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Fields of Fire

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  3,024 ratings  ·  140 reviews
Fields of Fire by Webb. Bantam Books, Inc.,1978
Paperback, 0 pages
Published November 25th 1981 by Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall (first published 1978)
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My father was a radio operator in Vietnam, '69-'70. He saw things that are still beyond my realm of understanding.

A few Christmases ago, he played a recording he had of a firefight he was in for my brothers and me. It was harrowing. What he told us after he were through with this recording was that his CO, James Webb, had written a book about this very firefight and other portions of the Vietnam War in a book called Fields of Fire.

Three days later, just before one of my brothers was set to lea

I think this is a powerful novel and although I'm certainly no expert, it seems to do an excellent job capturing the horror of the Vietnam War, the conflicting emotions of many who fought in it, the terrible moral dilemmas servicemen faced when confronting the enemy, and some of the ugliness that greeted them when they got back home. Jim Webb, who was a much-decorated Marine and published it in 1978, went on to have an extremely distinguished career in government and politics. I have a lot of ad
Never too proud to go for the cheap joke, I'll start by saying this is the best book so far by anyone who has formed a 2016 US Presidential campaign exploratory committee. But it is – seriously – an extremely good novel. It should probably be forced on all of those who seem to rise up once a generation of so for the purpose of needlessly sending somebody else's children into harm's way while they sit safely at home. It's damn unpleasant to read – just like war was, and is, damn unpleasant to li ...more
Awful. Couldn't finish it.
I am surprised at all the terrific reviews. I felt the writing skill to be sorely lacking.
For a quality Vietnam War fiction I would rather recommend such books asMatterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War and The Things They Carried. the writing quality of Fields of Fire compared to top shelf novels such as those two..well, it's like chalk and cheese.
Alex Ginsberg
The junior senator from Virginia's brutal look at the Vietnam War. Plenty of war-related depressing brutality, but the real downer is how, in Webb's view, nobody on either side - hawks or doves - really cared about the guys who had to serve, or understood them. It was a polarizing moment in American history, but what Webb reminds us is that many of the men who fought the war wound up unable to relate to either side of the great cultural divide. Serving in combat, Webb seems to be telling us, ren ...more
Probably expresses my feelings upon returning from Vietnam better than almost any other book I've read.
Larry Bassett
This book was published 32 years ago and this is the first time I have read it. James Webb is one of my U.S. Senators so I thought I would read some of the books he has written and found Fields of Fire. I avoided the draft to Vietnam although I was 1-A for a nervous month or so before my first son was born and provided me with an exemption. If you went through anything in the Vietnam era like that, you will probably find yourself somewhere in this book. This book is intense. For me at least.

"Fields of Fire" a realistic Vietnam war book by James Webb, in the perspective of James Webbs experiences in Vietnam as a foot soldier in the "bush". The story is told from many different vantage points, ranks within the military, different races, economic classes, pacifists. By doing this James Webb eliminated most bias ideas so that I could read a balanced book that took no sides.

This book takes the horrors of war and shoves them in your face. It felt like I was in the bush with these men, li
Confession of a long-time Red Crosser: the Vietnam war always interested me (and the music from that era still kicks ass - Jefferson Airplane - I say no more).

This book is by far one of the best books I've read on that subject. It follows a number of soliders (based on actual persons, as they say) - how and why they decided to join the Marines, but mostly it is about a 6-month period in Vietnam.

It reads like fiction, but it implicitly asks a number of difficult questions: what is "wrong", what i
Paul Clayton
Wonderful novel. I was there, in this work, and in person in 1968/1969, as a grunt, but in the Army, not the marines. It rings true cause it is, as much as any novel can be. I have long heard about Fields of Fire but never got around to reading it. Actually, having been a grunt in Nam, I haven't really had much interest in reading about it. The only other novel I read about Nam was Winston Groom's 'Better Times Than These,' which I picked up because he served with the same outfit as I did, the 4 ...more
I'm giving myself cool points for reading this book BEFORE he was my senator. This book is a good example of how good fiction is based on fact. In this case, Webb's experiences in Nam. He doesn't shy away from the naughty bits either - I recall he caught some criticism for describing some underage prostitution but hey, props to him for keepin' it real, especially since he was a politician when he was writing it.
Chris Shim
Highly influential in my decision to join the Marine Corps. A tale about Vietnam, but really, a story about society's estrangement from a war and the people left behind to fight it.

Jim Webb (D, VA) was one of the war's most decorated Marines (Navy Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster and Valor Device, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster) and is now serving as the junior senator from Virginia.
Dave Classick
this is one of my all time favorite vietnam war books... which sounds a little wrong to say, but every time i read it ( ive read it 3 times now) i become so engrossed in the characters that i feel as though im actually there.... which is kinda of scary when you think about it.

definitely worth a read, particularly if you have a relative who is a vietnam vet
James Webb was one of the most decorated U.S. Marines that served in the Vietnam war and his experience brings brutal authenticity to his well crafted novel. Webb has gone on to serve as Secretary of the Navy and is currently a U.S. Senator from Virginia. None of that takes away from the power of this novel of war.
Jim Webb, former USNA alum, Marine officer, former SECNAV and current Senator from VA. Taught English at USNA. Excellent account of small unit leadership in Vietnam.
Pat Dugan
This is how it really was and I know, because I was there with the author.
Omnipotent Dystopian Now
The BEST Vietnam fiction available. Fields of Fire is one of my favorite books.
Run-of-the-mill police fiction.
There are many marvelous books about combat experiences, so how can we distinguish among them? I propose a Tolstoyan test: every good war novel is good in the same way; every great war novel is great in its own way. That is, a good novel about an experience like war captures the common elements of the experience; a great novel captures unique elements of the experience. To date, I’ve considered E. B. Sledge’s tale of Marine grunts in the Pacific (With the Old Breed) the best WWII combat book, an ...more
I've read it twice, it's really amazing. My grandpa got it for me at Christmas, or my dad, something, and I thought it was about the Chicago Fire. Then I read the back. I thought "Ugh why did he get me a book?" even though I read a lot on Vietnam at that time, I liked eye witness books from people who lived it. But this is REALLY good. Usually when I judge something quickly it turns out to be opposite. So now I try to judge everything to be horrible so it turns out to be awesome.

"You cry when y
Ryan Toh
Fields of Fire is another thinly veiled autobiography about the Vietnam War, similar to The Short Timers, but has a slightly different atmosphere and goes more in depth into the details of combat. Its author is James Webb, a highly decorated Vietnam War veteran and now a senator. The novel explores in depth the day in the life of a soldier in Vietnam. The novel is narrated in the third person, switching between following each of the main characters’ unique perspectives. This book goes in depth o ...more
Steve Woods
Another one of many. Clearly much of what is written here is drawn from direct experience, it has that ring about it. The vagaries of combat in I Corps for US Marines were very different than those of Australians further south Further our different social and cultural contexts meant that aside from the nitty gritty of fighting a war, which always has so much in common for anyone involved, no matter time or background, nationality or place, our experiences were quite different...thank Christ. The ...more
The old spiritual admonishes us to study war no more. That's a mistake. In order to stay out of unnecessary wars, all of us should study the best war novels so we at least have an inkling, however slight, of the devastation war creates not only physically to human bodies and to rural and urban landscapes, but more importantly the irreparable harm it too often does to the human spirit.

In my view, as a good a war novel as those by Mailer, Vonnegut, Heller. The author is currently a Senator from Vi
Throw out all of those copies of All Quiet on the Western Front and The Red Badge of Courage (well, don’t throw them out; donate them to a good cause): Fields of Fire is the war fiction we should be teaching in our high schools.

Webb fought in Vietnam and clearly drew heavily from his own experiences. The primary protagonist is a young, cocky lieutenant fresh out of West Point (Webb went to Vietnam as a young, cocky lieutenant fresh out of West Point). Goodrich’s experiences when he returns to Ha
This book is wonderful. It is so well written. I was very tempted to make a new category of "Future Classic" just for it. It is every bit as good as Matterhorn, possibly a tad more raw which aids the genuine feeling of the book.

"There was a footlocker in a shed at home that his parents never opened. It was green, and had sat in the corner of the shed for as long as he could remember, under a grey footlocker that held some of his mother's old clothes. There was no indication on its outside as to
Jun 17, 2009 Michael rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of military history, fans of "All Quiet on the Western Front"
Recommended to Michael by: critically praised as a major work of the war.
In this gut wrenching story about Vietnam, Robert Lee Hodges, Jr. follows the family tradition and elects to serve his country in the Military Forces. He joins the Marines and after completing officer's training is processed at Da Nang in 1969. He needed a war to serve in, it was said of his family's military history, if there had been no Vietnam, he would have to invent one.
Webb tells the story of Lt. Hodges' unit in periodic chapters as we then see them in action.
Snake, nicknamed for the tatto
Similar to Matterhorn, but Fire was written in '78, 31 years before Karl Marlantes' book was published. Most of the reviews of Fire call it "The most important book to come out of the Vietnam War," so it's been on my To-Read list. Matterhorn is superior to Fire in writing style and character development. But both books view the war through the eyes of the men in the field, as well as the self-centered decisions of the Armchair Warriors. Fire pulls the reader onto the battlefield right from the o ...more
This is a book I read and reread when I was in high school. I'm finally tossing out my old nasty paperback copy, but I wanted to make sure I marked it here as read and awesome.
This is a book that I would have set down after fifty pages had my dad not suggested it. He is a Vietnam Vet and it seemed important to him that I read it. As a non-military person and someone who was born after the Vietnam War had ended, the language of this book was very difficult. Sometimes I didn't know what was being said at all - but could more or less infer.

Two things really stuck out to me and frustrated me as a reader. The introduction of characters throughout the novel - this was kind
Mayor McCheese
For anyone who has never realized how horrible war is to the individual soldier who participates and thinks it is a romantic enterprise wherein sufficient courage, bravado, self-talk, drink, strength from above, etc. can provide a layer of emotional defense or even meaning, this work does a nice job of deflating those myths for all people and all times. The permanent image I have from this work is being alone standing in a cold wet foxhole all night long being shot at from unpredictable angles n ...more
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James Henry "Jim" Webb, Jr. (born February 9, 1946) is the junior Senator from Virginia. He is also an author and a former Secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

A 1968 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Webb served as a Marine Corps infantry officer until 1972, and is a highly decorated Vietnam War combat veteran. During his four years with th
More about James Webb...
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“If they didn't want to know, they shouldn't have asked.” 5 likes
“You know what we've lost, William? We've lost a sense of responsibility, at least on the individual level. We have too many people like Mark who believe that the government owes them total, undisciplined freedom. If everyone thought that way, there would be no society. We're so big, so strong now, that people seem to have forgotten that a part of our strength comes from each person surrendering a portion of his individual urges to the common good. And the common good is defined by who wins at the polls, and the policies they make. Like it or lump it.” 2 likes
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