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Sog: The Secret Wars of America's Commandos in Vietnam Mass Market Paperback – 31 Dec 1998


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 383 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton / Signet; Reprint edition (31 Dec. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451195086
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451195081
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 2.7 x 17.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 60,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Dirk Hardcharger on 16 July 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Studies & Observations Group. Seldom has a military unit's title so inadequately described what they actually did. Which was, of course, the point.
I have read many books on the subject of Special Forces & covert ops in Vietnam. This is, without doubt, the best. Still utterly compelling and inspiring, even now on the third read.
What you have to keep reminding yourself, when reading this book, is that it is a true account of a secret war. So brave, heroic, selfless & daring were the deeds carried out by the men of SOG, it is easy to forget that they were real events that happened to real people in real danger.
It's a gripping account of the activities of men, who's job it was to play the most dangerous game of `cat & mouse' imaginable. SOG men volunteered to go into hostile territory in small teams (typically 6 to 8 men), surrounded by thousands of enemy soldiers and bring back vital intelligence which was almost certainly responsible for saving many thousands of American lives. Sometime they did this completely undetected, all too often they had to run and fight for their lives to escape a vastly numerically superior foe intent on their destruction.
John Plaster recounts many recon missions and the battle for survival SOG men faced each time they waged their silent war against the VC and NVA. You can almost feel the fear and adrenaline generated from such dangerous work. Almost. No book could ever truly give you a full understanding of how it felt to do what SOG did, but this book gets closer than any other I've read.
At times this book also made me angry. All too often, deeds of heroism and bravery went unrecognized, due partly to the secret nature of what SOG did but sometimes due to the incompetence of the military.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Oct. 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a former SOG helicoper gunner (20th SOS Green Hornets) it is truely amazing that the story can finally be told on what went on so long ago in the skies and ground areas of Cambodia and Laos. To us who served, it is a tribute to an operation that to most in the military at that time did not exist. To those of us who were there, and saw the bodies returned, this was a war that will forever be in the forefront of our memories. After 28 years of putting the war behind me, this book (the first I have read on Vietnam) has helped me come to terms with my Vietnam service. I would recommend the reading to anyone unfamiliar with SOG operations. The book truly is the stuff movies are made of!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. R. Krantz on 11 July 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book to read as I have taken an interest in other 20th century conflicts in addition to the two world wars.

Well what an eye opener. Major(Ret) Plaster is an incredible man who documents the experiences of daring special operations within vietnam in a way that only a veteran could.

He takes you through the entire involvement in the war, from prior to major US involvement, throughout the main years of the US led war effort and in the aftermath and the wind down, in which SOG were still very active throughout.

He documents how this extraordinary band of men were the true meaning of "economy of force" by punching well above their weight and providing a return of losses in the region of NVA 250:1 SOG Trooper. He documents their incredible missions with tremendous detail to keep the reader interested and accounts how SOG pioneered many innovative and now regular special forces techniques such as HALO jumping insertion, Bright Light patrols and certain psychological warfare deception techniques etc.

He also portrayed to me the fickle nature of the politicians, regularly downgrading or even failing to recognise the tremendous contribution of the average SOG soldier in this bitter campaign they waged simply because the missions were secret, not 100% by the book or similar poor excuses. It is similar to the constant failure of recognition of British troops in small cold war conflicts such as Oman in the 70's.

This book gives a good insight into special forces operations and the dark arts of cold war operations and how truly path-forging these operatives were with their unique ability to push boundaries and pioneer new techniques.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By XiMenQing on 26 April 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Wonderful book detailing some of the little known operations in Cambodia and Laos during the Vietnam conflict.

Although the author was there and saw action, he writes it in a factual style which adds weight to the first hand accounts given.

He doesn't keep on about how brave the people were, he leaves you to make your own minds up and assumes a certain level of intelligence in the reader.

Can't recommend highly enough.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Antony A. Jones on 10 July 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
firstly, just buy this book and read it you will not be dissapointed.
this book details many missions that the sog went on during the vietnam war, and one thing that gets you almost immediately was the sheer loss of life that these units experienced. the missions they went on were virtual suicide missions. they knew they would have contact with the enemy as soon as they had been inserted,they knew there was a mole in saigon relaying their mission details to hanoi, and they knew they would be persued constantly while they were in cambodia and laos, yet they still went on the missions. this book is gripping, if you can cope with the many deaths described in the book.
excellent read, not glorified or gung ho at all.
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