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Platoon Leader: A Memoir of Command in Combat Mass Market Paperback – 15 Mar 2003


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Presidio Press; New edition edition (15 Mar. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0891418008
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891418009
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 1.8 x 17.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 210,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Col. James McDonough, USA (Ret.), graduated from West Point and served in Vietnam as an infantry platoon leader in the legendary 173d Airborne Brigade. A military theorist who has helped shape the post-Cold War army's thinking, he is also the author of "The Defense of Hill 781" and "The Limits of Glory." Now retired from active duty, McDonough lives with his family in Tallahassee, Florida.

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alien in every way to Southeast Asia. Undergraduate study in civil engineering at Brooklyn Polytechnic allowed me to live at home and commute to college. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 10 Aug. 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
A brilliant, very personal, brilliantly written book about a leader's role. A very interesting look into a good leader's head and his thoughts, doubts, concerns. If you look for a good leadership book - this is the one. Balanced, yet very personal. If you look for a good memoire from Vietnam - this is the one. The real tragedy of that war in his own words, in personla experience. No big glory, no medal of honor, yet a humble but very respectful personality. Touching.
A book I think I am going to read again - this is just how good it is.
Absolutely recommended.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 Jun. 1999
Format: Paperback
I can't forget the characters in this book: Killigan, Nail, Donne, McDonough himself, and all the others. The prose is sparse but muscular. The author's passion for integrity in leadership and for his troops drips from the pages like tears shed at the Wall in Washington, D.C. The center piece of this unforgettable tale is the tragic truth that America would never know what good and honest and selfless men served their country in the Nam. I will use this book in my high-school English classes to teach new generations about the war, about the men who served, and about the strength of character that once existed in America and that made this country great. My favorite line occurs toward the end when Lt. McDonough, attempting to save the life of one of his troops, writes "I would not let him die. I would rip the world off its axis first." It's a powerful read and one you will not easily forget.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By bookworm on 25 Feb. 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent book about command. Made a change to get the officer,s viewpoint rather than the grunt. Would recommend to anyone interested in Vietnam War.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 Oct. 1998
Format: Paperback
It is not easy to be a leader if you are young and inexperienced. The book describes how a young officer established his leadership among a group of veterans. He faced a lot of difficulties at the beginning as the veterans perceived him just a "college boy" but they had to put the whole platoon fate to this "boy's" hand. Eventually, Lt. McDonough became a successful leader after he had devoted himself entirely to his platoon and his job.
The inside world of Lt. McDonough had a lot of similarities to mine when I was a probationary police inspector - similar capacity of a Lt. who normally leads a platoon or similar team size of policemen in the Hong Kong Police Force. We both experienced similar things for gaining the trust from our subordinates, we both needed to participate and devote ourselves in order to set good examples to others. We both needed to show firm and strong leadership in order to convince our men of our competence. I will recommend this book to my friends in the Force and I think they will like this book too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stu on 12 Aug. 2012
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To date this is the best Vietnam book I have read, once i started to read it I could not put it down. The authors honesty and attention to detail are a credit to a man that lived through one of the biggest and most shocking events a soldier should witness.
I can not recommend this book enough if you have an interest in the Vietnam War Era then this book should be at the top of your list, you will not be disapointed.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 Feb. 1999
Format: Paperback
"Platoon Leader" does more than provide a reader /soldier with invaluable lessons about leadership and combat experience. As a cadet at West Point, I benefitted the most from COL McDonough's story from his candid exposure of his thoughts and fears, which gave me the most realistic glimpse of the many challenges in my future profession.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 1 Aug. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Outstanding this is an inspired account of a junior officer who learn his trade and also cared for all those in his care,including the local population,some of whom did not share in his ideology.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Mike Coffey on 26 Sept. 2013
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A dispassionate and personal memory of something I wish never to experience but which makes me feel guilty that someone does on my behalf
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