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We Were Soldiers Once...and Young: Ia Drang - The Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam [Hardcover]

Lt. General Ha Moore , Joseph Galloway
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (215 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 20 1992
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 half miles away, a sister battalion was chopped to pieces. Together, these actions at the landing zones X-Ray and Albany constituted one of the most savage and significant battles of the Vietnam War.
How these men persevered--sacrificed themselves for their comrades and never gave up--makes a vivid portrait of war at its most inspiring and devastating. General Moore and Joseph Galloway, the only journalist on the ground throughout the fighting, have interviewed hundreds of men who fought there, including the North Vietnamese commanders. This devastating account rises above the specific ordeal it chronicles to present a picture of men facing the ultimate challenge, dealing with it in ways they would have found unimaginable only a few hours earlier. It reveals to us, as rarely before, man's most heroic and horrendous endeavor.

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From Amazon

In the first significant engagement between American troops and the Viet Cong, 450 U.S. soldiers found themselves surrounded and outnumbered by their enemy. This book tells the story of how they battled between October 23 and November 26, 1965. Its prose is gritty, not artful, delivering a powerful punch of here-and-now descriptions that could only have been written by people actually on the scene. In fact, they were: Harold Moore commanded the men of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, who did most of the fighting, and Joseph Galloway was the only reporter present throughout the battle's 34 harrowing days. We Were Soldiers Once... combines their memories with more than 100 in-depth interviews with survivors on both sides. The Battle of Ia Drang also highlights a technological advance that would play an enormous role in the rest of the war: this was perhaps the first place where helicopter-based, air-mobile operations demonstrated their combat potential. At bottom, however, this is a tale of heroes and heroism, some acts writ large, others probably forgotten but for this telling. It was a bestseller when first published, and remains one of the better books available on combat during the Vietnam War. --John J. Miller --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

On Nov. 14, 1965, the 1st Battalion of the 7th Cavalry, commanded by Lt. Col. Moore and accompanied by UPI reporter Galloway, helicoptered into Vietnam's remote Ia Drang Valley and found itself surrounded by a numerically superior force of North Vietnamese regulars. Moore and Galloway here offer a detailed account, based on interviews with participants and on their own recollections, of what happened during the four-day battle. Much more than a conventional battle study, the book is a frank record of the emotional reactions of the GIs to the terror and horror of this violent and bloody encounter. Both sides claimed victory, the U.S. calling it a validation of the newly developed doctrine of airmobile warfare. Supplemented with maps, the memoir is a vivid re-creation of the first major ground battle of the Vietnam War. Photos.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall a good read Aug. 26 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book, but it did seem to drag a little at times which is why I gave it 4 stars instead of 5.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong military history Oct. 8 2008
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Like many, I suppose, I decided to try the book after I had seen the movie. The film had blown me away, and I wanted to find out the whole story, without the Hollywood details. Interestingly enough, some of the things that I had dismissed about the movie as pure Hollywood turned out to be true. (I have come to the conclusion that Sergeant Major Plumley might actually be God, as many of the troops suspected. :)) Nevertheless, there were a number of differences, inevitably, so it was good to get the bigger picture that a book can provide. The book also discusses military actions after the battle at Ia Drang, which also make for a compelling story. Moore and Galloway are scrupulous in their collection of multiple firsthand accounts, which greatly add to the narrative. This book is a collection of many stories, guided by Moore and Galloway, and is an outstanding read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tells it like it was... and is. June 11 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
My dad served in Vietnam. I've been in Iraq. This book tells it like it was in Vietnam and, in many ways, how it still is today. There are valuable lessons to be learned about the costs of war and how preparation, skill and audacity can minimize those risks to yourself and your troops while simultaneously maximizing those risks for the enemy.
A refreshingly honest approach that draws heavily on quotes from individuals who were there but which still manages to tie the quotes into the larger picture of what was going on to see how the individual experiences contributed to the group effort.
Highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know what combat was like but doesn't want or have the opportunity to experience combat themself.
One of the two best non-fiction books I've read about warfare; the other being "The Storm of Steel" by Ernst Junger.
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5.0 out of 5 stars FRIGHTENINGLY REAL Feb. 9 2005
I saw the movie & thought I would give the book a whirl. This book is extremely well written & frighteningly real. It not only looks at this infamous battle in extaordinary detail but gives the reader an idea of what went on "back home" perhaps from the perspective of the families of the soldiers who fought in the Ia Drang Valley in November 1965. Also included is a small glimpse of some of the political decisions that were made at the time & the consequences of those decisions. This is an excellent read. UNPUTDOWNABLE
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5.0 out of 5 stars Impossible to put down... July 6 2004
This book, about one of the first battles of the Vietnam War using large-scale deployment of US forces, is impossible to put down. The book expertly details the battle for the Ia Drang Valley which took place in the fall of 1965. It is absolutely astonishing to consider the struggle that took place there and the extreme difficulties placed upon our troops. Truly, the men who fought there are heroes, and their story deserved to be remembered and told. While the movie made about the book was quite good, and accurrate with regards to the book, the book gives much more detail and is highly readable. Highly recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Wonderful June 9 2004
By Kellen
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Simply put, it was one of the most amazing, most moving books I have ever read in my entire life. It helps that the two writers were actually there at the battle and so provide a first hand account of the battle. The movie, with Mel Gibson, is also recommended. I watched the movie and then read the book. I didnt regret the decision to read it one bit. I just cant say how moving it was...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked Valor April 17 2004
American soldiers in Vietnam were similar to American soldiers in wars prior and since. They fought with dedication, loyalty and skill. They were motivated, well led and informed. They knew for what they were fighting and why and recognized the importance of their contribution and sacrifice. Yet the popular mythology is very different.
General Moore and correspondent Galloway have made an invaluable contribution to the truth by publishing this most unusual joint memoir - how often do soldiers and journalists team up? Together they have produced one of the classic battle books of all times. Though written in a self-deprecating manner it is impossible to read this excellent book and not be completely in awe of the leadership abilities and dedication of then Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore.
Moore took his new battalion - then an experimental airmobile unit - into what turned out to be an incredibly one-sided battle against seasoned, tough North Vietnamese regular forces. The Americans won that battle due in part to their supporting air and artillery but mostly on the shoulders of the soldiers and their leaders, from Colonel Moore all the way down to the squad and fire teams.
We Were Soldiers goes a long way to restoring the rightful pride that Americans ought to feel about our soldiers in Vietnam. This is a book that belongs on every American's shelf and is one that you will want to go back to and contemplate from time to time. It is an absolute must read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Superb Work March 18 2004
I own 20-30 books written about the Veitnam War. This is without a doubt one of best I have ever had the pleasure of reading.
I got the true feeling of what it must have been like to be completly surrounded by NVA soldiers on LZ's X-Ray and Albany.
The many interviews and first hand accounts of the fierce fighting in these two battles really helps the reader get an understanding of just what these men went through.
Harold Moore and Joe Galloway have written a superb book.
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