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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the best book I've ever read
Practically everyone who knows me has heard me rave on and on about this book. I read it for the first time about 4 years ago, after picking it up while browsing through the bookstore. I read the excerpt at the front recounting the Vietnamese general's final moments and I was hooked. I recently finished it again, and it was even better this time. Everything that happens...
Published on June 7 1997

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but Chap. 8 is pretty hard to take.
It's a pretty quick read.
The book lets one come to know Carlos Hathcock as an ingenuous country boy from Arkansas who came of age in the USMC and Vietnam. I read the book over the weekend and would like to clarify someone else's comment on Amazon about the book being a bit graphic: it's not the description of Mr. Hathcock's kills that are graphic, it's the...
Published on Sept. 7 1999


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the best book I've ever read, June 7 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Killes (Mass Market Paperback)
Practically everyone who knows me has heard me rave on and on about this book. I read it for the first time about 4 years ago, after picking it up while browsing through the bookstore. I read the excerpt at the front recounting the Vietnamese general's final moments and I was hooked. I recently finished it again, and it was even better this time. Everything that happens to Hathcock seems like something out of a movie; something no mortal man could survive. I learned to respect the discipline and will-power of a well-trained Marine, and was left in awe of the effectiveness of the sniper. Charles Henderson does his part, too. He not only tells Hathcock's incredible story, but makes it an immersive, addictive one to read. Through his clear and descriptive writing, the reader is transported back in time to the dark "Charlie"-filled jungles of Vietnam, where he lies beside the sniper known as "Long Tra'ng" and experiences not only the satisfaction of a well-placed shot, but also the emotional struggles that a man must deal with when he takes the life of another one. Undoubtedly a timeless classic
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1.0 out of 5 stars OK, but lacks details and boring., Sept. 22 2003
By 
I. Trent "I. Trent" (Houston, TX) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Killes (Mass Market Paperback)
A little slow here and there, but overall interesting. It seems at times the writing could have been much better and a simple spell-check would have made things much easier to read, other than having to figure out what the author is saying. It is a good depiction of Hathcock, but the constant shifting between first and third person drove me crazy. Also, there's a real lack of details here. I wanted to know more, especially come kill time. Know one like's to admit it, but those are the things people read for. What it feels like, what's in your head, the details, the blood spray, etc. There's ways to "boost up" the environment, the victim, etc. What really bothers me is that even though he's boosted as "The Best Sniper Ever!" all through out the book, and I do indeed acknowledge his service to the USA, the book mentions that Marine Corp records indicate there was someone else with even more kills. After reading that, well it's kind of like reading about a person who finished second in a race. I found myself wanting to know about that person - who he is / was, if he's still out there. The book really runs long at time, sometimes I wondered if he spent more time cleaning his rifle than out in the field. Sure there's time's when it's great, and fast paced. In the end I was depressed with info on his buddy, and ultimately his painful long demise.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A true legend, July 7 2003
By 
Del C Brown (Honolulu, HI United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Killes (Mass Market Paperback)
Carlos Hathcock was, at one time, the best rifleman in the US...possibly the world. In 1965, he won the Wimbledon Cup as the 1000-Yard National High-Power Rifle Champion, beating 2600 competitors from across the nation. Lucky for us, he was on our side. ;)
Gunnery Sergeant Hathcock helped sell to the US Marine Corps, the idea of a scout/sniper who could stalk his prey and take out an important target (i.e., high-ranking officer) from a great distance (Hathcock once took out a man from 2500 yards using an M-2 .50 caliber machine gun mounted with his Unertl sniper scope). This book, which details his amazing exploits, shows us why the sniper is perhaps the most dangerous man on the battlefield. Stalking stealthily to a vantage point, a well-trained sniper can control the battlefield with well-placed shots. These shots not only kill the enemy, but they strike fear into the remaining enemy who have not been shot and degrades their morale.
Charles Henderson does a good job of re-creating scenarios that Hathcock went through. I don't want to spoil any of Hathcock's exploits, but there are a few that are so incredible that they are nearly unbelievable. It seemed Hathcock was almost born with a rifle and scope when he came out of his mother's womb. His knowledge of the jungle that allows his stealthy movement and cover is just as impressive, if not more.
Hathcock's 93 confirmed kills is an exceptional record. What's just as amazing is that he probably had many more that went unconfirmed.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the stealthy art of sniping. The book is an easy read and tells an amazing story of an amazing man.
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4.0 out of 5 stars personal introduction to military sniper action in vietnam, May 7 2003
By 
R. M. Williams "just an avid reader" (tucson, arizona USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Killes (Mass Market Paperback)
I am way out of my genre with this book, i don't read much military history, virtually no personal stories like this one. I got the book as a result of reading a recent NYTimes article on sniper action in Iraq and i wanted to know more.
Like the famous speech scene in PATTON where he says make the other poor guy die for his country, this book has a central welcome to the sniper school speech, pg. 95ff.
"Your units selected each of you to become snipers because you are good Marines--men who are well disciplined... courageous...duty-bound...and loyal to your country and your Corps. You have been screened and found to be in top physical condition, mentally sound, and very patient. Each man here has demonstrated to his commander that he has good moral character and a strong sense of values, amony which he holds life sacred.
...
I know that as grunts, it was easy for you to feel justified in killing the enemy when he attacked you--he was trying to kill you. If you attacked him, he also had a choice to give up or surrender--you did not murder him, because he died trying to kill you. That's self-defences.
"As a sniper, you do not have that luxury. You will be killing the enemy when he is unaware of your presense. You will be assassinating him without giving him the option to run or fight, surrender or die. You will be, in a sense, committing murder on him--premediatated."
I realize what Charles Henderson says about Carlos Hathcock tells me as much or even more about Henderson then it does about Hathcock but i finished the book admiring the both of them. Not seduced by action and adrenaline/testosterone-flow but grungingly respectful of the truely heroic which rises above the masses of men to distinction. Hathcock for his behavior and his committment to fundamental values and Henderson for the excellent writing without glorifying killing or blood lust.
It's a good book. Appears to stick to the facts with a minimum of exaggeration, it is thoughtful and underneath it is a desire to present the best in the military tradition of the Marines and the developing tradition of the sniper/scout. I ordered the next book in the series, something i had not intended to do when i bought this one.
Thanks for reading this short review. i hope you enjoy the book as much as i did.
richard williams
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5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC!!, April 8 2003
By 
"ace30504" (FAIRFAX, VA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Killes (Mass Market Paperback)
Do you know what its like to be a Marine sniper? Charles Henderson's Marine sniper give the reader the explosive adventure of Carlos Hathcock, one of the Marines best snipers. This biography was very enjoyable, because it kept me on the edge of my seat. The personal stories of Hathcock, and eyewitness accounts are amazing. I can't fathom an individual who can shoot a gun accurately at 2,000 yards. But this novel gets you in close and personal with a person who lived by the motto, "one shot, one kill" at a distance of over 1,000 yards.
Henderson uses a unique style of writing using his first chapter as his hook to capture the reader and make them read. Then he slows down and gives the reader important side information about characters and setting. The tone of the characters changes frequently throughout the book. Moods especially for instance Hnderson uses the romantic atmosphere when explaining simple life in the US during the war to soften the reader then, quickly, changes to an optimistic tone while Hathcock is on the hunt. In writing a book,characterization is an important element needed to give the reader some idea on how that character will act. Henderson describes Hathcock as the sniper, the big game hunter, poacher, marksman, calm steady and openminded. Hathcock and Land discuss these features one night in camp, "You'll go home next month with more than eighty kills and the Marine corps might just might want to do something about that". "Thats my point, like it or not you are the super sniper".
Henderson does a great job describing Hathcock and his mission by using authentic documents within this biography. Just about every page is cramed with research on Carlos. So you can see why its a true story. Immortaliy to being a great leader and hero are percieved throughout the novel since Hathcock was the best of the best. This book is great for all reader military or not and is a must read. Hathcock's ideas haven't only inspired the military in tactics but also police and swat teams around the globe.
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5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC!!, April 8 2003
By 
"ace30504" (FAIRFAX, VA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Killes (Mass Market Paperback)
Do you know what its like to be a Marine sniper? Charles Henderson's Marine sniper give the reader the explosive adventure of Carlos Hathcock, one of the Marines best snipers. This biography was very enjoyable, because it kept me on the edge of my seat. The personal stories of Hathcock, and eyewitness accounts are amazing. I can't fathom an individual who can shoot a gun accurately at 2,000 yards. But this novel gets you in close and personal with a person who lived by the motto, "one shot, one kill" at a distance of over 1,000 yards.
Henderson uses a unique style of writing using his first chapter as his hook to capture the reader and make them read. Then he slows down and gives the reader important side information about characters and setting. The tone of the characters changes frequently throughout the book. Moods especially for instance Hnderson uses the romantic atmosphere when explaining simple life in the US during the war to soften the reader then, quickly, changes to an optimistic tone while Hathcock is on the hunt. In writing a book,characterization is an important element needed to give the reader some idea on how that character will act. Henderson describes Hathcock as the sniper, the big game hunter, poacher, marksman, calm steady and openminded. Hathcock and Land discuss these features one night in camp, "You'll go home next month with more than eighty kills and the Marine corps might just might want to do something about that". "Thats my point, like it or not you are the super sniper".
Henderson does a great job describing Hathcock and his mission by using authentic documents within this biography. Just about every page is cramed with research on Carlos. So you can see why its a true story. Immortaliy to being a great leader and hero are percieved throughout the novel since Hathcock was the best of the best. This book is great for all reader military or not and is a must read. Hathcock's ideas haven't only inspired the military in tactics but also police and swat teams around the globe.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, Dec 16 2002
By 
DeathfromAFar "deathfromafar" (North Canterbury New Zealand) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Killes (Mass Market Paperback)
This is an excellent (albeit reasonably brief at 280 pages) read.
As no doubt you know by now gentle reader this is the history of an extraordinary soldier and sniper in the Vietnam war. Hathcock was a talented shot, who with uncanny skill in the battlefield reached such a stage of notoriety that the NVA put a bounty of three years salary on his head.
His exploits are legenadary and show that Hathcock was as brave as a lion. At one stage him and his spotter took on a company of NVA regulars in a five day running battle. Perhaps even more telling, there is some attention paid to Hathcocks sheer tenacity in recovering, and returning to duty after suffering severe wounds. This is actually pretty inspirational stuff, and shows the sheer force of will that Hathcock had.
Readers with an interest in rifle craft, the Vietnam war, and general military history will enjoy this book. I think that even a casual reader of military history will enjoy this as well.
One gripe mind you- the photos in the edition I have are of very poor quality indeed and show very little being printed on newsprint as oppossed to glossy paper. Most disappointing.
Grade: A-
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the BEST military biographies ever written, Dec 11 2002
This review is from: Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Killes (Mass Market Paperback)
I first heard of Carlos Hathcock when I was in the Air Force. I heard of him from Roberto "Bobby" Barrera, a former Marine and Vietnam veteran who was riding on the same AMTRAC as Hathcock (an AMTRAC is an amphibious armored vehicle) when it rolled over a hidden mine and was blown-up. Barrera credited Hathcock with saving his life, along with that of many fellow Marines aboard that vehicle. Bobby read us the story of that event from this very book.
Later on, I heard the story of how Hathcock engaged a Viet Cong "mule" bringing guns and ammo down the Ho Chi Minh train on his bike. Hathcock fired a round that destroyed the bike and left the boy shaken, but untouched. However, the youngster grabbed one of the AK-47s he was carrying on his bike, inserted a magazine, and began searching for the sniper who shot his bike! Carlos fired again, killing the boy.
Another famous story I heard tell involves the sniper vs. sniper showdown. Carlos and an NVA sniper were tracking one another, both intent on killing before they were killed. Both had their guns sited on each other, but Carlos got his round off first, which went right through the other guy's scope, into his eye, and killed him instantly.
Most recently, I heard of Carlos Hathcock again through firearms manufacturer Springfield Armory. They recently introduced a new version of their fine M1A rifle (a "civilized" M-14 battle rifle) called the M-25 "White Feather" Tactical Rifle. Definitely the most advanced rifle that Springfield has ever produced, and it comes with a facsimile of Hathcock's signature engraved on the receiver. I thought it was an excellent tribute to Carlos, especially considering that he liked that M-14 rifle much better than the M-16.
Finally, I found this book; "Marine Sniper;" and after hearing about exploits of Carlos Hathcock for so many years from so many sources, decided I needed to read about him for myself. Having just finished the book, I must confess that this has been one of the most enjoyable reads that I've come across in the past several years. Even my wife; who has no interest in the Marines, snipers, or Vietnam; found the book to be extremely well written and very enjoyable.
I read a LOT of biographies, especially those concerning American military heroes. Yet this book by Charles Henderson stands head and shoulders above them all. Henderson does a superb job writing a book that an average Marine recruit would be able to comprehend, yet it is detailed and interesting enough for even an officer to enjoy. Rather than writing in the dry, boring academic style that so many biographies are made up of, he wisely chooses to write a "story" about Hathcock, and the book reads more like a fine novel than the typical end-noted, scholarly biography. But that doesn't mean the book is short on factual information or research, for there is more than enough information to soothe the savage nit-picker. Just about any Marine Vietnam veteran and/or competition rifle shooter can verify most of the information in this book, if you don't believe in it yourself. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to have Bobby Barrera to verify the horrible incident where a mine hidden in a road blew up the AMTRAC he and Hathcock were riding; both men suffered severely from that attack.
Yes, there are some areas in this book which are obviously "fictional" in that Henderson wasn't able to interview the dead Vietnamese that Hathcock had just killed with his rifle. So there are thoughts and words put to these real-life characters that may or may not be true --we'll never know. But Henderson uses this technique very sparingly, and when it is used, is done in a very effective, professional manner that makes for a most interesting read.
It is also quite obvious that this book was a labor of love for the author, and the loving care in which Hathcock's tale is told is evident on every single page of this book. Henderson holds Hathcock in very high esteem, as do innumerable fellow Americans, fellow Marines and fellow competition shooters. It is rare to find a book like this, and I am eternally thankful to Charles Henderson for writing it. Now I too can finally understand the high esteem upon which so many people hold Carlos Hathcock. I know I will be telling my children about him, and pray to God that they grow up to be even half the man that he was.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Bogus, Nov. 21 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Killes (Mass Market Paperback)
"All-true" says the back cover on this book. That, amongst other things, is not true. There are hundreds of facts in this book which any reader will instinctively know are products of the writer's imagination. I read that Hatchcock meets his wife-to-be, and she sees his white straight teeth, and then I see a picture of Hatchcock further back in the book. Hatchcock's creator must have loaded a shotgun with teeth and unloaded it into the sniper's mouth. That got me think that many of the other facts in this book may be equally wrong. Furthermore, I lose interest when the VCs talk to eachother when I know that the writer couldn't have known what they thought or said. Doesn't matter that Henderson says that these conversations are the only things that are invented in his preface. I don't believe him. Henderson obviously thought that this story would be more thrilling if he made it "closer" to the characters. Not so - it only makes the story less believable. The Vietnam war is fascinating when you read the accounts of somebody who's actually been there, and who tells it just as they experienced it. You will not find that in this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Scholarly Review of Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Kills, Nov. 2 2002
By 
Brendan E. Greeley (Albuquerque, NM United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Killes (Mass Market Paperback)
Marine Sniper 93 Confirmed Kills. Charles Henderson. (New York: The Berkley Publishing Group: 1986.)
Charles Henderson is a veteran of more than twenty-three years in the United States Marine Corps, with a distinguished career spanning from tours in Vietnam to the Gulf War, after which he retired as a Chief Warrant Officer. He has also written three other non-fictional works exploring aspects of the American military. Marine Sniper 93 Confirmed Kills explores the mind of a trained killer, Carlos Hathcock. Henderson explains that it takes a special kind of courage to be alone: to be alone with your thoughts; to be alone with your fears; to be alone with your doubts. Throughout the book, he shows that Carlos Hathcock has that courage: a courage born of honor.
Earnest Hemmingway once said, "There is no hunting like the hunting of a man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else after" (Hemingway 132). Carlos Hathcock hunted men. Growing up in the small city of Little Rock, Arkansas, Carlos wanted no more than to escape the financial deficiency that encompassed every aspect of his life. On his seventeenth birthday, Carlos joined the Marines.
Carlos possessed the exceptional skill of marksmanship and had an uncanny understanding of sniper warfare. His superiors were the first to realize that "Hathcock was the best shot in the Corps" (76). After winning several marksmanship awards including the coveted Wimbledon Cup, Hathcock was deployed to Vietnam. He was stationed in an unnamed camp that was located off of Hill 55. This was a "Charlie hunting" hot spot because "every little hamburger bringin' something in or taking somethin' out of NVA land passed right below us" (56).
The Marine Corps did not always have a sniper program; rather, Hathcock's commanding officers, after noticing his inherent talent as a marksman, let Carlos run the first sniper school. With Captain Land, his company commander, Hathcock made a sniper/scout school in the battlefields of Vietnam, not teaching his "lectures" in the conventional classroom, but in the chaotic atmosphere of war. This led to dangerous situations where untrained and inexperienced "students" were forced to utilize their instructor's guidance or be killed.
Notably, the most interesting aspects of the book have nothing to do with statistics, habits of the soldiers, or the places; rather, they revolve around the daring, bold, and courageous actions leading to Hathcock's 93 kills. Each story is documented in a manner that keeps the reader bound to the book, sweating and fidgeting, as if they too are lying in the marsh with the Private and his scout. Experiencing the joy and the sorrow, the anger and the frustration, the book demands a certain level of intellectual thinking from the reader that, if met, will undoubtedly lead him or her to a deeper understanding of sniper combat.
For those who are truly interested in the detailed life of a soldier who served two tours in Vietnam, this book is a must read. Henderson goes into great depth describing every aspect of Marine life, from shining boots to drinking beer. However, most importantly, Henderson explores the subconscious, lesser known, niche of the sniper. A firm understanding of this uncanny mentality of the Vietnam sniper is what the reader will profit from the novel. It certainly takes a inimitable man to murder a child who is transporting munitions on the back of his bicycle and after reading this novel, the reader will know exactly what kind of man that is.
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Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Killes
Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Killes by Charles Henderson (Mass Market Paperback - Sept. 6 2002)
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