aisha's Reviews > We Were Soldiers Once...and Young: Ia Drang--The Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam

We Were Soldiers Once...and Young by Harold G. Moore
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's review
Jul 24, 2007

really liked it

i read this for a paper i was writing on vietnam and literature.

it was excrutiating to read, especially in conjunction with "the things they carried," but i would've had it no other way. there is something about reading nonfiction and fiction (or fiction based on nonfiction) simultaneously that really rounds out a story, fills in the gaps. the two books complimented each other - while o'brien covers the emotions and situations of vietnam, 'we were soldiers' is much more straightforward, in your face, very little sentimentality (the military will probably like that description). you read their daily lives, their moves, their worries, their intelligence, etcetc. the story is what happened. what's really brilliant, though, is the story doesn't need sentimentality or literary devices - it is itself heartbreaking and intriguing and sickening. to be thusly affected by what these people experienced, especially when written in the most unembellished and sometimes austere style, is a testament to the quality of this book.

the version of the book i have was highlighted by photos of the soldiers that are in the book, giving it an added layer of realism, concreteness. there is no denying their existences.


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