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Word of Honor

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4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  6,479 ratings  ·  214 reviews
He is a good man, a brilliant corporate executive, an honest, handsome family man admired by men and desired by women.But a lifetime ago Ben Tyson was a lieutenant in Vietnam.There the men under his command committed a murderous atrocity -- and together swore never to tell the world what they had done. Now the press, army justice, and the events he tried to forget have cau ...more
Paperback, 880 pages
Published September 1st 1998 by Grand Central Publishing (first published November 1st 1985)
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Plum Island by Nelson DeMilleThe Lion's Game by Nelson DeMilleNight Fall by Nelson DeMilleThe Charm School by Nelson DeMilleThe Gold Coast by Nelson DeMille
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Community Reviews

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Andrew Smith
Nelson DeMille tends to produce long books (this one is nearly 900 pages) and that can feel a little intimidating. Yet once into the narrative I always feel the same: amused by a wise-cracking lead character, enthralled by a compelling storyline and, in due course, wishing the book were even longer. Yes, he can sometimes provide a little too much detail, but this minor niggle is more than compensated for by his ability to truly bring his characters to life, deliver brilliant dialogue and to uner ...more
Melodie
Ben Tyson thought that Viet Nam and all it's death and destruction was left far behind. He did his time and managed to come home in one piece. He built a good life with all the requisite trappings of success. And then it all comes tumbling down around him. A book is published that outlines a massacre involving the inhabitants of a Vietnamese hospital including women,children and medical staff. And the book points the finger at Ben Tyson and the squad he led.
In a short amount of time, Ben finds
...more
Chuck
This is my all time favorite Nelson DeMille book, which is saying a lot because a) I really like DeMille and b) I am a huge fan of a numbeirr of his books. So saying this is my fave of his is high praise indeed.

Written and set in the mid 80s, the book follows uthe fortunes of Ben Tyson, a successful executive in the aerospace industry who is married, has a nearly grown son, and has put the Vietnam War behind him. However, a book has appeared that allages that the platoon he commanded in Hue in 1
...more
Heather
I am a HUGE Nelson DeMille fan and this book is up there with my favorites. Once again in DeMille style, he touches down close to home for me in Garden City and Sag Harbor, two towns on Long Island I know quite well. Being that I was born in 1982, I never really knew much about Vietnam. My dad was too young to be drafted and it was only after the draft ended that he turned 18 and went to college instead of enlisting. But, my friend's fathers who fought in that war usually have the same response ...more
Iain Hamill
DeMille can certainly string a few sentences together. Having an interest in the wider culpability issues raised by My Lai and similar instances, I found his treatment thorough and provocative. He creates very genuine and consistent characters and some of the action sequences are second to none. (Not many authors in my opinion are able to combine the 750-pages-in-2-days style readability with deeper issues that you find yourself thinking about for days/weeks after.) I think his novels wouldn't l ...more
Donna Antaramian
Word of Honor
I have had this audio book since 2009 and finally made myself listen to it. I now ask myself why I waited so long. DeMille has always been a favorite author, my favorite (until now) was The General’s Daughter.
This is no short listen .. some 28 hours of which I had a hard time putting it down. The story take place some 18 years after Ben Tyson has returned from Vietnam, a man with a comfortable job in NY, a family out in the 'burbs and a sense of honor. Someone has written a bestsel
...more
Marsha Thompson
My scale is
1 - didn't like
2 - Ok
3 - Enjoyed
4 - Would see the movie
5 - would read again.

This book got a 2. I thought the ending was somewhat anticlimactic. It took a long time to tell the story and I'm not sure the characters are any better off than they were before the events of the book. That was probably the intent that nobody wins at war, but it lead me to believe that the lead character has something up his sleeve to reveal about his nemeses. What he revealed had been foretold and it was a
...more
Malcolm
I like Nelson DeMille. He writes the way I fix things around the house -- methodically -- takes his time -- and doesn't have to repeat himself.

This book is a reflection on Vietnam, as written by a Vietnam Vet himself.

It's a retrospective look, so it's set in semi-modern era (80's maybe? Folks still smoke indoors)... and looks back at things that happened in the past -- doing so in an intelligent and interesting way.

It's really two stories wrapped around each other. The retelling of Vietnam, and
...more
Eric_W
Finished. Totally excellent.

I'm about half way through and I have to say I suspect this may be the best DeMille I have read. I believe that DeMille was an infantry Lt. in Vietnam and it shows. I've read a lot of Vietnam books and I think this one captures the impact on the soldiers and the internal conflicts many of them suffered as well or better than any of the others. The scene where Tyson "confronts" the author of the book that reveals the details of the massacre is a classic. The inner turm
...more
Larry Crane
Reading the other reviews of Word of Honor I see that most people who did not go to Vietnam as a serviceman conclude that most of those who did go experienced the very worst of that chapter of our history, the period after 1968 or so when the people back home had turned against the war and against those who were fighting it, and when drugs and cynicism among the troops was rampant. It's a skewed perspective. Most of the people who spent time in VN in the service don't talk much about it because ...more
Marlene
When I first saw that this book was about Vietnam, I wasn't sure I wanted to read another book about the war. But it is not really about Vietnam, not directly. It is about Lieutenant Ben Tyson, a product of Vietnam. A man who had been keeping a secret for 18 years about a massacre that had happened; that he and his men had sworn to keep secret. But someone wrote a book and one of the men gave up information. The Army cannot touch civilians, but Ben Tyson, being an officer, was able to be recalle ...more
Tim Corke
Completely and utterly exhausted and exhilarated after completing Word of Honour at 2am but it's definitely been worth it. I started this lengthy novel struggling but it picks you up and smashes you into a gritty military legal battle that fills you with anger, disbelief and bewilderment at the shocking situations Lt Tyson endures.

At times you question and battle with the morality and human scars created by warfare during the Vietnam war, the strangulation, resentment and love experienced in his
...more
Alan
I really enjoyed this book. It works on many levels: great dialogue, complex characters, fascinating story and a great climax. Gives the reader a palpable sense of what it was like to be an American soldier in the Vietnam war in which they never really knew who might turn out to be the enemy or where they might turn up.

The relentless tension this creates amongst the Americans leads them to commit a tragic act that doesn't become public knowledge until 17 years after the war. The book is about t
...more
John
I rarely read books about Vietnam. Although this book isn't exactly about the war, none the less, it contains the things about the Vietnam War that make me shy away. For years I felt very guilty that I had not been ordered to serve there. I knew, had I gone, I would not have come back. I only missed going by a year or so. Not my choice, not that I wanted to go because I didn't. The army didn't send me nor did it send numerous West Point graduates in my Infantry Basic Course class. I lost that at ...more
Ann
"This is one of DeMille's earlier books I had not read so when I saw it at my library's book sale I snagged it without looking to see what it was about. The background is Viet Nam. I don't read much about that war because it ends up making me so mad at our political and military leaders I get physically ill. But DeMille writes so well one is compelled to read on."

Read on am glad I did. DeMille's characters are similar to his other books, but that's OK, I like them very much. This book brought s
...more
Raymond
I thoroughly enjoyed this stirring read about a riveting atrocities trial of an US Army lieutenant who served in Vietnam. The development of all of the character is well done and believable.
I was introduced to the complexities of the Universal Code of Military Justice while in training at Bainbridge Air force Base in Georgia. While a newly married with a infant girl and living In Tacoma, Washington, I was inconveniently assigned to a distant reserve unit North of Seattle. I fortunately obtained
...more
Dennis D.
This is one of my favorite Nelson DeMille novels, and in my opinion, one of his most literary.

Set in the early- to-mid- 1980s, Vietnam War vet Ben Tyson is a successful and seemingly-respectable corporate middle-management type who is suddenly ‘outed’ in a tell-all book as the officer responsible for a My Lai-type atrocity. Up until this point, this war crime had been covered up, and no one had ever been held accountable. Tyson’s life is thrown into chaos as the U. S. government reactivates his
...more
Chad
Nelson DeMille – Word of Honor:

New York Times Bestselling author Nelson DeMille has written a novel of epic scope, Word of Honor is one completely gripping story about what will happen to this haunted, guilt-ridden, essentially honorable man as his life and loved ones are massacred.

Ben Tyson, a lifetime ago was a Lieutenant in Vietnam, under his command his soldiers committed a murderous atrocity-now his career, his family, and his personal sense of honor hang in the balance.

DeMille’s Word of
...more
Ferne
I was in high school as the world judged the actions of Lt. Wm. Calley at the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam. This novel is a portrayal of a different incident - a fictional incident - but is no less provocative & riveting. Why do civilians, politicians, & news media pretend they know what it’s like in war? Only a soldier* knows. We ask them to defend, to protect and to serve. They answer with their life & some give their last breath in service. This book deserves our attention and each ...more
Wes Peters
This book really resonated with me. I lived at Fort Benning during the Lt. Calley/My Lai trial, this left a lasting impression on me of the US military commitment to not allow it's soldiers to run amok. I'm sure that trial, and probably several others, also informed DeMille's writing in this book. His understanding of these incidents, having been a soldier in Viet Nam, is likely VERY different from mine, as the child of a soldier (airman), but we both came away with a conviction of this principl ...more
Sridhar Babu
Author...

Nelson Demille...

Characters..
Benjamin Tyson, Marsy Tyson, David, Vincent Cora, Andrew Picard, colonel walter Sproule, Graham Pierce, Richard Farley, Brandt, and Kelly..

Location..

Garden city, Sag Harbour,Fort Hamilton USA..

Genre..
War Crime...

PLOT...

15th February 1969.Hue City...Vietnam...

On 15th February 1969, An American platoon headed by Lieutenant Ben Tyson named Alpha company, slowly approaches the French Hospital named Misericorde . The Hospital operated by a Catholic relief a
...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
HOLY CRAP!! I didn't expect this book to make me bawl like a baby, but it did!
Nelson DeMille produced his magnum opus his first time out. This story is every bit as relevant today as it was when it was first published. How I wish that were not so. But war will always be with us, and the ethical questions that accompany it will always plague us. :(
Melissa
This was a monster of a book, and when I finished it, I felt a bit emotionally drained, as though I had gone on the journey with these characters. However, I could not put it down, I could not wait for the plot, and the truth, to be revealed, and i felt satisfied at the end. Despite being a very lengthy read, it was very satisfying.
J. Ewbank
DeMille can write. We have all read his books. This is an old one and I wasn't sure about it partly because it was about the Viet Nam war and I have read enough of them. However, this story captivates, and brings you right into the experiences of veterans of this war. War is Hell and this book shows that. However, that is not the plot of the book which is the possibility of an officer being tried for murder because of the killings in a hospital when he was in command of his troops. I recommend i ...more
Nicholas Esparza
I really wanted to like Ben Tyson more. He was obviously well liked and well respected among his peers, but to me he seemed like kind of a jerk. Almost like he tried too hard to be the silent, tough guy type a little too much. Even towards his wife, who told him numerous times that she wants him to warm up to her. I felt worse for her than I did for him.
Oh, and that final statement given during his court marshal, puh-lease! Even Corva knew that he was trying too hard to be honorable.
Other than
...more
Davio Smitti
I'm usually a big fan of DeMille, but this slow-moving tome didn't thrill me. His main character did mature, and the ending was never a certainty, but it never got hotter than luke-warm for me.

I liked the insights into 'Nam vets, but I felt that the story line moved along at a crawl. If you're a big fan of Viet Nam stories, I think you'd like this book.

NOT an action-story with many intrigues along the way.

That said, this book did not join the sad ranks of the one-to-three books a yr I just canno
...more
Kent Hinckley
Nelson DeMille wrote this novel in 1985 about a massacre in Vietnam that is revealed in a book 20 years after the fact. The platoon commander is charged for murder in an army courts martial. More exists to the tale as DeMille adroitly leads the reader on a suspense merry-go-round. His sarcasm, knowledge of the army (he was a platoon leader himself), dialog, and intricate interplay of many characters interrupted my sleep constantly. I like the author's expertise, his writing skills, and his story ...more
Anirban Das
The last Demille book I had read was THE LION. And, I couldn’t wait to get it off my back. It was that bad. So, it was with great reluctance that I picked up the WORD OF HONOR. Reluctance because it was written by Demille, and THE LION was still chasing me. And, secondly the book was blurb-ed as a courtroom drama, with a Vietnam connection and it was 700 pages long. Long books with Nam connection makes me weary. They tend to go the Clichéd Street with half drunken genius protagonists and beautif ...more
Kathy
One of the best books I have ever read. This 855 page paperback kept my attention through out and the military detail was very interesting to me. The story involves the publication of a novel based on the Vietnam War and invasion of the city of HUE. In the novel, the author describes eyewitness testimony of a massacre of around a hundred people during an invasion into a hospital in the village. The hospital was French and catholic, with a number of caucasion staff from France, Germany, and Austr ...more
Robert Colquhoun
Would give it 4.5 stars if it were available.
DeMille has an uncanny ability to put you in the shoes of his characters better than most. Thankfully, nothing can ever truly accomplish this; I would most certainly not want to be in the shoes of the men and women who sacrificed their lives in Vietnam. And when I say, sacrificed their lives, I don't just mean those who physically lost their lives but those who's lives were shattered by the lifelong nightmares they had/have to face after being subject
...more
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Ben Tyson'd relationship with the Nun 2 17 Sep 20, 2012 03:07PM  
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Nelson Richard DeMille was born in New York City on August 23, 1943 to Huron and Antonia (Panzera) DeMille. He moved as a child with his family to Long Island. In high school, he played football and ran track.

DeMille spent three years at Hofstra University, then joined the Army and attended Officer Candidate School. He was a First Lieutenant in the United States Army (1966-69) and saw action as an
...more
More about Nelson DeMille...
The General's Daughter Plum Island (John Corey, #1) The Charm School The Lion's Game (John Corey, #2) The Lion (John Corey, #5)

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