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Word of Honor

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4.14  ·  Rating details ·  8,544 Ratings  ·  289 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
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Hardcover, 526 pages
Published November 1st 1985 by Grand Central Publishing
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Andrew Smith
Feb 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 23, 2011 rated it liked it
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
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Heather
Jul 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Corey
I've been a HUGE FAN of Nelson DeMille and his books since being introduced to the John Corey series, and since reading those I've read his stand-alones, and I think Word of Honor is his BEST one YET!!! I was compelled right on the first page and right to the last page I was just nervously biting my nails waiting for the climax! By the end I was physically drained, HAHA!

Word of Honor introduces us to Ben Tyson, a former Lieutenant Soldier in Vietnam, who, 20 years later is living a normal day-to
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Tim
Mar 05, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good definition of a pointless story. 0 of 10 stars
Chuck
May 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
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Eric_W
Dec 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Malcolm
Aug 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
David N
Mar 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Possibly my favorite courtroom drama of all time.
Larry Crane
Feb 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Oct 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jeanette by: Bob M.
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. :(
George Breitler
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my favorite of all of Nelson's books. It resonated strongly with me because I too served near Hue, but two years after the timeline of his story. In this book, Nelson revealed stories that were true, but are best forgotten. War is an ugly affair. The average participant on the American side was twenty years old. Some bad things were done by stressed out kids on occasions, but by and large, the cruel things the soldier (kids) had to process were the things done to civilians by the enemy. ...more
Nina
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent introduction to military justice and courts martial, which are so different from civil justice. The lead character is charged with murder for a My Lai-type massacre at a hospital 18 years after leaving Viet Nam. No one disputes that he didn't kill anyone himself, but he was the lieutenant in charge of troops that committed the murders, and under military law, that makes him the guilty party, not them, if he didn't take steps to stop them. Uncovering all the evidence is fascinating. I h ...more
Marlene
Sep 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
John
Jun 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Alan
Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
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
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Tim Corke
Jul 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Michael
Lt. Ben Tyson is a good teacher and leader of men in Viet Nam.

During the fierce fighting around the Tet Offensive, there is an incident at a civilian hospital where his men kill a number of civilians and vow never to talk about it.

Years later, Tyson is an established businessman and he's called back to active duty to face a military tribal for misconduct.

DeMille tells a good story as Tyson's men are being killed and finally reach the breaking point and shoot back. Now it seems that he has to pay
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Raymond
May 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Chad
Jul 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Dennis D.
Dec 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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John
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An absolute page turner, Word of Honor has all the ingredients of a great fiction novel: relatable characters with substance, a believable plot, simple setting, perfect dialogue and wit. The book deals with a moral issue and approaches this dilemma with no bias...it shows both sides. It's been years since I have read a DeMille novel (Spencerville), but I am hooked. I'll read Charm School in a few weeks.

Just a tip - this is a big book. I ordered the Trade paper back edition before a cross countr
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Luke Marusiak
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an outstanding book that brings the reader back to divisive times of the Vietnam War and permanent consequences and scars of the warriors involved. This book also forces you the ask the question if there is a statue of limitations on moral failings or if some times and stresses are immune from moral judgement by those who weren't there. The women in the book are sexy and intriguing ... always a plus in a novel! I highly recommend this book.
Lisa
Oct 21, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, did-not-finish
I will not finish this misogynistic book. I'm appalled at DeMille's rough sexual behavior between a wife and husband in this book. I love a great sex scene but the machismo here is disturbing and I won't continue to listen. I really enjoy most DeMille books, but this one is getting one star even without finishing.
Melissa
Jun 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Penny Pascoe
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
EXCELLENT EXCELLENT EXCELLENT!! I could not stop reading until I found out what was going to happen to this soldier. I love DeMille's writing.
Carolanne wollin
I am a huge Nelson DeMille fan and don't know how I missed reading this one. Great story line.
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Nelson Richard DeMille was born in New York City on August 23, 1943 to Huron and Antonia (Panzera) DeMille, then moved with his parents to Long Island. He graduated from Elmont Memorial High School, where he played football and ran track.

DeMille spent three years at Hofstra University, then joined the Army where he attended Officer Candidate School and was commissioned a Lieutenant in the United S
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More about Nelson DeMille...
“arms, and the other pulled the camera from” 0 likes
“This place is so small you have to go outside to change your mind.” 0 likes
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