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We Were Soldiers Once... and Young: Ia Drang - The Battle that Changed the War in Vietnam
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We Were Soldiers Once... and Young: Ia Drang - The Battle that Changed the War in Vietnam

(We Soldiers #1)

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  26,022 ratings  ·  684 reviews
Each year, the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps selects one book that he believes is both relevant and timeless for reading by all Marines. The Commandant's choice for 1993 was We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young.

In November 1965, some 450 men of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, under the command of Lt. Col. Hal Moore, were dropped by helicopter into a small clearing
Paperback, 480 pages
Published November 23rd 2004 by Presidio Press (first published October 20th 1991)
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Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was an Infantry Officer in the 101st Airborne in Vietnam, during the "Hamburger Hill" - Firebase Ripcord period in the area of the Ashau Valley that, like the Ia Drang Valley, ate American units whole. I came back disillusioned and angry as many did.

But when I finished this book, I looked at my wife and said, "If THIS MAN were to walk up to our front door, drop a rucksack and a rifle on the porch and say "Follow Me," I would do it. THIS MAN (Lt Col. Hal Moore) is a leader who cares! I was grat
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
This Gives Life to Thee

No contentious politics, no military apologetics, no analysis of motives, or rationalizations of judgmental error, We Were Soldiers is a memorial to the soldiers of the Air Cavalry during their first battles in Vietnam. The book reports almost every step taken by the two battalions involved in the week-long battles of Ia Drang, mostly in the words of the soldiers - on both sides - who took those steps. It is a humbling and heartbreaking chronicle of comradeship, suffering
Sep 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is the story of the Battle of Ia Drang and the first time United States ground troops went up against the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) in a pitched fight. There are two parts to the engagement: 1) U.S. forces, using helicopter as mech-calvalry, drop into a zone and are surrounded by a force that out numbers them 4 to 1. 2) Troops march from here and move to another “zone” and are quickly ambushed and put in a truly desperate situation.

The battle not only “changed” American soldiery’s involve
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was at a fund raiser for a local VFW and I ran into an old, grizzled, retired master sergeant. I asked the old veteran which war he fought in. He said “You ever seen that movie ‘We Were Soldiers?’ Well I was one of the soldiers” and he proceeded to tell me about “bodies stacked this high” as he put his hand up above his waist and other amazing stories. After thanking him for his service, I ran home and downloaded the book on my Kindle.

I absolutely loved the book and I especially liked how the
Timothy Miyahara
Moore's work is an essential reading for students of the Vietnam War. While it covers only the 1965 engagement at Ia Drang, the work provides tremendous insight into this first major conflict between an American force and regular NVA forces, and the learning curve both sides had to climb during that short span. The author's direct involvement in the conflict as the U.S. forces commander, and his access to the individuals involved allows a gritty personalization of the actors and actions of the b ...more
Larry Bassett
Apr 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war
The book opens with five pages listing those killed in the Pleiku campaign in October and November 1965 when the War in Vietnam was just beginning to heat up. And the Prologue continues along the same vein with descriptions of encounters with enemy soldiers and death. The lead author, Hal Moore, was a Lieutenant Colonel in the 1st Calvary Division, one of the units at the front of the battle about which We Were Soldiers Once … And Young is written. The second author, Joe Galloway, was a UPI repo ...more
Every time I read a book about a war, or a battle, or a military conflict which is written by someone who experienced the conflict first hand (AKA a combat veteran,) I feel the need to explain something before I begin my review. I have found that when a veteran of combat writes a book about a particular battle or incident, that they write from their perspective (AKA the rank they held) at the time as opposed to their current rank or status. Sometimes, they may add some more recently acquired wis ...more
Jan 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Since I'm now reading the sequal I thought I'd review the original book. This is probably the best book to come out of the Vietnam war, and is a classic in terms of the view from the other side. This is the battle where America "took the plunge' into the war and was the battle that the North Vietnamese used as a blueprint for their war against the Americans for the next 10 years. ...more
Aug 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Every once in a while, a book comes along that really has an impact on me, and this is one such book. Interestingly, I didn't know the book existed until 2002, 10 years after it was published. I had heard of Ia Drang, though, from a good friend who was there and told me about the battles a couple of times when he got drunk. It is the only time I ever heard him mention it, I think he had to get drunk to talk of it and he did so with tears in his eyes.

And just after I finished reading the book, I
PennsyLady (Bev)
Sep 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
We Were Soldiers Once And Young: Ia Drang - The Battle That Changed The War In Vietnam

"We went to war because our country asked us to go,
because our new President, Lyndon B. Johnson, ordered us to go,
but more importantly because we saw it as our duty to go."

n November 1965, some 450 men of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, under the command of Lt. Col. Hal Moore, were dropped by helicopter into l clearing in the Ia Drang Valley.
They were immediately surrounded by 2,000 North Vietnamese soldiers.
Jimmie Aaron Kepler
I checked We Were Soldiers Once and Young by Gen Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway out of The Colony, Texas public library. There is a movie based on this book. I read the book first and was surprised when I saw the movie. They had left out the second battle. It was a battle that was just as bloody as the first, but without LTC Moore commanding. General Moore and Joseph Galloway have written a fine book. It should be must reading for every military officer and politician. I found this book ...more
Jul 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Put on your helmet and web gear if you're going to read this epic. This is a real page-turner that pulls no punches. Nicely researched and written in the clear, no-nonsense language you would expect from a professional military man. Be alert, however: one can be confused by some of the anecdotal input - it's sometimes hard to tell where one soldier's comment ends and the next fellow's begins. All in all, a great read which blows the movie out of the water, and that's coming from someone who love ...more
Early on within this book with self descriptions of achievements since this battle was a little “drab” to me; boring in that I wanted to proceed further to the battle itself. As is normally the case this actually sort of set the tone for everything real. As I kept reading I began to become impressed with several points of interest. First, General Moore was not the arrogant person I thought he would turn out to be, and second – the journalist (Joseph L. Galloway) that tagged in an embedded sense ...more
Jun 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war-vietnam
This book tells the story of the battles in the Ia Drang valley. The word Ia means river. It was a turning point in the war because American troops became more involved in the fighting. It would lead to a massive increase in troops by President Johnson.

There was a French plantation nearby where young girls in bikinis relaxed. The owner paid the Viet Cong protection money and the Saigon government taxes to live like this. Then they charged the US government for any damage to rubber tree damage.
An Odd1
Apr 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
Truth hurts. Too much for my soft civilian sensibilities who lost father, relatives and their homeland to air force and war.

General Harold Moore and reporter Joseph Galloway start with 12 pages of Vietnam memorial soldier names. Ouch. Photos in the center show forever young KIA, some posed with 50s costumed large families. Appendix is 22 pg capsule biographies.

Hundreds of American dropped into the HQ of thousands of enemy. Brave men sacrificed themselves and their parts for their comrades in a
Sep 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a must-read book for anyone interested in learning about the Vietnam War. It describes the first, crucial battle between land forces of the United States Army and North Vietnamese regulars (the NVA). It lasted over several days in November, 1965 and was noted for being ferocious. Hal Moore, a retired Lieutenant General, back then a Lieutenant Colonel who participated in the battle, collaborated with Joe Galloway, who was also present at the scene as a UPI correspondent. Moore and Gallowa ...more
Feb 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vietnam
This is an amazing book, fascinating and disturbing at the same time. There is probably nothing I can add to the hundreds of reviews of this book. However, I'd just like to say what lessons I took from it. First of all, at the risk of hyperbole, I must say that I wish every American would read this book. In it you will learn about the bravery of the American service person, and the real cost of war. It is a story that transcends the conflict in Vietnam and is very applicable to our modern milita ...more
Keith Parrish
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is the story of one of the earliest battles of the Vietnam War post Tonkin Gulf. Colonel (at the time) Harold Moore led the seventh Air Cavalry into the Ia Drang Valley with the mission to find and kill North Vietnamese. The North Vietnamese were at the same time looking for a target for the NVA regulars to attack to learn how to fight against helicopter-transported soldiers. The result was a bloody, and ultimately pointless battle in which hundreds of Americans and many more North Vietname ...more
Dec 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hookah
falling short of absolute excellent, "We Were Soldiers Once..." is still a great war book. the primary criticism made about the work is that it covers only the initial insertion and first half of the battle, whereas most of the casualties suffered by the US unit took place over the next few days as the force withdrew. so in a sense, the author can be accused of doing a whitewash, covering only the glorious "search for the lost platoon" and the dramatic impact of the first ever helicopter inserti ...more
Tony Taylor
Jan 21, 2010 rated it liked it
Each year, the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps selects one book that he believes is both relevant and timeless for reading by all Marines. The Commandant's choice for 1993 was We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young.
In November 1965, some 450 men of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, under the command of Lt. Col. Hal Moore, were dropped by helicopter into a small clearing in the Ia Drang Valley. They were immediately surrounded by 2,000 North Vietnamese soldiers. Three days later, only two and a
Dec 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As a Vietnam veteran this book struck me really hard. Though I was in a different type of combat mission, I could feel the fear and anxiety of the soldiers that went through these battles. If you are the type of person that doesn't like violence even in military type novels, then don't read this book. However, if you are seeking to understand you Vietnam veteran spouse or family member that was in the infantry this may shed some light on why we don't talk to you about our experiences - you will ...more
Barnabas Piper
Oct 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Incredible account of the chaos of the battle for the Ia Drang Valley in Vietnam - it was hard to follow because of all the moving pieces. But that reflected the battle well, I think. Reading it gives a glimpse of the difficulty and futility of so much of what happened in Vietnam.
Feb 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The most intense book on Vietnam I've read. I couldn't put it down. The author does a great job of conveying the the feeling of desperation from both sides and the heroisim to bring the fight to an end. One of those books you read and feel drained afterward, glad but sad it's over. ...more
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was amazing!
Ty Crawford
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The movie is one of my favorites and the book was even better.
David Grogan
Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just had the opportunity to interview Medal of Honor recipient Colonel Walter Joseph Marm, Jr., U.S. Army (Retired) for my Voices To Veterans blog. That interview inspired me to learn more about the 1965 Battle of Ia Drang in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam where he earned our nation's highest honor. The book is an eye-opening account of the first major battle between U.S. forces and North Vietnamese Army regulars and foreshadowed the long and bloody war to come. The book skillfully use ...more
Michael Burnam-Fink
May 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
War is awesome and terrible, and so is We Were Soldier's Once... and Young. One of the blurbs calls this book a monument to the men of the 1/7th Cavalry, and I can think of no better way to describe this book. Opening with a sepia toned reminiscence of the development of Air Mobile tactics and helicopter warfare, the story moves soon enough to Vietnam, where the proud soldiers of the air cavalry would face their greatest test.

Intelligence suggested Viet Cong forces in the Ia Drang valley, but n
Sep 14, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war
This battle was the US's first encounter with the regular North Vietnamese Army. (The allies were fighting two forces in South Vietnam: the invading NVA and the irregular Viet Cong. We never invaded North Vietnam, which I think is the main reason we lost the war.) The analysis of the battle led to our standard, Westmoreland-crafted strategic approach to the war: find the enemy; insert troops by helicopter in the middle of a shitty situation surrounded by the enemy; fix them with small arms fire; ...more
Jul 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio-history
I never served in the armed forces, so I find it troublesome to comment on actions taken by those in the field. I have read many of these types of books from the American Revolution to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and find myself wondering how I might have responded in the situations many of these soldiers found themselves. Of course it's impossible to know, but when I read of the sacrifice and courage many of these ordinary citizens displayed, I only hope I might have done the same.

There is
May 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I wanted to read a book to commemorate Memorial Day here in the U.S. I chose this book, as it was the first true battle that was fought in the Vietnam War. My Uncle was in this conflict and he never would speak about it at all. Of course no one in the family ever pressured him about this as he was left deeply traumatized over the experience and all that my mother ever said he remarked on was his loss of good friends.
This book was good and is a true tale of both sides. It is a newly built force t
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Lieutenant General Harold Gregory Moore Jr. was a retired officer of the U.S. Army, and the co-author (with Joe Galloway) of two successful books ('We Were Soldiers Once... And Young' & 'We Are Soldiers Still: A Journey Back To The Battlefields Of Vietnam') about the 1965 battle of the Ia Drang valley in Viet Nam, during most of which Moore (then a Lt. Colonel) was the primary U.S. officer command ...more

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