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The Village

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  655 Ratings  ·  36 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. Such
Paperback, 400 pages
Published January 1st 2003 by Pocket Books (first published 1972)
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Mustang USMC
Oct 10, 2014 Mustang USMC rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Oct 14, 2010 Matt rated it really liked it
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
A powerful tribute to a concept of counterinsurgency proven in combat. The concept was simple...partner a few good men (one squad of marines) selected for their combat experience and compatibility (empathy, respect for Vietnamese, good character) with local protection forces and allow them to operate and interact within broad intent - protect and defend the local population. They did just that. Not only defeating the aims of the VC, but also winning the hearts, respect and admiration of the vill ...more
Apr 26, 2015 Jackie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, war
A well-told little-known story about the Vietnam War that people should know.

I'm a newbie to war details, so I had to learn some terminology (e.g. "Bobby was at point" means that Bobby was the guide, marching at the front of the patrol) and read up a little on how the US military is organized (e.g. a battalion is bigger than a company). But Mr. West gave just the right amount of background where necessary, so I felt neither completely lost nor overburdened with dry facts and figures. After the f
Dec 05, 2014 Wade rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Abby Jones
Jun 17, 2015 Abby Jones rated it it was amazing
Sometimes it seems like there are no positive stories about brave warriors from the Vietnam war. There is no praise offered up to the men who fought in the war and no honoring of their acts and valor.

This book goes against the Vietnam grain and tells the story of a group of marines who live, sweat, laugh, love and die in a Vietnam village protecting it from the Viet Con. Not a long book, or overly challenging, it never the less pays honor and homage to these men.

I really enjoyed the book. It was
Will Hoover
Mar 15, 2015 Will Hoover rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asia, history, vietnam-war
What most impressed me about this book is that it is told not only from the point of view of the small group of hand picked American Marines who helped to defend "the Village," but because the author also devotes quite a bit of the narrative to the many local Vietnamese who took part in the factual events being depicted.

Many readers many have to exercise quite a bit of patience at first however, because despite a well structured framework, much of the first third of the book focuses almost exclu
Michael Burnam-fink
Nov 18, 2013 Michael Burnam-fink rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 07, 2013 Jimmy rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 13, 2011 Owen rated it really liked it
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
Feb 15, 2016 Bruinrefugee rated it really liked it
I've read several books by Bing West and this is really -- by far -- the most powerful with the most gripping detail. It tells the tale of counter-insurgency by a Marine squad in Vietnam, but not in any theoretical fashion but rather through their successes, their tragedies, and the aftermath (good and bad). It really is a great read, but is more than just the details as it gives room to evaluate a number of conclusions and approaches advocated by folks on more theoretical levels.
Dec 12, 2007 James rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Adolescents and adults
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
Oct 08, 2011 Charis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
John Tintera
Jan 15, 2011 John Tintera rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
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
Aug 03, 2011 Andre rated it really liked it
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
Sep 30, 2015 Popebrak rated it liked it
Bing West's account of his experience in Vietnam provides a very personal record of American Marines' counter-insurgency experience in the later days of the war. On the USMC's recommended reading list. Well worth your time.
George Reedy
Apr 17, 2016 George Reedy rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating chronicle of a little known experiment that might have turned the tide in Vietnam. Well written and concise, the story gripped me from beginning to end.
May 14, 2014 Linda rated it liked it
Not my usual read but I enjoyed the book. Was a little repetitive in areas but helped me to understand the struggle.
Austin Heuke
Dec 09, 2012 Austin Heuke rated it really liked it
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
Jun 15, 2014 Ryan rated it it was amazing
One of the best books explaining the triumph and tragedy of combined units.
Malaria Is Cool
lik dis if u cry evertim
Jan 05, 2014 Joseph rated it really liked it
Shelves: audible
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
Jan 24, 2012 Brandon Baggett rated it liked it
Shelves: marine-corp
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.
Feb 10, 2011 Nemesis2me rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 31, 2012 Chris rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 11, 2012 Stephen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vietnam-war
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.
Sep 22, 2012 Greg rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 04, 2009 Jane rated it it was amazing
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.
Thatcher Freund
Oct 12, 2015 Thatcher Freund rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
What great potential this book had - following a group of soldiers in Vietnam. Unfortunately, such tales depend on character development and original thinking, both of which this book lacks.
Aug 29, 2008 Kyle rated it really liked it
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.
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