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The Village

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  468 ratings  ·  29 reviews
In Black Hawk Down, the fight went on for a day. In We Were Soldiers Once & Young, the fighting lasted three days. In The Village, one Marine squad fought for 495 days -- half of them died.
Few American battles have been so extended, savage and personal. A handful of Americans volunteered to live among six thousand Vietnamese, training farmers to defend their village.
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Paperback, 400 pages
Published January 1st 2003 by Pocket Books (first published 1972)
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1984 by George OrwellCombat Ready by David WolstenholmThe United States Marines by Edwin Howard SimmonsFirst to Fight by Victor H. KrulakStarship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein
U.S. Marine Corps Reading List 2011
31st out of 50 books — 19 voters
We Were Soldiers Once... and Young by Harold G. MooreAbsolutely Nothing by Mark A. CooperA Rumor Of War by Philip CaputoA Bright Shining Lie by Neil SheehanDispatches by Michael Herr
Vietnam War Books
56th out of 99 books — 73 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,231)
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Mustang USMC
To some, the Vietnam War was a chance for medals, promotions, and one day a star on their shoulder. To most, serving in Vietnam was their duty—a patriotic chore to serve their country. Along the way, a student of the Vietnam War will find countless demonstrations of raw courage and heroism: servicemen of all of our Armed Forces, giving of themselves for a greater purpose. Of course, nearly sixty thousand of our young men gave the ultimate sacrifice. Many more gave up their limbs, or suffered deb ...more
Matt
This is a great book. You can probably count the number of combat stories I'll read in my lifetime on one hand, but I'm very glad this is one. (In fact, I've now read it twice.)

It is less a story about individuals than it is about groups of people - the Marines, the villagers, the Vietnamese armed forces, and the Viet Cong. But that doesn't imply the human element isn't fundamental to this history.

The author portrays the drama of the Vietnam War in recounting the experience of a platoon with a s
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Wade
As a former Marine who served in the early 70's, this book was especially interesting to me. It is the story of how the Marines tried an experiment in the mid 60's where they had a squad of Marines live in a Vietnamese village. The Marines worked with the locals to defend the area against the Viet Cong and NVA and interact closely with the people. The locals came to respect them, and some became real friends. The village considers them "their" Marines.

This true story reads like a novel. There i
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Michael Burnam-fink
The conventional wisdom among historians is that America lost the Vietnam War in the villages and hamlets. Large American units didn't understand the locals, used air power and artillery as a blunt instrument, and drove the villagers into the hands of the Viet Cong. The Village presents an alternative to that narrative, about an operation where a Marine rifle squad lived and worked alongside the government's Popular Forces, and over the course of a two years, managed to regain control of the vil ...more
Jimmy
Apr 07, 2013 Jimmy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: war
Now considered a minor classic, not only of the Vietnam War, but of COIN (counterinsurgency warfare). Tells the story of about fifteen marines who volunteered to live among 6,000 Vietnamese, training farmers to defend their village. They were called CAPs (Combined Action Platoons). They spent almost two years in the village of Binh Nghia. It was on the coast, north of Quang Ngai and south of Da Nang. This was I Corps, the most dangerous area in the country. They were outnumbered against the Viet ...more
Owen
Firstly, Bing West is a magnificent author. This book reads like a novel, but I'm not sure anyone would accept it if it were fiction- it's too outlandish, the characters too wild, our country would never leave boys in harm's way for that long with almost no support. (17 months- large swathes of which where the ranking man was a corporal. I know we have brilliant corporals in the USMC, but they deserved more support).

I spent most of this book shocked at what the military allowed to happen during
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James
This first-hand narrative from the Vietnam war describes one of the few bright spots in that sorry time - still a grim story in many ways, but a positive period in the history of one South Vietnamese village in which a Marine squad lived among them on a long-term basis and shared their daily lives as well as leading and training the local militia unit that carried on that duty after the Marines were pulled out by higher headquarters. The impact on the local culture can be seen in the fact that e ...more
Charis
required reading for work, and probably should be required reading for every American. This is a picture of Vietnam no one has seen or understood; not every war is waged in the battlefield. The battle for hearts and minds is an old concept, and one we have have sorely forgotten.

Bing West provides insight into the daily lives of a squad of marines embedded in a Vietnamese village to root out VC and provide security and stability within the village. Sound familiar? Over the course of 2 years the v
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John Tintera
This book was recommended to me by my wife's boss who is a personal friend of the author. It turns out that West is something of a big shot among Department of Defense types and this is his seminal work. It is still used as a textbook today by rising officers.

The Village is a case study of how one Marine platoon embedded itself into a Village along the border with North Vietnam and systematically rooted out the Viet Cong. The majority of marines who participated in the action were killed. At the
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Andre
I agree with both Gannon and Wolf. It is a gripping story. I just don't know how much of it was true. Mr. West was not actually at this village until the very end but he writes as if he was there all along. Not West's best book as far as confirmed facts are concerned.



I met West at Quantico, VA right before my tour as an advisor in Iraq. He seemed like he was very full of himself. I am sure that he has done many great things but his reputation seems a little self generated.



That being said, I rea
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Linda
Not my usual read but I enjoyed the book. Was a little repetitive in areas but helped me to understand the struggle.
Austin Heuke
This book was a very vivid epic of the conflict in Vietnam. The text is written in a higher level then my past books which made it more of a challenge, which i liked. It gave exact details of what really happened in the village of Bingh Nghia. I gave this book only four stars becuase I am more interested in historical fiction, while this one was like opening up a history book and reading it for a history class, however it was a very good and detailed read.
The plot of the book is set in vietnam
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Ryan
One of the best books explaining the triumph and tragedy of combined units.
Steve Sckenda
The story of 15 resolute young Americans matched against two hundred Viet Cong; how a “Combined Action Platoon" (CAP) lived, fought and died, and why the villagers remember them to this day. Few American battles have been so extended, savage and personal. A handful of Americans volunteered to live among six thousand Vietnamese, training farmers to defend their village. Such CAPs are now a lost footnote about how the war could have been fought; only the villagers remain to bear witness.
Malaria Is Cool
lik dis if u cry evertim
Joseph
Great book that I kept having to set aside, but finally finished. The USMC's work with their combined action platoons (CAPs) is a part of the Vietnam War that goes largely untold, which is quite sad. The Marines who defended the village of Binh Nghia, and the inhabitants who lived there, deserve better. I also wish we were better at retaining the lessons of counterinsurgency, rather than having to relearn them every generation.
Brandon Baggett
Bing West did a fantastic job of describing the everyday small unit conflict of Vietnam. He goes into detail about the little hamlet of Bihn Nghia and the Marines who sacrificed so much to protect the people of that town. It is a great eye opener to the difficulties that the American forces faced through the guerrilla tactics of the Viet Cong.
Nemesis2me
Awesome book, you really feel the situations they're in especially with me being in the Marine Corps and also being half Vietnamese with most of my family living near there. I definitely want to take a trip to that village now and get a first hand perspective on what happened there. Again, it was a great read and I just couldn't put it down.
Chris
Not just book for marines, an amazing story that can be enjoyed by all. For marines however, is should be required reading for its countless lessons in leadership, courage, and selflessness. This is one of my absolute favorite books, it details a combined action platoon in Vietnam, and I have reread it several times
Stephen
A masterpiece of war reportage and storytelling. Tells in deeply moving and human terms the story of one Marine squad's fight alongside Vietnamese troops to protect one village from the Viet Cong. In so doing it offers a history of the Vietnam War in microcosm.
Greg
Bing West writes in a style that details the events in a small town in Vietnam as if it were a novel. He goes into a very personal account of the actions and activities of the Marines and Vietnamese forces there. It's an entertaining and informative read.
Jane
This is an amazing true story of a group of enlisted Marines in Vietnam.
I was spell bound by the human connection, it's drama and suspense.
Unfortunately, I gave my copy along with many other donations to the library. I'm going to re-purchase it.
Kyle
This is one of two books I purchased to put onto my eBook reader to take to Australia. I've not read a full book on it yet, so it will be a new experience.
Lee
As I expected, this was a good read about a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War, the part that was won by the US & GVN by the early '70s.
R.J. Hendrickson
Really good, one of the best books on the Vietnam War. Quite fascinating about the bravery and leadership shown by these enlisted men.
Dave
Very interesting true story of a group of marines putting it all out there to help a small village surrounder by Viet Cong.
Pnorman811
No fault of this book that I couldn't finish it. Sometimes there is just too much war.
Evan
It's on the CMC's reading list for Corporals and Sergeants for a reason
Shawn
Amazing story.
Mary
Mary marked it as to-read
Mar 03, 2015
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