Eric_W's Reviews > Word of Honor

Word of Honor by Nelson DeMille
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's review
Dec 31, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: mysteries-and-thrillers

Finished. Totally excellent.

I'm about half way through and I have to say I suspect this may be the best DeMille I have read. I believe that DeMille was an infantry Lt. in Vietnam and it shows. I've read a lot of Vietnam books and I think this one captures the impact on the soldiers and the internal conflicts many of them suffered as well or better than any of the others. The scene where Tyson "confronts" the author of the book that reveals the details of the massacre is a classic. The inner turmoil of both men is apparent. I'll never look at Calley and My Lai in quite the same way again. DeMille novelistically raises many important issues with regard to war crimes and the assignment of blame.

UPDATE: The issue of command culpability has intrigued me for years and is certainly of paramount importance given our history with the Nuremberg trials, Vietnam, and now Iraq. It was our moral position at Nuremberg that the higher command had to be accountable for their orders and actions. We went after the top guys. We executed top commanders even though, in many cases, they were totally unaware of the specific actions of those under their command. (Check out who got the axe for Abu Ghraib.) Japan was castigated for failures to follow the Geneva Convention even though they were not signatories. (The Emperor had indicated , however, they no longer needed to be bound by the Hague Convention in the treatment of Chinese prisoners.) Similarly, Bush's AG wrote an opinion with the concurrence of Cheney that the Geneva Convention did not apply in the case of the the prisoners at Gitmo. I'm not arguing the validity of these decisions (although you can guess where I stand, those idiots) but given our positions at Nuremberg and public posturing we need to be very careful.

Of course, it's the winner of every war who writes history and makes the rules. We need to be mindful of how those rules may be applied in the future as we may not always be the winner and we may not always be innocent, regardless of how we may view our own actions.
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Reading Progress

December 31, 2008 – Shelved
January 6, 2009 –
page 225
25.57% "Sahdes of My Lai. Benjamin Tyson, Lt. in charge of a company of infantry at Hue, is charged with participating in a massacre at a hospital "
January 7, 2009 –
page 325
January 14, 2009 –
page 415
January 30, 2009 –
page 740
Started Reading
January 31, 2009 – Shelved as: mysteries-and-thrillers
January 31, 2009 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Michael l'm about half finished too. Interesting to be around the same action.

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