Top positive review
25 people found this helpful
Painfully honest, gripping and vivid
on 11 April 2002
The most impressive thing about this book is Caputo's absolute honesty. This is a painstaking and painful dissection of his tour in Vietnam, of his changing motivation and personality and ultimately of the processes and experiences that change a normal and ostensibly honourable young man into somebody who basically orders the unlawful execution of Viet Cong suspects.
Caputo builds an extremely vivid image of life in a Marine unit both before and during its time in Vietnam, and in doing so creates an almost first hand experience for the reader. Caputo's description of action is incredibly thorough and extremely sharp. The minutiae of life at base and the chaos and terror of jungle warfare are graphically recreated. Coupled with the reader's basic identification with Caputo himself, the reader is often forced to ask hard questions about himself. What would I do? How would I react? Where is my 'moral net'?
Literary stuff aside, this is a book I can return to again and again and always find something new.