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...and a Hard Rain Fell: A GI's True Story of the War in Vietnam
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...and a Hard Rain Fell: A GI's True Story of the War in Vietnam

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  537 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
The unforgettable story of a veteran's rage and the unflinching portrait of a young soldier's odyssey
ebook, 432 pages
Published January 1st 2008 by Sourcebooks (first published June 1985)
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Community Reviews

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Nov 25, 2008 Eric_W rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
A very powerful book, especially for those of us who faced the draft and Vietnam in the late sixties. Ketwig was sent to Vietnam where he faced unimaginable horrors. He rails against the army, as did most draftees, who became the "expendables" while the "lifers" stayed in their air-conditioned bunkers behind the lines and collected medals for themselves.

He "volunteers" for a second year to guarantee a billet in Thailand rather than return home because he doesn't think he can explain his 370 day
Jul 11, 2013 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vietnam
An absolutely searing and visceral account of one young mans war in Vietnam and its after effects on his life. At times extremely hard to read, making one ask many questions that have no answers, chiefly among them "Why?". I laughed, I wept, I squirmed, the author has a gift and hits all of ones emotions. If you read only one book about this one.
Jul 24, 2008 Kayla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This was actually assigned for one of my history classes and I dreaded reading it so much that I was finishing the book as I walked into my final for the class. But it was so worth it and is one of my many all time favorites.
Pinky And The Brain
For a soldier who lived in base for part of a tour and in Thailand for the other part, he sure did have a lot happen. Imagine meeting the enemy socially or suffering from depression due to a bad experience with drugs. Yes it's all here, it's sometimes well written, but at times lacks that quality that can lead the reader to believe what happened, maybe didn't.
Jan 31, 2016 Juanita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review: 26And a hard rain fell by John Ketwig.

A GI 19s experience of the war in Vietnam. Every person who served in Vietnam has their own traumatizing story to tell. Many people have put this author down and claim he is a whiner. I was only about ten when the war in Vietnam was going on and I have heard many stories some worst then others so why condemn this one soldier for his two years he gave to his Country. Why not read his accounts, even if some are flawed? He saw it the way it was to him
Dec 27, 2016 A PARRISH rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
one of the best vietnam books i have read, and i have read a lot
Michael Burnam-Fink
This is one of those Vietnam War memoirs that rises above the rest. Ketwig was basically a kid when he enlisted in 1967, hoping to avoid getting drafted and sent to Vietnam the only way an ordinary kid from upstate New York could. The recruiter promised him he'd be fixing trucks in Germany, but he wound up at a military scrap yard near Pleiku, with 365 days of war to survive.

There are the standard scenes; ambushes, terror, dead bodies, Army brutality, whorehouses and drug-fueled benders. Ketwig
Steve Woods
Jul 14, 2014 Steve Woods rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vietnam-war
This is one of the best books dealing with the Vietnam experience I have read. Perhaps part of its appeal for me came from the parallels between Ketwigs experience and my own. Both of us served in non combat units but were drawn into combat from the periphery by the nature of our work. Though precise experiences were different our responses were oh so very similar. More importantly his observations and thought were so ver familiar to me; now after so many years my own have faded into a kind of h ...more
Betsy Ashton
May 13, 2013 Betsy Ashton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I generally shy away from such books, but a new friend of mine gave me a copy of a book he wrote in 1985. He thought it would have meaning for me. It did, but maybe not in the way he intended.

...And a Hard Rain Fell: A GI's True Story of the War in Vietnam by John Ketwig is still in print. It's a hard book to read if you were in Vietnam or if you were on the home front, protesting or not, waiting for a loved one to come home or not. The back cover likens this to Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trum
Tyler Y
Oct 29, 2013 Tyler Y rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book ...and a hard rain fell: A GI's True Story of the War in Vietnam By: John Ketwig was an exhilarating war story, it induces the “True war story” feeling that author Tim O'Brien talked about in his book The Things They Carried . During the book John came across some Green berets, on a supply run, and they were interrogating 3 Vietnamese women. Throughout the course of this interrogation the women were beaten, battered, and abused since they refused to reveal any information. Until finall ...more
Richard Palmer
Feb 08, 2015 Richard Palmer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Now one of favorites books. Very highly reocmmended

John Ketwig’s memoir was a fascinating, absorbing story. I have read a lot of war stories, and this is one of the most memorable. He describes his experiences in Viet Nam with complete honesty. He talks about the fear, the terror, the despair, the hopelessness, and terrible destruction and what it did to him. The details about the war were enough to make this a worthwhile read, but the real story was about what it did to him. He did not know how
this book was mostly just sad. war does horrible things to people on all sides.

i liked how the author was just honest about what he felt while he was in vietnam. the way he was trained and treated in the army completely desensitized him to all this violence and he did things and witnessed things that were so horrible that looking back he doesn't know how he did it all. but he couldn't think of how to do differently at the time.

he says at the begininng that he wrote this book because he wanted to
Shaunaly ~  (A Book Away From An Episode Of Hoarders)
Ketwig's personally subjective account of a non combatant in Vietnam at the age of nineteen is brutally raw and emotionally insightful. It chronicles his experience, during which he confronted death and disillusionment not only with his country but with humanity and most importantly, with himself especially upon his return to American soil. Sadly, the same many faced during this horrific time in our Nation's history and to date, emotional detachment is a continued battle as P.T.S.D. is prevalent ...more
Jul 24, 2008 Melanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I am absolutely fascinated by this era. And this book is not only a book about war, but the culture at the time--politics, music! and life in the US. I do not generally like war stories, but this one is completely different. It is fascinating! I recommend this book to anyone who wants an honest look at the Vietnam war, the effects on our soldiers, and the interesting history of what was happening in the States while they were away. This book opened my eyes to this war. Rarely did anyone speak of ...more
May 03, 2009 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! If you like this genre- true life war stories that make you feel like you are there, then this is a great one. This book captrues how crazy the war was. Told from the point of view of a guy who was supporting the front line- a mechanic who was ambushed at times, on convoy details and mostly just fixing trucks, but at a place that would get shelled periodically. Not a "I was in the jungle for a year fighting every day" but just a typical guy- and how that screwed him up royally. The confusio ...more
May 14, 2013 Jackie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I had the great honor of hearing Mr. Ketwig speak at my college a few years back, and after his talk I got to meet him and buy his book directly from him (on impulse, I might add.) It was an amazing and eye-opening experience, and I'm so glad that I got to hear Mr. Ketwig's story. When I eventually got to reading ...and a hard rain fell, I found the book is amazing, if a bit hard to bear at times because of the honest frankness with which Ketwig articulates his time in Vietnam. It's an important ...more
Jan 30, 2015 Val rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this is the first Vietnam memoir I ever read. What struck me is the total sense of disbelief that the baby boomer Ketwig had at getting drafted and being compelled to do things he did not wish to do. NOT a sense of entitlement at all, just bewilderment and then growing resentment. He wrote the book over a decade after he came home, and he was well able to focus on his unfocused feelings at that time. Very nice work!
Feb 16, 2013 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brought back into print for its 20th anniversary, this is a gut-wrenching account of one GI's experience in Viet Nam. Unable to face the idea of returning to the U.S. after his first tour in Nam, Ketwig was walking the streets of Cambodia on the evening of July 21, 1969, as Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. He was hailed as a hero, simply for being an American. He nevertheless returned to Nam for a second tour. Highly recommended but not for the faint of heart.
Cindy Deyo
Jan 16, 2011 Cindy Deyo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This really is for anyone of "my" generation who wants to go back and truly feel what "the time's they are a changin'" was all about...wish I had just a bit of this information when I was in my tree-hugger days. A memoir of Vietnam - a slice of life for one 19-year old who came back forever changed. Humbling to say the least.
Joe Stack
Mr. Ketwig memoir is an important addition to what has been written about the Vietnam War. His account is from the perspective of a young enlisted man. It is not a glorified account. His memoir reminds us that the call to war should not be taken lightly, that officers are not perfect, and we owe our vets proper support.
Dec 17, 2013 Tammy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book caught my eye in a 2nd hand bookstore I read a few pages while standing in the store and I bought it. I got home and I never put it down. I think it would be a great read for anyone...but especially great if you are connected to The Vietnam War in any way. This book might help you understand someone a little better. Certainly will give you a different perspective.
Pauly Appleton
Feb 28, 2016 Pauly Appleton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazing story of one man's account of his Viet Nam experience. It is all about harsh reality and one becomes ensnared in his story. It is suspenseful and gruesome, but reality is never absent. I couldn't put this one down...
Mar 25, 2008 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another book I devoured when I was in the sixth grade. Was I actually smarter and hungrier to learn about my world then I am I dumbing down in my old age? Dear God. Someone give me something to read!
Oct 24, 2012 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! It was a vivid account of the whole scene surrounding Hill 875, Pleiku, and Dak To. It made me want to research and find out more....Ketwig is brutally honest and i loved thst! Great book!!!!!!
Nov 27, 2008 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not having much else to do one vacation, I picked this up at my parents' house and started reading. Oddly enough, I enjoyed it...I generally hate movies about war because they tend to glorify it, but this story told how wrong and pointless it is. It appealed to the bleeding-heart liberal in me.
Dec 21, 2008 Jenn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent journal of the war in Vietnam. It had a great balance of personal life in Vietnam vs Wartime in Vietnam. The Vietnam War is a part of history that I am very much interested in and this was a great paperback that depicts the emotion involved.
Jul 25, 2008 Lindsey marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I just finished reading A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo for school. My teacher recommended this one and conveniently enough, I already own it. So it's next on my list of Vietnam memoirs.
Aug 17, 2008 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most touching books I have ever read. And I don't use phrases like, "I was touched." It's really great.
Feb 14, 2010 Catharine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is very good. I would recommend it to anyone who likes war or history. It is very emotional but it IS worth reading
Jun 10, 2012 Raisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: friends, history majors, military people
Shelves: favorite-books
One of the few books that makes me cry. The narration of this book was magnificent. In some instaces I felt that I was right besides him.
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Powerful Book 2 11 Nov 25, 2008 11:32AM  
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