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The Tunnels of Cu Chi

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  711 ratings  ·  73 reviews
Recounts the discovery of a network of tunnels around Saigon and the resulting underground fighting between Viet Cong guerrillas and American special forces for control of the tunnels.
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 1st 1986 by Berkley (first published January 1st 1985)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,074)
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Michael Burnam-fink
Do you think you're hard? Do you think you're some sort of Tier Zero Modern Warfare Elite Ops Deniable Badass? Do you even think you know about such people? Until you've read this book, you don't know shit.

Cu Chi was a district just 25 miles from Saigon. Starting from the French Indochina War, local guerrillas carved tunnels out of the strong laterite clay that made up the district. By 1968, the Iron Triangle had over 200 miles of tunnels, with three and four level base camps including barracks,
Patrick Hogenboom
Read this in preparation for my trip to vietnam (my first trip to asia ever) to visit my girlfriend who worked there as a tour guide.
I read this book, describing the US side and The Sorrow of War: A Novel of North Vietnam describing the vietnamese side. This combination gave me some insight and a lot of respect for the resilience and resourcefulness of the vietnamese. Who had been at war or occupied for centuries by that point, and for whom war had become engrained into their culture.
When I met
Endah setiolaksono
i just can say this war just a mistake. Viet cong just defence her country from US army. What Us army done in vietnam war so ... ughh. If u come to vietnam go to War museum. U will see what US army done to this people who want defance they beloved country.
Jarrell Fisher
A fantastic book, balanced and fair. The author while obviously writing from the perspective of an American doesn't have a bias against the Vietnamese, but neither is he especially critical of the American war effort, instead he focuses on the tunnels. The book is neatly divided into various chapters that explore different facets of the tunnels. You get chapters on women in the tunnels, apparently the Vietnamese have been very progressive and allowed women to own property since ancient times, so ...more
The book provides an interesting and highly detailed description of the developement of the tunnel complexes, how they were used by the VC, and US efforts to counter them. The book is effective in that it remains relatively neutral describing the ingenuity of the VC (use of animals as traps/warning; concerts in the tunnels; jury rigging equipment (such as tubes from mines for surgical operations)) but also the bravery of the US Tunnel Rats. The author makes it clear that much of the US efforts w ...more
Nov 05, 2008 Art rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Vietnam War.
Why We didn't win in Vietnam, is what I would have titled this book.
This book gives account of how the 25th Infantry Division set up shop right on top of the tunnels of thier enemy.
The Lessons Learned were not learned and countless lives were hurt and destroyed because of American Pride and ignornace.
I was almost lynched and considered to be a traitor of my outspokeness of what I learned from this story.
Very good reading and not a dull moment.
Disco Biscuit
This is a fascinating read about the underground tunnels that kept Americans from defeating the Vietnamese. What's interesting about this book is that it examines the topic from a dual point of view, sharing experiences from both Vietnamese and American veterans, providing the reader with a more objective point of view than is commonly found in military history texts. I highly recommend this well-researched book.
The tunnels of Cu Chi were a tunnel system located almost directly between the free capital city of The Republic of Vietnam, Saigon, and the Ho Chi Minh trail which the communists used to bring men and supplies from Communist North Vietnam into the "battlegrounds" of South Vietnam. The Vietnam war was rarely fought in large set piece battles, but was mainly a guerilla war. The main mode of ambush by these communist guerilla fighters was via these elaborate tunnel systems.
As of page 88, this book
Who would have foreseen that over a million GIs would serve in Vietnam, and that the war would drag on for over ten years? How did a 'backward' nation outface the world's greatest superpower? Largely in part to the battle in the tunnels of Cu Chi between Viet Cong guerrillas and American 'Tunnel Rats.'
This area covered 200 miles of underground tunnel complexes of as many as four separate levels.

'In one month, throughout South Vietnam, the Americans fired about a trillion bullets, 10 million mor
There are many, many bad books about the war in Viet-Nam. This is one of the GOOD books about the war in Viet-Nam. If you want to learn a bit about the war on the ground, buy this book.
Mike Wigal
It turns out I bought a pirated copy from a guy at the War Remnants Museum in Saigon who had lost both arms and his sight due to unexplored ordnance. There were quite a few misspellings. But the story was clear. Those who lived and fought within the CuChi tunnels on both sides were extraordinary people. The NLF, aka Viet Cong, showed an almost superhuman resolve to win their independence from the colonial and western powers. Sitting in a Starbucks in Ho Chi Minh City, seeing the fashionable youn ...more
I found this gem of a book in a half price book store and was amazed at how ingenious the Viet Cong were during the war effort. The author wrote a fair and balanced perspective of the Vietnam war effort. I was amazed of how the tunnel system worked to the advantage for the Viet Cong against the Special Forces who became known as Tunnel Rats. The so called Tunnel Rats had to explore, destroy, and hopefully not find the enemy and lose their life. The Tunnels were booby trapped with punji sticks, v ...more
As military journalism goes, this is a superlative example. It details the struggle for a specific patch of real estate near Saigon during the Vietnam War. There's no point in trying to summarize any of this book; the stories are incredibly grim, heartbreaking, and alternately uplifting (though those are few and far between). With the benefit of hindsight, the authors dissect the American campaign on the ground and devote equal or greater weight to the perspectives of the Viet Cong guerrillas, w ...more
For whatever reason one of the most important aspects of the whole Vietnam conflict (if not the most important, as this book quietly implies), the tunnel wars, seem neglected by popular culture. Maybe because it is too harrowing.
British journalists Tom Mangold and John Penycate refuse to take sides, which is always, always, a blessing. They lay out their interviewees' accounts and you can decide for motives.
The tunnel system, and the people who lived, fought, killed and died in them, Vietnames
Bob Schmitz
Great detailed story of the intricate, extensive, ingenious tunnel network built over 30 years by the Viet Cong in the laterite clays near Saigon. The author tells the stories from both sides and I found myself sympathizing with both the Vietnamese living in unbelievably harsh conditions underground and the Americans getting shot and frustrated by an elusive enemy. There was tremendous bravery on both sides. Hand neither hand grenades thrown into the tunnels nor bombing from above did much to de ...more
As "war" books go, this is a great one. The authors took one slice of the Vietnam war and painstakingly interviewed and researched everything about it. The result is a very dense and complete discussion of the tunnels. I imagine this is a favorite for anyone who studies this war in particular. For my purposes, it may be a little much.

There is one big reason to read this book, and that's the fact that the story itself is impossibly remarkable. You read some books for their style and others for th
Christopher Rex
Incredible. If you truly want to understand the "American War" (aka: Vietnam War) and why things went so disastrously wrong for The World's Most Powerful Military, then this book is an essential. What the Vietnamese were able to accomplish "one basketful of dirt at a time" is beyond all comprehension. This book provides an incredible insight into the elaborate tunnel-system of over 250km that was built by the VC during the "French War" and continued during the "American War."

The author's base th
One of the better books on the Vietnam War on the personal level. The authors were able to interview survivors of both sides of the tunnel warfare which essentially won the war for the Vietnamese communists. Both sexes took part in the warfare, including combat, on the Vietnamese side as had occurred in earlier Vietnamese history. The VC had entertainers to keep up morale, just like the US side. What is interesting is the different attitudes of the American commanders, the CG of the 1st Infantry ...more
The Tunnels of Cu Chi focused on a very specific, but important aspect of the Vietnam War: the extensive Viet Cong tunnel systems. These tunnels allowed whole units to move throughout South Vietnam undetected and protected the Viet Cong from the US’s superior firepower. I was amazed to learn about the size, complexity, depth and sophistication of these tunnels. Numerous levels, carefully disguised entrances, lookout points, sniper nests, specialized trapdoors (designed specifically to limit the ...more
Robert Morganbesser
Great book about Viet Cong tunnels near a major US base during the Vietnam War and the men who battled in and around them.
Rich Hornbuckle
Well done. This book is full of shifting perspectives between Vietnamese and Americans with many anedotal portions from veterans. It also contextualizes the Cu Chi tunnel system strategically, and historically.
Wow. The stories of cunning skill and inventiveness in this book are amazing. That with the fact that the authors were as about as impartial as one can be, (both authors were BBC journalists), and interviewing both American and Vietnamese sides, really made this book into a serious piece of solid information.
From the story of the Vietnamese stealing an M-48 tank and burying it, to the birth of the tunnel rats, this book keeps coming with information that kept me fully interested.
Plus the whole
I wanted to learn more about the Cu Chi Tunnels after visiting Vietnam, and was recommended this book. It's written in a balanced way, showing both the Vietnamese and American sides of the story, as well as chapters on specific individuals. It doesn't glorify the war or seek to judge either side, but rather presents the courage, hardships and daily lives of those on both sides. It's a fascinating book and I would recommend it to those who have an interest in the Vietnam war or those who have vis ...more
Mary Alice Alice
I learned do much from this book. Hate to admit my ignorance, but I didn't even know these tunnels existed. I appreciate that this book was told from a nonjudgmental or biased viewpoint.
If you want to know what true horror is, read this book. Written by two British journalists, it covers the war in the tunnels from both sides: the Viet Cong and the US special service nicknamed the tunnel rats. The authors come to the conclusion that the tunnels (over 246 kilometers of them) were the main reason behind the Communist North's eventual victory over the Americans and the puppet regime they supported. A gripping read that makes you thankful you above ground, not beneath it.
A good book on a subject that I knew nothing about. It shows again how ill equipped the Americans were in this war despite their huge technological supremacy. On top of the fascinating topic the book is good because it shows the topic from both sides. The authors cannot help showing their admiration for the Vitnamese approach which contrasts with the clumsy American approach. But they also show their admiration for the tunnel rats even though most of them were psychos.
The Black Echo by Connelly put me onto this book and I was not disappointed. Anyone interested in war history should check this out. I personally know a guy who was a tunnel rat and he is crazy and now I know why. I almost went crazy just reading this. I will not even crawl under the bed much less down a tunnel with someone shooting at me. However you do have to watch those dust bunnies because they will stab you in the back and they work in pairs.
Having spent thousand of hours on the Cold War and its impact on IR during my undergraduate study, I did not have the chance to get some insides of what it really meant to "people". This book is such a remarkable work and invaluable opportunity to understand the Vietnam conflict and who actually paid the prices of the bloody Cold War. If you have ever been to HCMC in Vietnam and had a chance to crawl in the Tunnels, you will like this book very much.
Andrew Smith
I read this about 20 years ago and the images still stick in my head. To my knowledge, no one spoke about the 'tunnel rats' during the Vietnam War, but these men were charged with exploring the booby trapped tunnel networks the Viet Cong dug to hide whole villages, and which allowed gunmen to spring up out of nowhere, wreak havoc on advancing Americans, then disappear again. Brilliantly researched and told, it's a frightening, sobering, fantastic read.
Giving u different insight about what really happened in Vietnam War, especially about the infamous underground tunnels that spread around the Vietnam during that war. A remarkable good book, narrated in journal-like war book, is has very detailed interviews of some high ranking Viet Congs and US Marines and also few comrades and Tunnel Rats that participated in the war. The best book about Vietnam War that i've ever read!
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“I could smell the Viet Cong, really, I could smell Charlie. It wasn’t just his body sweat or the urine. There were times when I could hear the breathing, real quiet; you could hear a person breathe, and I’d know he was in there, and I didn’t go any farther. I just said to myself: In this dark corner of a tunnel is where the animal belongs, a rodent belongs. I’m becoming like a rodent, but still I don’t belong. Yes, I could smell Charlie. And he knew me. The type of cologne I used, the aftershave—that’s when we stopped using it altogether. But there was more than that. There was the scent that told you there was somebody in the tunnels. We became so tuned up after a while that when the other person would flick an eyelid up or down, you really knew he was there, in the corner, not even hiding anymore. Just sitting and waiting. They were the ones you never killed. You just backed out and told them up above the tunnel was cold.” 1 likes
“This is how I see humanity. When enemies come to your country, destroy the countryside and your village, kill your countrymen, your comrades and the defenseless wounded, you have to kill them and defend your compatriots; that is true humanity.” 1 likes
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