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Sog: The Secret Wars of America's Commandos in Vietnam [Mass Market Paperback]

John L. Plaster
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
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Book Description

31 Dec 1998
SOG was the most secret elite U.S. military unit to serve in the war in Vietnam, so secret it was ablacka a meaning its very existence was carefully concealed, even denied by the government. Innocuously code-named the Studies and Observations Group, SOG contained only volunteers from such units as the Army Green Berets, USAF Air Commandos and Navy SEALs, and answered directly to the Pentagonas Joint Chiefs, with some missions requiring approval from the White House. Inside Vietnam, only General William Westmoreland and a few senior non-SOG officers were briefed on SOG activities. Now Major John L. Plaster, a three-tour SOG veteran, vividly recounts the never-before-revealed exploits.
SOG took on the most dangerous assignments, going behind enemy lines to penetrate North Vietnamese military facilities in Laos and Cambodia and along the heavily defended Ho Chi Minh Trail, where only air support - and sometimes no support at all - was available. As colorful as they were heA-roic, the men of SOG were bound together by their dedication. Though few in number, they were awarded ten Medals of Honor and hundreds of Purple Hearts. Their ranks included the waras most highly decorated unit, as well as the most highly decorated American soldier. Now their stories, among the most extraordinary to come out of the Vietnam War, can at at last be told.
This Paladin reprint contains an exclusive new foreword by General John Singlaub, who served as Chief SOG from 1966 to 1968.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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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: 17.2 x 10.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 52,628 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SOG. Utterly compelling, gripping and inspiring 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent factual style 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 A Customer
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book about the Vietnam War, ever! 30 Jan 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I waited almost 30 years for this story to be told. It's about what is best about the United States Military. There is more heroism and adventure than all of Tom Clancy's books combined. If you served in Vietnam, knew someone who did, or even if you protested the war, read this book. It's 6-stars. Don Gordon, formerly Captain, 403rd Special Operations Detachment, 5th SFG, Vietnam
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well written story about very brave men. 8 Jan 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book was very enlightening for me. I served in Vietnam for 24 months but had no idea we were operating this much recon in Laos and Cambodia. These were very brave men and my thanks go to the author for doing the research and bringing their stories to public attention after many years of relative obscurity. This story needed to be told!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic, but sobering 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it! 7 Jun 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Thought this was going to be full of brief accounts of battles that only served to whet my appetite, but i was wrong, jam packed with 3rd person accounts of some ferocious engagements, and a insight the the darker world of "Black Ops" and psychological warefare - a fascinating read, a book i couldn't put down
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I was in OP-80/JPRC in 1971-72, during the times that the recon teams were running Bright Light missions under great pressure with dwindling air support assets. These were very difficult times. The description of DeLuca's killing, the search for Butcher, and the frustration to recover our comrades-in-arms was very detailed and accurate. The author was able to help the reader understand these very emotional and personal events. Thanks for helping us cope with those events and times.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Interested in the history of the Vietnam war? If so, then this book ir...
A great insight into a little known subject of the Vietnam War. If researching the activities of US forces in Vietnam then this book is certainly worth reading. Highly recommended.
Published 3 days ago by Peter Wooton
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
The plus, I pretty much read it in a day, I found it that gripping. The negative, the author at times gives too much information about the command structure using too much military... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Velo Mitrovich
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Brilliant book.
Totally absorbing I could not put this book down.
Well written and gave me loads of new facts.
Published 5 months ago by C. Edwards
5.0 out of 5 stars Really interesting.
Five stars because it arrived quickly, was cheap to buy and informed me of the great feats of daring and bloody mindedness off a very small, specialized group of men that I had... Read more
Published 8 months ago by WhisperingEye.xxx
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this
The story tends to jump around a bit as it is actually a lot of short stories in one, but some of those accounts are fantastic and definitely worth a look
Published 9 months ago by chris grant
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and thrilling
This book details SOG right from the begin to its end and had me hooked straight away with lots of information but also lots of action an tales of heroism. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Langram
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book ever written !!!
Absolutely love it. By far my favorite book. Excellent. It's written in such a way it makes you feel like you are in middle of a special forces mission for real.
Published 12 months ago by S. Mohanadasan
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing read
Given the authors access to SOG veterans, this book reads very disappointingly, I have to say. I've read a few books similar in nature and topic, however this book just didn't live... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Sam Beck
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking
5 Stars without question, i knew a little of sog before reading this and it filled in the gaps. Sog were put into laos and cambodia to obtain intel on nva forces there, they knew... Read more
Published 15 months ago by d m
5.0 out of 5 stars In the Shadows of Vietnam
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. Read more
Published 21 months ago by A. R. Krantz
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