infinitely better books and it is, quite simply, a shame that Hathcock's story is squandered on the author's sophmoric talents.
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on 4 June 2011
Outstanding story of sniper warfare. Respect to the author and what he achieved under some horrible conditions. I have read quite a number of sniper books and can say this was in my top 3 tiltles.
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