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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

We Are Soldiers Still

by Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore (Ret.) and Joseph L. Galloway
audiobook: 6.75 hours
narrated by Joseph L. Galloway

*** About the Book ***

We are Soldiers Still CD: A Journey Back to the Battlefields of VietnamFollowing the publication of their first book, We Were Soldiers Once ... And Young, Moore and Galloway finally achieve their dream of returning to the Ia Drang Valley in Vietnam, the site of a major turning-point battle in 1965. In this book the two men chronicles that journey and recall memories of the battle, and Moore shares his thoughts on leadership.

*** Why I Listened To It ***

After finishing We Were Soldiers Once ... And Young (my review is here) I knew I wanted to find out more about Moore and Galloway.  I'd heard of this book before so I reserved a copy from the library and started listening as soon as I could.

*** My Thoughts ***

As I listened to the first several CDs of this book all I could think about is that THIS is the book people need to read in order to get some sort of closure on the Vietnam War.

The first part of the book details the journeys Moore and Galloway took to Vietnam over the course of several years.  Most of the focus is on one particular trip though, the one that finally took them back to the Ia Drang battlefield in the company of the Vietnamese officers they fought against so many years ago.  Hearing how these men - enemies for so many years - came together to mourn the loss of life on both sides was truly amazing.

As did their first book, this one also contains the stories of many other men who fought in the Ia Drang.  In fact, you could easily read this book without having read the first book and still understand the battle and it's impact. 

The final portion of the book contains Moore's advice on and stories about good leadership.  This section was fascinating and inspiring.  I learned a lot about leadership and it gave me much to think about.


The two portions of the book are so radically different that it felt to me like two completely separate books had been bound together to make a new book.  On their own each section is excellent but they really don't belong together. It just didn't work for me.

There's a lot of humor in this book (especially relating to the oddities of travel in Vietnam) and a lot of heart. In spite of my feeling that the two parts of the book don't mesh, I'm really, really glad that I listened to it.

*** About the Narrator ***

It took me a little while to get used to Galloway's narration but in the end it worked for me.  He has a slow way of speaking, almost-but-not-quite too slow for my taste.  His intimate knowledge of the story and the men, however, gave him an authority that I appreciate when listening to non-fiction audio.  I knew that when his voice was serious, the story was serious, and that when he spoke with a laugh in his voice, what might have "read" as horrible actually did have some humor to it.

*** Your Thoughts ****

Thanks to the War Through the Generations Challenge: Vietnam I'm finally overcoming my reluctance to read books set in this era.  I'm also finding that I really enjoy "themed" reading; the various books all seem to complement each other in a variety of ways.

Are you participating in this challenge?  Do you have a hard time reading books about the Vietnam War?  Why or why not?


bermudaonion said...

I wonder how I missed this book? I read We Were Soldiers Once. . .and Young and met Hal Moore afterward. I'd like to read this one to have some closure even if the two stories weren't combined all that well.

Anna said...

I haven't read either book, but you can bet they're on my to-read list now. We'll get this posted on War Through the Generations soon. We're still behind in updating the site, but hopefully life will settle down a bit soon. ;)

I have noticed that many people are reluctant to read books about the Vietnam War. There is a grittiness to them that I haven't yet found in the other war books I've read.

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

bermudaonion - My guess is that when you heard Moore talk a while back, he probably said some of the same things he does in this book. I'm looking forward to seeing what you think of it.

Anna - I think it's also b/c this war is so controversial, and b/c so many people were drafted against their will and didn't want to go at all (whereas in WWII draftees may not have WANTED to go but often felt it was their duty to their country, and not that their country was betraying them). Maybe also b/c this war is more contemporary?

Anna said...

I agree on all of those points. A few of the people I've talked to about the challenge say the war is still vivid in their memories and don't want to re-live it.

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