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Foot Soldier

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  130 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Right after college graduation, Costa, a lower-middle-class kid from Buffalo, New York, is drafted into the US army and plunged into the Vietnam War. The Foot Solder catapults the reader back to the conflict that changed America.

This is a compelling novella of morality—right or wrong in a split second in the hell of the jungle—when it really matters, regardless of rank,
Paperback, 58 pages
Published November 1st 2013 by Thunder Lake Press (first published October 28th 2013)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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Larry Bassett
Feb 19, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war, kindle
"The characters here are fictional."

There is the disclaimer at the beginning of many books about the story and characters being fictional. This novella had that disclaimer. Many of the books I have read about the American war in Vietnam have had that disclaimer. I have read all of the words in this book in other war books. We know fragging happened in Vietnam. We know soldiers are killed by friendly fire in war. Is it possible that this jury contains an essential truth? Someone who was actually
Dan Santos
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Foot Soldier

An addictive rush of emotion and angst.

"Platoon," "Apocalypse Now," "We Were Soldiers" and "Matterhorn" shaped the mold for novels about the Vietnam War. They exploited the war as seen by imbedded journalists and stateside news magazines, glossing over the blood and the gore to protect the virgin innocence of the American civilian reader. And then came Mark Rubinstein.

The best selling author of "Mad Dog House" and "Love Gone Mad" grabbed the sub genre, shook it by its worn out ho
John Podlaski
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short story...short tour...a compelling and riveting story! Author, Mark Rubinstein manages to capture the realism and fear experienced by many young soldiers, newly arrived to fight in the Vietnam War. As infantry soldiers, they are required to hump through jungles to find an elusive enemy, mindful that they may be hiding behind every bush and turn of a trail - and watching their every move. Tension is high...fear is paramount! Not only do these young men contend with this constant fear of ambu ...more
Feb 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I admit, I initially picked this book to read thinking it would serve as an "easy" read in-between all the non-fiction on my reading list. I'm a bit of a war fanatic in the sense that I appreciate reading war materials, come from a military family that has served in several wars, and have worked with veterans. Still, I've never been in a war. So when I come across something like Mark Rubinstein's "The Foot Soldier," where he is able to take the reader inside of a war, inside of a humid jungle fu ...more
Nov 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Costas is a newbie in the Platoon in Nam. He is slowly getting acclimatized to being in country. Nothing ever really prepares a soldier about what he will see or be made to do. Faced with a Captain who is a sadistic whack job who insists on putting him in the line of fire just because he can, Costas will never know when his number will be up due to either the Viet Cong or Johnsons cruel whims.
Rubenstein who once served as a medic in Viet Nam has probably seen a lot of what he describes as humpi
Oct 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: media-ebooks
War! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.
These words from the song by Witfield/Holland ring true to my ears, and they also ring true as a sub-text to this novella.

Costa, a freshly drafted soldier, is sent to Vietnam to fight in a war he doesn't understand against an enemy he hardly ever sees under a Lieutenant who is barking mad.
All this is described vividly when Costa first sets foot in the thickest of jungle. You almost feel like you're there with him while at the same time you're glad you
Michael Gallagher
The Foot Soldier by Mark Rubinstein brought me back some. To where? Not to 'Nam' but to my morning paper route and that picture of the Gulf of Tonkin under a heading about LBJ. I was nine years old, but the photo of some dead or wounded people splayed over a Sampam marked me to this day.

Mark Rubinstein's book opened the visceral feelings I had at that time. Somehow fears about the realities of war always go back to that image for me. In this short, powerful book Vietnam's anarchy and gripping da
Edward Wolfe
Dec 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome short story. Puts you right IN Viet Nam as a fresh grunt, drafted out of normality and thrown into a hell that never should've happened to anyone.

A bit choppy in some of the early parts and three typos, but neither of these things slow down the suspense or take away from the experience.

People who were in wars write the best war stories. Rubinstein takes you there and makes you feel what it was like; how awful it was - for us and for the Viet Namese.

Highly recommended, but not for the wea
Aaron Saylor
Feb 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's been a while since I read a good Vietnam War story, but I was glad to find one in The Foot Soldier. It's well-told and never boring; vivid in description and clear in action. Highly recommended!
I love stumbling across new-to-me authors and I’m really glad to have found Mark Rubinstein (I’m pretty sure I found him on Twitter). Despite my love of Military fiction & non-fiction, I haven’t really read or listened to much set in Vietnam. It hasn’t been an intentional avoidance on my part, just where following various bunny trails has led me.

I was literally dumped, right along with Costa, into Da Nang. Rubinstein’s writing gave no quarter when it comes to expecting the reader to catch up wit
G.P. Hutchinson
Mar 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mark Rubinstein does a masterful job of drawing the reader into the mind and body of Costa, the draftee protagonist of The Foot Soldier. As I read this powerful novella I felt something of the oppressive heat of the jungle, the suffocating stress of walking point, and dozens of other sensations our Vietnam vets had to endure.

The author skillfully hints at and develops the story's ultimate crisis in such a fashion that it lurks in the back of your mind, gnawing at you even in the face of the host
May 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The Foot Soldier” is a well written novella. In my opinion, scenes and events from the first half of the story too closely resemble those from the film, “Platoon”, as do the three main characters. With that said, as I have not served in the military nor been in a combat situation - thank God - I won’t go so far to say this is bad. Both the film and this novella portray what seems to be a realistic and horrific account of what life was like for a foot soldier in the Vietnam “conflict”.

The second
Feb 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
With raw immediacy, THE FOOT SOLDIER captures the mind-, body-, and soul-crushing experience of being on the frontlines of the Vietnam War. From the sweat, stench, and exhaustion of "humping the bush" to the icy fear of stepping on a "toe popper" to the tense, harrowing showdown that marks the story's climax, I deeply felt for the protagonist, Costa, a "cherry" shipped off to hell in the jungles of Nam fresh out of college in Buffalo, NY. Sealed with a startling, satisfying ending, THE FOOT SOLD ...more
Dec 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jan-14
Costa, a recent college graduate is drafted and sent to the jungles of Vietnam where he becomes a replacement soldier. He goes there knowing he is replacing a fallen comrade.
Author Mark Rubinstein takes us from Costa's arrival in Vietnam, through all of the horrific reality he experiences, a surreal atmosphere of mindless hatred and how easily the military, with all they witness and undertake, can teeter on the threshold of insanity.
Extremely well written with an intense ending that is brillian
Maureen Tumenas
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley.

As a person who came of age during the 60s and 70s, having close friends serve in VietNam and having been married to a Seabee who did 2 tours (63-67), I am very familiar with the topic and looked forward to reading this novella.

It was simply too short, and did not add to either the knowledge of what it is like to serve in war time nor did it add to my understanding of the conflict. The author did a nice job of setting the scene, but did not take it f
Mary Eve
A soldier's nightmare.

A short story that's long on description about a war that was fought in one of the most brutal climates and jungles, against one of the toughest enemies of all time. I can only imagine what these soldiers witnessed and survived. As the story unfolds, I can sense the fear, smell the stench of death, and visualize a jungle of horrors that these young men faced in Vietnam. Good bless our veterans and those soldiers that sacrifice their lives so that mine may be safe and free f
it was fine. i don't think it deserves all these people wetting themselves over it though. i have read much better vietnam GI stories. this was almost superficial--maybe one notch better than superficial? i'm not sure what i'm trying to say. i think all the people giving it 5 star reviews and saying it really made them *feel* what it was like to be a grunt in vietnam have never read a really good vietnam book or even watched one of the serious episodes of M*A*S*H.
Steve Bivans
Jul 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a short book, as short as the firefights that Rubinstein describes, but with almost as much punch as a Bouncing Betty. It's a gritty, sweaty, slog through the steamy jungles of Southeast Asia, and a hard-hitting view of the sufferings of war, any war. If you don't have time for a long read about Vietnam, this is the book for you. It's got everything, boiled down to its essence. Very good book.
Brian Winningham
An excellent novella. Well written and very well paced. It showed the bewilderment of being a draftee in the Vietnam war without all of the bitterness that is suggested in popular drama and fiction. The best compliment I can give to a fictional story... It rang true. Well done Mr. Rubinstein and thank you for your service!
Apr 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good Vietnam War Story

Really liked this one. The author obviously knows what it's like to have served in the jungles of Vietnam.

Kept me bit me interested in the story and actually wanted more.
Lester Eldredge
Jan 04, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The author wasn't an 11B

Don't waste your money. Not very realistic. The kind of stuff you hear in bars being told by someone who was never there.
Chaplain Stanley Chapin

This was a true to life and experience that was not full of heroic, beyond belief non since _ definitely a keeper
Steve Crane
A good story but a number of plot points were disturbingly similar to Dale Dye's Platoon, making me wonder just how original this story is.
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

From what I've read in other books, this novella accurately depicts what many army and Marine service members experienced during Vietnam tours. Sad...
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jun 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got this for free from Netgalley. It was a well written novella about Vietnam. I enjoyed how the ending and the title come together.
Harold MacElman

the material it self, is by far one the the most accurate articles I've ever read. The issue I have it's being sold as book and I have read longer articles in ESPN...... Short of that I would have given it high stars..... Getting really tired of this false or misleading leading reviews.
Fred White
rated it really liked it
Sep 13, 2016
Ladd M. Clark
rated it really liked it
Nov 14, 2017
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Mark Rubinstein graduated from NYU with a degree in business. He then served in the army as a field medic tending to paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division. After discharge, he re-entered NYU as a premed student.

As a medical student at the State University of New York, he developed an interest in psychiatry, discovering in that specialty the same thing he realized in reading fiction: every pat

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