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Proud Bastards

4.21  ·  Rating Details ·  95 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
In 1967, a young E. Michael Helms boarded a bus to the legendary grounds of Parris Island, where mere boys were forged into hardened Marines -- and sent to the jungles of Vietnam. It was the first stop on a journey that would forever change him -- and by its end, he would be awarded the Purple Heart Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Citatio ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published February 20th 2004 by Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing (first published 1990)
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Mark Mortensen
Jan 27, 2015 Mark Mortensen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vietnam, usmc, memoir
Through his memoir, E. Michael Helms details the good, the bad and the ugly of his active tenure as a Marine beginning in 1967 at Parris Island boot camp to his tour of duty during the height of the Vietnam War. Spiced with salted military jargon Helms tells it like it was among the grunts, setting the tone early on and never letting up. His letters sent home enhance the atmosphere.

Fashioned with a WWII era backpack filled with life’s basic essentials of a poncho, socks, rations and an M16 Helms
Nancy Steinle gummel
The Proud Bastards: One Marine's Journey from Parris Island through the Hell ob Vietnam by E. Michale Helms is a first reads win and I am giving my honest review. The brutality of war leaves your eyes wide open. The terrors of bootcamp shrivel in comparison. War is an non stop terror ride. This story starts out the Mike Helms entering Parris Island as a civilian and leaving as a Marine. Michael makes PFC after boot camp. Then off to Camp Lejune for further training. Michael is assigned office wo ...more
J.R. Wright
Oct 02, 2013 J.R. Wright rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This may very well be the best book I've read in my life. It's a very gripping story of a young man's tour in Vietnam. I actually thought I was part of the story for a time - beads of sweat broke out on my forehead. If you're into action and suspense, please don't pass this one by. It was an all nighter for me - I couldn't force myself to put it down. Excellent read - beautifully written.

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It takes courage to enlist knowing you will be dumped into one of the ugliest and most controversial wars of recent history, Vietnam. To bare your soul and write about the horrors, nightmares and fear endured while trying to maintain your humanity and come home alive, well, that goes beyond any courage I could ever possess. E. Michael Helms has g
Jeannie Walker
Oct 14, 2013 Jeannie Walker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Lock and Load" - For some reason, this reminds me of Flight 93 with Todd Beamer and the heroism shown by him and all the 40 victims on that flight. Todd's last audible words on the last day of his life, "Are you guys ready? Okay, let's roll!" The heroes on that doomed flight fought to stop terrorists from reaching their target, and ultimately gave their lives in order to save others on September 11, 2001.
This is a memoir and grunt's eye view of the jungle combat in Viet Nam and the fierce fight
Oct 02, 2013 Michael rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book through a First Reads Giveaway on GoodReads. The Proud Bastards is the battlefield memoir of E. Michael Helms, who joined the Marines in 1967 and served in a front-line combat company in Vietnam from the fall of 1967 through the spring of 1968. Mr. Helm's narrative is direct and powerful - I do not know when he wrote the book, but the narrator's perspective is very much in the "you are there with me" vein - the language is of the time and of a Marine, it is the E. Michael He ...more
April Khaito
Apr 16, 2014 April Khaito rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
War is hell and THE PROUD BASTARDS is your ticket in. Helms writes with a refreshing and terrifying level of honesty. From his days on Parris Island and basic training to Nam and back to 'the world', Helms takes the reader into the setting of war and what's more, into the minds of those it affects. I can't speak to the experiences Helms had while in Vietnam, but I can assure you that his portrait of basic training was spot on. I remember my own time in basic--a mere six weeks compared to Helms' ...more
Nov 22, 2013 Jeanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: military
Recommended to Jeanne by: Amazon
Raw and real, “Proud Bastards” terrified me. It brings home the meaning of “War is Hell.” This is the detailed story of one young recruit’s experiences as a Marine, from boot camp to the battlefield, during the Viet Nam era. Had I not known the author lived to write the story, I would have had to stop reading about the terrible events. I cried for the young man who survived, for those who did not, and when remembering the lack of respect given Viet Nam warriors.

This is a page-turning story for
Darcy Koch
May 23, 2014 Darcy Koch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book several months ago but have not had the chance to review it until now. I apologize for the delay. I found this to be a very interesting account of the author's experience. Once I began reading it it was hard to put down. I finished it in 2 sittings. I believe that writing and expressing our thoughts to others is very important for our mental and emotional health. Congratulations to the author on a job well done.
Kait Carson
Apr 26, 2014 Kait Carson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book. Definitely five stars and I don't give those out very easily. Reading this book takes you to the heart of the action. it's a view of war that you can only get by being there. Far and away the best account of Viet Nam from the soldier's point of view I have ever read. It's clear this book was written from experience. Serving in Viet Nam was an act of courage - the author enlisted. Writing this book is an equal act of courage. Easy to see why it has been in print so long.
M.J. Payne
Mar 14, 2015 M.J. Payne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
E. Michael Helms opens a window into Hell. He weaves descriptions of the loveliness of Vietnam in prose reminiscent of Hemingway with images of the countryside after craters created by B52s. He does this seamlessly, and the contrast makes “Proud Bastards” a haunting book. The eerie beauty of the sunsets as a backdrop for horror reveals the dual nature of life itself. The constant, freakish changes from calm to danger jolt the reader. Life in the Marines itself is a poster boy for the slings and ...more
Kade Worry
Apr 02, 2013 Kade Worry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
An excellent page turner that walks the reader on a journey from a little Georgia town through the hell of Vietnam. In your face honesty paints a very real picture of boot camp and the recruits mindset, and make you feel like your boots are on the ground in 'Nam. If you love history, war stories, or are prior military you owe it to yourself to read The Proud Bastards
Sierra Ronspies
Oct 16, 2012 Sierra Ronspies rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is definitely one of my new favorites. It's a little difficult to understand at times, because it's written in the form of stream of consciousness. The author's personality is clearly known throughout the book because he tells his thoughts, exactly as they were. The book is about a man and his comrades in the Marines fighting in Vietnam.
Feb 15, 2014 Christy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is by far the best combat book I’ve read. It sucks you into the story in a way that makes you feel like you are there with the soldiers and feeling what they feel. You can’t help but feel a variety of very real emotions both mental and physical. The wording paints vivid imagery in your mind that will stick with you long after you’ve read the book. It is a very powerful and moving read.
Jun 09, 2012 Grant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Proud Bastards is a great book to give you the information you need to know about Vietnam, of which it is hell. From boot camp to the front lines this book gives you a great sense of what the United States troops in that time had to go through. Anyone instrested in knowing how a grunt felt during that time, this is the book for you.
Gary Daly
Nov 19, 2012 Gary Daly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Proud Bastards a Memoir of Vietnam and it packs a punch.

Page 194 Lines 1 to 4;

'We grab the bodies by the handiest stiffened arm or leg, and fling them unceremoniously into the pit to the sound and stench of protesting farts emitted from assholes and mouths and gaping wounds.'

Nov 23, 2015 Pamela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won this and another of his books off a blog site recently and decided to read it. it was a good book. not a type of book I normally read, but a good one nonetheless. would read more from the author
Tammy Downing
A very compelling memoir from a Marine who served in Vietnam. It was difficult to read at times. The horror of the war he described was heartbreaking.
Sep 01, 2016 Lizistanton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well done, Marine. In reading this account, it makes Vietnam more a whole story than I ever knew. Thanks!
CN Bring
Oct 04, 2015 CN Bring rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good read.

A very raw look inside the experience of a marine from training to service. Thank you to Michael Helms and the soldiers who served along side him for their service!
Louis Buccella
Nov 19, 2013 Louis Buccella rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Moving story. Seems like an accurate depiction of the life of a marine in Vietnam. Fast read that I enjoyed very much. Thanks Goodreads.
Oct 03, 2013 Jerome rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As an Marine vet, I always have an interest in books written by other Marine vets, even if they are a bit a amateur in writing style.
All in all an interesting read.
ken chandler
ken chandler rated it really liked it
Apr 26, 2015
Mary Cote
Mary Cote rated it it was amazing
Feb 21, 2012
Mike Lynch
Mike Lynch rated it really liked it
Aug 23, 2011
Dan Kolb
Dan Kolb rated it really liked it
Jul 30, 2016
derek neville
derek neville rated it it was amazing
Mar 19, 2017
Mike rated it it was amazing
May 01, 2015
john lennon
john lennon rated it liked it
Jan 01, 2016
Craig rated it really liked it
Apr 11, 2008
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I was born in Georgia way back in the last century but grew up and lived most of my life in Panama City, Florida. In 2004 my wife and I moved to the Upstate region of South Carolina in the shadows of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, a land of stunning vistas and numerous waterfalls.

I’ve been traditionally published since 1990 when my Vietnam War memoir, The Proud Bastards, was published. It’s a
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