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David H. Hackworth
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About Face: The Odyssey of an American Warrior

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  3,029 ratings  ·  104 reviews
A Simon & Schuster eBook. Simon & Schuster has a great book for every reader.
ebook, 896 pages
Published by Touchstone (first published March 1989)
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4.20  · 
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 ·  3,029 ratings  ·  104 reviews

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MisterLiberry Head
I clearly remember, during the First Persian Gulf War, seeing Col. Hackworth on TV, being asked how he thought Gen. Schwartzkopf would attack Iran from his positions in Kuwait. Ignoring what the talking heads had been theorizing, Hackworth said, "This is how I'd do it" and quickly sketched out exactly the battleplan that, over the next 36 hours, was used to destroy the Iraqi Army as a fighting force. One of America's most decorated soldiers (he joined at 14), Hackworth was widely believed to be ...more
Preston Fleming
Sep 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book contains some of the best first-person accounts of combat from the Korean War and the Vietnam War that I have read anywhere. Col. Hackworth, who was America's most decorated living soldier until his death in 2005, also explains in the book what went wrong with the U.S. military establishment after the Vietnam War and offers suggestions for how to reform it, many of which were profitably implented years later. ABOUT FACE is colorful, easy to read, inspiring and presents valuable insight ...more
Colonel David Hackworth is one of America's most decorated soldiers. He was a "mustang," an officer who came up through the ranks. In Hackworth's case he was commissioned on the Korean battlefield. His book describes his love affair with the army, and how he felt our actions in Vietnam destroyed the trust he had in that institution. Soldiers fight often for their friends and comrades rather than for a glorified ideal. Small units develop a unity that perhaps most civilians fail to appreciate. Th ...more
John Nevola
Nov 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After selling over one million copies of "About Face", who among us can truly judge the depth of this man's impact on our military and on our society? Possessed of a warrior's DNA, this fighter walked away from the Army frustrated and disillusioned about our conduct in the Vietnam War. Make no mistake, he must have seen something very real and very disturbing for him to do an "About Face" and resign.

The book establishes David H. Hackworth's bona fides early on with a description of his early lif
Jul 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Senators and Congressman
Excellent!!! Few people alive now understand war the way this Hero did. Should be required reading for all senators and congressman and the president of the U.S. Going to war with any intention other than winning decisively and as quickly as possible is just another way to get kids killed. Im a combat vet with 23 years in the Army and I feel cheap when I read about what this man went through. War is ugly, and it is about killing, and if you dont understand this then you need to brush up on what ...more
Jan 13, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Notes: saw this from Tim Ferriss' Tribe of Mentors* in the Navy SEALs interview and thought it was a recent book like a Navy submarine Captian's book called 'Turn This Ship Around'** about corporate leadership and turnarounds. But this is from the 1980s! (Well...1989) How did I not know about this book years ago? This guy was a legend! The reviews are amazing.

It's 875 pages, phew I gotta get a copy. I've gotta read David Halberstam's The Reckoning thick long book in tiny writing and Dani
Michael Burnam-Fink
About Face is Hackworth's first book, the one he really wanted to write, and a damn fine memoir about loving the Army, building a career, and then burning it to the ground after decades of systemic betrayals. Hackworth grew up as an orphan in California, and lied about his age to join the Army in 1946, when most people were glad to be getting out. He learned the trade in the elite occupation forces at Trieste (TRUST), and then the hard way in Korea with the 27th "Wolfhounds" Infantry Regiment, w ...more
Aug 15, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a damn shame when Hackworth died a few years back. America could really use his military insights in this war-torn era that we find ourself in. I always enjoyed reading his columns on his website, and when I saw his book (first edition!) for a mere $5 about a year ago at the library's bookstore, I grabbed it.

It took me awhile to get around to it. The one thing I really thought was missing was his post-Vietnam anti-nuclear weapons activities. It would have been interesting to compare this
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference-war
This should be required reading for Army officers and career NCOs. Hackworth was an arrogant, opinionated, messed up son of a bitch who had blind spots about himself that any reader can see. He's an autobiographer who clearly loves his subject. He's wrong a lot of the time.

But he's still worth reading, because he's not always wrong, and when he's right, he hits hard. His searing indictment of the Army in Vietnam didn't earn him friends--in fact it earned him enmity that lasts to this day from ma
Jimmie Aaron Kepler
About Face: The Odyssey of An American Soldier by Col David H. Hackworth and Julie Sherman. It was released in hardcover in March 1989. This 875 page book chronicles the 25 year career of David Hackworth. The writing is excellent and interesting. In one section of the book, Colonel Hackworth proceeds to describe his effort to turn the 4/39th into an effective fighting force. Casualties went down and morale went up. The 60 pages he devotes to the 4/39 and 9th Infantry Division provide valuable in ...more
Feb 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults interested in military history
A disturbing read, and one that at times left me feeling the same frustration and infuriation the author felt at the machinations of the American military bureaucracy and its impact on both his troops and the people of Vietnam. This is sort of a companion piece to Soldier, the memoirs of Anthony Herbert, whose life was in many ways parallel to that of David Hackworth - both came from blue-collar origins, entered the Army as adolescents and ultimately became high-ranking officers; both were devot ...more
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was a thirtenn year NCO when I read this and came out of the stupor I was in about the military. I saw that there were better ways of serving my country than pushing a broom in a motor pool. I think this is a must read for all officers and career enlisted soldiers. I would have done 30 if not for the Clinton years. I would have tried to emulate the values Col Hackworth expressed in this book. All I can say is read this cover to cover more than once. I'm starting my 4th read....

David Hackwo
Jan 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christel by: My Husband
Shelves: history
Great Book!! This man had steel cajones!! Lying about his age to join the US Army right after World War II. This book chronicles his life from then until the Vietnam War! Hack was a true American fighting man. A shame we lost him a couple of years ago. The man is due his Medal of Honor and they need to award it to him. This book is still recommended reading for NCO's in the Army to this day
Sándor István
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Though a great insight into the life of one of the finest infantry commanders to have served in the Army, the leadership principles and values that Colonel Hackworth espouses all leaders should possess are second to none. The US had a way to win the Vietnam War and this book, like many, explains not only how to do that but also why it was never accepted as doctrine.
William DuFour
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
One of the best autobio I have read about the Army and the corruption, incompetence and failed policies that would have saved lives.
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, military
ABOUT FACE By David Haskell Hackworth
DOB: Nov 11, 1930 DOD: Mar 04, 2005
David had a miserable start to life. He was born into an intact family and lived there about five months before his parents died. His paternal grandmother assumed the parental role for David as well as his brother and sister.
The ‘Great Depression,’ was hard on this spontaneously adapted family. Life was consumed by a need to eat well and by earning spare change by shining shoes of Soldiers and Marines in their home town of O
Sep 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The most decorated soldier in American history at the time of publication tells his story from World War two, Korea and Vietnam..
Mark Singer
Easily one of the best memoirs I have ever read. Brutally honest, it should make you angry about the flawed way in which the Vietnam War was waged by the American high command.
Bruce Emmerling
Jul 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing journey of a decorated office in the US Army. The book details his rise from a WWII soldier to the officer ranks until his last command in Vietnam.
Oct 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A classic! A tale of a life few people can imagine. A soldiers book for sure. Great reading and in depth knowledge.
May 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For those interested in the subject matter I think it is a great book about a controversial man who led one hell of an interesting life.
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a soldier's heart and it belongs with the guy in harm's way. Always. If only one-percent of what this guy tells about his story is true, I would never let that guy ever buy another round for the rest of his life. This is a tale of such extraordinary heroism and radical candor that it re-shaped my ideals about the big picture and the objective of the mission in relation to the welfare of the soldiers who put their bodily fluids on the line.

Hackworth grew up in the Santa Monica area of Cal
Scott Holstad
May 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Col. David Hackworth was a true American hero, a real warrior. He enlisted for the Army at age 15, just in time for the close of World War II, where he was stationed in Italy. He learned a lot there before shipping over to Korea to work a couple of stints in that disaster. He earned battlefield commissions and gradually moved up the ranks, but was always an infantryman's man. He led, he taught, he learned, he thought, he spoke up and pulled no punches (which sometimes got him into trouble) -- he ...more
Erik Rostad
Wow. What a book. And quite the investment in time. I took me 20 days to read the book, and I probably averaged 2-3 hours per day of reading time. But it was worth it.

This was book 32/52 for this year's Books of Titans reading list. It was suggested by former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink. In it, Colonel David Hackworth, one of the most decorated soldiers in US history, shares his story of becoming a soldier, fighting in Korea, witnessing the construction of the Berlin Wall, leading in Vietnam, becomi
Jo Byoungjun
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took me about a year to finish reading this book, not because it was hard to read, but because I ignored Col. Hackworth's (Hack's) wisdom. As a former infantryman myself, I found his warrior ethos and his leadership resonated with me. I wish Hack was alive and did a podcast with Jocko Willink, but that's okay. This 800+ pages of the book shows what he thought 'a lot' about the US Army and its involvement in the Vietnam War. Also, as an S.Korean citizen, I have tremendous appreciation for his ...more
This is the story of a very highly decorated U.S. Army vet whose records include 2 DSC, 10 silver stars, and 8 Purple Hearts.

Hackworth joined the military at 14 during WWII. He did not see combat then but saw plenty of it in Korea a few years later. He was given a battle field commission there and served in combat as both an enlisted man and a front line officer. Hackworth also relates his service in Vietnam and his disenchantment with the Army as the bureaucrats and ticket punchers took over a
Joseph Hamilton
I ready liked this book when I first read it and ever wrote a fan letter to the author which he replied to with a cheeky postcard. Then I avidly followed his Newsweek column until he was fired after the suicide of Admiral Boorda. It seems that not much longer after that Hackworth died himself. It is rather rich with irony that Boorda's suicide was likely precipitated by Hackworth's investigation into the propriety of the admiral's wearing of a Vietnam War medal and yet Hackworth's book cover ide ...more
Gary Boland
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting expose on the Vietnam War. If you want to know what went wrong, this will give you
intimate detail (think 'street without joy' but from a commander's field of view). The really interesting part was that Hackworth had been in Korea and had seen a lot of the Vietnam mistakes made there. Not only were those mistakes not corrected, but by ignoring the problem 15 years later the problem had grown and magnified resulting in an unwinnable war for the US.

This is a book about learning le
Miles Keane
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An essential book on leadership and the pitfalls of the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. Hackworth is a leader to be admired, not only for his ability, but for his candid nature. While often infuriating his superiors, Hackworth gives his men everything in order for them to be successful. Hackworth establishes the line that doing more than enough is the bare minimum when it comes to leading combat troops.
“He was an idealist, not prone to make allowances for human foibles”
-COL Richard E. Dryer,
Eric Feller
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good book with a very detailed information from an 'insiders' perspective regarding the politics and 'behind the scenes' actions of the Vietnam War. The book can be very dense at times, but if you carefully wade through it, General Hackworth gives some very revealing information about how the war was handled from a very politically motivated military.
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Colonel David Haskell Hackworth, also known as "Hack", was a highly decorated soldier, having received 24 decorations for heroism in combat from the Distinguished Service Cross to the Army Commendation Medal. He was a prominent military journalist. During his time as a journalist, Hackworth investigated many subjects, including an assertion into the accused improper wearing of ribbons and devices ...more