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Dear Mom: A Sniper's Vietnam
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Dear Mom: A Sniper's Vietnam

4.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  356 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
The letters Joseph War, one of the elite Marine Scout Snipers, wrote home reveal a side of the Vietnam war seldom seen. Whether under nigthly mortar attack in An Hoa, with a Marine company in the bullet-scarred jungle, on secret missions to Laos, or on dangerous two-man hunter-kills, Ward lived the war in a way few men did. And he fought the enemy as few men did--up close ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 31st 1991 by Ballantine Books
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We Were Soldiers Once... and Young by Harold G. MooreA Bright Shining Lie by Neil SheehanA Rumor Of War by Philip CaputoDispatches by Michael HerrChickenhawk by Robert Mason
Vietnam War Books
53rd out of 100 books — 65 voters
Sniper One by Dan MillsPoint of Impact by Stephen HunterTime to Hunt by Stephen HunterTarget America by Scott McEwenMarine Sniper by Charles W. Henderson
Best Books about Snipers and Sniping
10th out of 19 books — 9 voters

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Community Reviews

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Feb 17, 2015 Dwight rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vietnam, memoir
The letters to mom gimmick works. The content of the author's letters home help carry the story in a way that is neither burdensome, nor distracting, and the date and location stamps on each one keep the reader oriented throughout the journey. The letters also provide a nice contrast between the filter a soldier applies to family correspondence while living the experiences of battle to a fuller story the author is comfortable sharing at a later date. The more in-depth content between the letters ...more
May 06, 2012 Gail rated it liked it
Even though it wasn't very long ago, to my shame I don't know much about the Vietnam War. I decided this firsthand account by a Marine sniper could be a good start before I go visit the country for myself.

Joe Ward was 18 when he and his three high school buddies decided to join the Marines together. All of them ended up in Vietnam, and miraculously, they all lived through booby-trap hell to return to Colorado. Joe walks his readers through boot camp, sniper school, and a year and a half of clos
Brett Fernau
Nov 15, 2011 Brett Fernau rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books
I found this book at the thrift store and decided to take a chance on it. I'm very glad that I did. This is a well-written, heartfelt and true story of one man's experience as a sniper during the Vietnam war. It is not an easy read, not because of the style or the writing, but because of the subject matter. "Dear Mom" is well worth the effort it might take one to get through it. The reward is a deeper understanding of the make-up of a warrior, and that is an important thing to know if one is to ...more
"A sign at the Marine Corps Scout Sniper School, Quantico, Virginia, reads: " The Average rounds expended per kill w/the M-16 in Vietnam was 50,000. Snipers averaged 1.3 rounds. The cost difference was $2,300 vs. 27 cents."
What a statement and a book.
I would equate this book to "Sergeant Rex, The unbreakable bond between a Marine and his working dog" & "Band of Brothers."
Probably several others would go along w/this also, Harold Coyle's and Walter Dean Myers.

Ward tells an interesting sto
Dalton Bodreau
Jul 28, 2014 Dalton Bodreau rated it really liked it
When your friend hands you a book and tells you to read it, you never know what you're going to get. In my case, I discovered one of my favorites book that I've ever read. I really enjoyed Dear Mom: A Sniper's Vietnam by Joseph T. Ward. It was a thrilling and descriptive novel which taught me a lot of new information about what life is like as a soldier, specifically a Marine Scout Sniper. This book, a true story narrated by Ward himself, tells of the adventures and tribulations experienced by W ...more
James McCullough
Feb 19, 2015 James McCullough rated it really liked it
An interesting first hand account of one man's experience in Vietnam. I found that once I started reading it,it was somewhat difficult to put down. It was amazing how quickly that the authour "grew up" in such a short time frame. The writing can be somewhat disjointed as he is telling his story in the narrative then includes-somewhat awkwardly at times-his letter to his mother. It got a little confusing when he would mention some names to his mom with only the first name used as there were sever ...more
Jan 21, 2015 Harry rated it it was amazing
I read this book rigth after it was published as I was a member of a military book club back in the day.

It turned out to be one of the best pure narratives of the Vietnam War I have ever read.

Mr Ward comes across as an honest and somewhat unwilling participant in this conflict. His descriptions of his experiences ring true in all the often funny and horrific detail.

Bill Elston
Feb 17, 2015 Bill Elston rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A insiders view of the Viet Nam war

The author paints an engrossing picture of a snipers world and his tour in Viet Nam. An engaging book and very enjoyable reading. Certainly worth the time and money. I enjoyed it very much.
Sam Hecht
Jan 04, 2015 Sam Hecht rated it it was amazing
Warning: reading this book may send you on a 1st-hand Vietnam account book rampage.
Feb 22, 2012 Matt rated it liked it
This was an interesting memoir from the perspective of a sniper in the Vietnam war, written as a narrated epistolary. That it was written as letters to his mother (hence the title), with additional text after each, made it more poignant as you feel some of the tension and fears of a teenager sent halfway around the world into the worst of human situations.

It wasn't as gripping as other war memoirs I've read, but that doesn't stop it being a worthwhile read. A snapshot of history covering an impo
Scott Kedward
Jul 28, 2014 Scott Kedward rated it it was amazing
Fantastic, humble account of an ordinary guy doing extra-ordinary things.
Bob Hernandez
Jan 17, 2015 Bob Hernandez rated it it was amazing
good book
Jun 23, 2011 Darcy rated it liked it
What I really liked about this book was the mix of "clean" with the realism. The "clean" came about in letters this guy wrote to his mom, which were immediately followed by stories of just how it was. You know that stuff like that happened all the time back then and still does today.

One thing that bothered me was how the guy complained about his girl dating a "Jody" back home when he was sleeping with Vietnamese women...can we say double standard.
Jeffrey Belcher
Mar 16, 2010 Jeffrey Belcher rated it really liked it
One of the many stories of courageous snipers from a war where their need was far greater than any previous times. This is the second or third time that I have read this book. Being in Iraq, I can kind of get a feeling for what it might have been like. Though I don't fight, and have only been through attacks that have only had a few rockets and mortars, I would not want to imagine hundreds. These men deserve far more credit than they were ever given.
Joe Duboulay
Nov 14, 2013 Joe Duboulay rated it it was amazing
Excellent first person account of the Vietnam experience. The letters to Mom added a unique touch to the book and said a lot about the character of Mr. Ward trying to protect his mother from the realities of war. I enjoyed this book a lot.
Aug 12, 2007 Faction102979 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
i've read this book many, many times and i am always awed by the author's ability to suck you into the experiences that he is having. this is a good technical, tactical, theoretical and sociological account of war through a marine sniper's eyes.
Dec 09, 2011 Leah rated it it was amazing
Wow, this was an amazing book!
Joseph T. Ward's experience in Vietnam was extremely interesting.
There were scary parts, funny parts, sad parts.

He is a very good writer.
I would definitely recommend this book.
Apr 05, 2015 Stephen rated it really liked it
Shelves: vietnam
Not bad memior, interesting use of the letters written to the authors Mother during the war. If Carlos Hathcock's book is read this book is an interesting tie-in because it explores the program Carlos created.
Mar 26, 2009 Ron rated it liked it
Shelves: american-history
Some years ago Joe Ward was a guest speaker in my U.S. History class. He, along with his wife, presented his story in an interesting, compelling way.
May 19, 2009 Jon rated it it was amazing
An amazing book that tells one man's tale of the good and bad experiences of his time in Vietnam. This book is one of my favorites!
PennsyLady (Bev)
Jan 15, 2016 PennsyLady (Bev) rated it really liked it

A Vietnam journal....(up close and personal)....
The letters Joseph Ward (Marine Scout Sniper) wrote home to mom.
Jul 20, 2009 Magena rated it it was amazing
I have a strange love of war memoirs. This is very well written and easy to read. I wish it were a larger book!
Aug 15, 2013 Justin rated it really liked it
What an original book, based on letters home during the Vietnam war. Engrossing, real and a fantastic read.
May 10, 2008 Scott rated it liked it
Shelves: military-history
I've actually read this book twice. I started by accident the second time, but decided to keep going anyway.
Jul 16, 2009 Brian rated it really liked it
A gritty look at a sniper's life in Vietnam. A very good read.
Feb 26, 2016 Joanne added it
While in Anchorage? Maybe
May 24, 2013 Sam rated it it was amazing
One of my all time favorites.
Dil Drisco
Dil Drisco rated it it was amazing
Apr 30, 2016
Sean Scanlon
Sean Scanlon rated it liked it
Apr 25, 2016
Amber Blue
Amber Blue rated it really liked it
Apr 23, 2016
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