Thursday, February 9, 2012

Book Review: A rumor of War by Philip Caputo

Hello Everyone,
    The other day, I found a old worn out copy of A Rumor Of War by Philip Caputo. Well, the title and the cover could themselves convince me to buy the book. Here is a review of the book:
    Philip Caputo is an American author and journalist. He served United States Marine Corps as a infantry lieutenant and was deployed in South Vietnam. After his service, he choose journalism as a career and covered fall of Saigon (aka end of Vietnam war) in 1975. 

     Philip Caputo is well known for his A Rumor of War, Acts of Faith and for winning Pulitzer Prize.

    Philip Caputo starts the book explaining why he joined the United States Marine Corps (USMC), shows you how he fought and fought for his life in Vietnam for nearly an year. The book ends when the court-martial clears all charges on Philip Caputo. The epilogue is about evacuation of author (journalist now) from Saigon as the VC took over Vietnam almost ten years later.

    On March 8th 1965, Philip Caputo, an infantry officer reached Vietnam among the first American regular troop units sent there(9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade). Philip Caputo who joined the USMC to prove himself was carried away to Vietnam on the romance of war alone.

    Trained to annihilate the enemy in Guerrilla warfare at the Quantico and eager to earn a few ribbons and get baptized in fire, Mr. Philip Caputo is highly disappointed. He doesn't get to see action for long time and all the time to his company are an invisible enemy (who is claiming his kills), large insects, horrible weather, long periods of waiting, boredom to the point of madness, fatigue from which no one recovered, cold C - rations, soldiers on the brink of break-down, crazy superiors, shit, more shit and even more shit.

    Even the occasional encounter with enemy usually isn't either in favor of USMC or in favor of Mr. Philip Caputo. Young men were lost / injured everyday, thanks to booby traps, mines, enemy snipers, accidents, friendly fire and the jungle. Everyone lost the "I will win this war single-handed" attitude, lost their youth, thier misconceptions about death, war and gained wisdom in the death's great Grey-land.

    As the officer in charge of death *staff job, counting the dead and keeping records* Mr. Philip Caputo saw horrors and became someone for whom every death was only a statistic. He hated his job, the madness, the crazy spit and polish, the show put up for higher echelons of Army and everything around him. As a line officer, he was happy to be with his men though he had to put up with never-ending patrols, fire-fights, ambushes, VC, constant chat with death itself.

    The book comes to end narrating the trail *court-martial* in which Mr. Philip Caputo and five of his men are tried for murder with premeditation (involving death of Le Dung) during one of the raids on village. The fervor of court-martial is good enough to ensure that you don't keep the book down. Verdict: Everyone acquitted and Mr. Philip Caputo receives a reprimand from General.


    The book is worth all praise that a man can give. Awesome book that captures not just interesting facts of the war but the attitude, physiological state of men in war, the frenzy activity due to which horrors of war occur, the dance of death, the boredom in Vietnam, the evil inside a man, the fears and the fear of fear, the doubts about sacrifice for nation, the doubts about death of beloved, spit and polish of USMC, what constant fear can turn you into, what death of brother-in-arms does to a soldier and a lot more.

    The book is a must read for every military frantic. I think you must keep away from the book if you can't accept gore. The gore isn't all glory, isn't all legendary in this book. The book can scare the wits of anyone who feels war is romantic.


  • The book is filmed by the name A Rumor of War *as a television miniseries* casting Brad Davis, Brain Dennehy, Keith Carradine, Micheal O' Keffe and Christopher Mitchum.
  • Don't read the book, if you can't take gore. It will surely give you nightmares. 
  • Yeah, I do recommend this book for all.
with warm regards
Abhishek Boinapalli


John Paul said...

Looks like a good book!!

but again .. military non-fiction is always cruel ..It kinda shows how horrible life / death can be ..

Military fiction ain't for me!!!

George Clinton said...

Looks like you read a lot of wrong books!! ha Ha!!

Try reading something better!! Military is just a waste of time!! Try fantasy ... !!

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