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Better times than these: A novel

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  317 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Better Times Than These by Groom, Winston
Hardcover, 411 pages
Published January 1st 1978 by Summit Books
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3.84  · 
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 ·  317 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Sam Reaves
This is the debut novel by Winston Groom, best known for writing Forrest Gump. Groom served a tour as an infantry officer in Vietnam, so presumably he knows whereof he speaks. The novel focuses mainly on the officers of a battalion of the Seventh Cavalry, following them from stateside to the Ia Drang valley, where things do not go well. (This is a fictionalized unit in a fictionalized Ia Drang campaign, not the real-life Ia Drang battle depicted in We Were Soldiers).
It's more character study tha
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read several historical/fiction accounts of the Vietnam War and several supposedly actual historical books on the subject. My favorites previous to Better Times Than These "The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien" and "Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes". This being a first book by Groom, I wasn't expecting much even though I knew he was a Vietnam Vet. Boy was I ever surprised. If you are willing to read this book, you might be able understand a little of the the mood and emotions the Vietnam Wa ...more
Peter  DeSilvey
Dec 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Probably not 100% realistic but of course most books aren't.
The fact that the author Groom actually did serve in Vietnam make the book alot more believable though. Keep in mind also this book was only written some 10 years after the high point of the Vietnam war so for being an early work of fiction Id say its a damn good example of a the beginning of a great author. I recommend this books towards the end it gets to the point where you do not what to put it down. Enjoy
Horace Derwent
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
master winston grooms' first novel

a magicomic mirror of hell
Justin Roberts
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why is this not made into a movie yet?
Joshua Bowe
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Winston Groom is a master storyteller. Published in 1978, a very early Vietnam novel, his work of fiction was actually inspired in large part by his own experience in Vietnam, particularly regarding his own voyage on the USNS Gaffey in 1966 as it sailed to Vietnam with an entire battalion of what were mostly infantrymen during the build-up of American forces there. His story follows the fictional 4th Battalion, 7th Cavalry (though I believe it was inspired by the non-fictional 5th Battalion, 7th ...more
Being a post-Vietnam-era Infantryman, and I mean just after Vietnam when there were more of them and fewer like me, I found it easy to relate to the characters in the book as they are so much like the veterans with whom I served and from whom I learned so much. That meant, also, that I could really relate to the pain and the emotions of that era. It is not necessarily a pleasant book, but I put it down with a feeling of empathy for the characters and for their real-life counterparts. That made i ...more
Feb 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: amazon, own
After reading Forrest Gump, I wanted to read another book by Winston Groom. This book is a very good fictional depiction of the war in Vietnam from the soldiers perspective. Anyone having a desire to understand how the war affected the American soldier will enjoy this read.
The book is entertaining enough to keep you turning pages. It's a quick read because of the, relatively, simple language.

An interesting perspective from an officer, if you can stand an officer's perspective.
Jerome Peterson
The best book about the war in Vietnam that I have read. Groom does an excellent job depicting the life of a solider from the time he is transported to serving. Eye opening at times, sordid, wretched, and deeply profound. A must read for readers who desire to have their perception educated.
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good, sad story.
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this years ago and really enjoyed it. I can’t speak to how historically accurate it was. The characters were engaging and the story top notch.
Mark Robertson
Nov 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book should be required reading for policy makers considering sending young men and women into harm's way. Groom's descriptions of days-long battles and of the daily struggles of an occupying army emphasize the dehumanizing effects of war. He shares his hard-earned insights in a compelling story featuring several players that are, one knows from the outset, likely to die before the tale is told. This was a great book.

I did not know until I saw the cover of the edition on this site that Gro
J.E. Barrett
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought the character development and plot development in this book were phenomenal. My only issue was that I felt the end was rather abrupt. However, I still think that Winston Groom is an amazing writer and I have thoroughly enjoyed everything I've read of his.
C.J. Hatch
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Groom is a natural storyteller and his experiences in Vietnam surely helped bring about a realistic interpretation of fictional events in this novel. This should have been a movie before FG.
Better Times Than These,Winston Groom's novel of young men at war

Review in progress...
Tommy Belt
Oct 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very worthy read about Vietnam!
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Plodded through this, for some reason. Authentic, probably. Gruesome at times, and sometimes just dull.
Carlos Arsenio Garcia
Quite draggy save for a few good parts in the story.
Jan 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
This book is so well written, it was really worth the effort . At times I found myself wondering what possessed me to read a book about the war in Vietnam, but in the end I am so glad I did.
Nan Williams
Jul 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
DAVID Halfpenny
Aug 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very thorough and moving portrait of what it must have been like to serve in vietnam. I shall be thinking about it for quite some time.
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Winston Groom is an American novelist and non-fiction writer, best known for his book Forrest Gump, which was adapted into a film in 1994. Groom was born in Washington, D.C., but grew up in Mobile, Alabama where he attended University Military School (now known as UMS-Wright Preparatory School). He attended the University of Alabama, where he was a member of Delta Tau Delta and the Army ROTC, and ...more