Widely considered to be the BEST novel to come out of the Vietnam War…
“Fields of Fire” by James Webb
They each had their reasons for being a soldier.
They each had their illusions. Goodrich came from Harvard. Snake got the tattoo — Death Before Dishonor — before he got the uniform. And Hodges was haunted by the ghosts of family heroes.
They were three young men from different worlds plunged into a white-hot, murderous realm of jungle warfare as it was fought by one Marine platoon in the An Hoa Basin, 1969. They had no way of knowing what awaited them. Nothing could have prepared them for the madness to come. And in the heat and horror of battle they took on new identities, took on each other, and were each reborn in fields of fire….
Fields of Fire is James Webb’s classic, searing novel of the Vietnam War, a novel of poetic power, razor-sharp observation, and agonizing human truths seen through the prism of nonstop combat. Weaving together a cast of vivid characters, Fields of Fire captures the journey of unformed men through a man-made hell — until each man finds his fate.
Most highly rated Reader Comment on Amazon:
A lot has been said about style, etc. that I agree with & won’t repeat. Suffice to say James Webb was a platoon commander in Delta Co./1st Battalion/5th Marines: I was a grunt (said with pride) in C/1/5. When I first opened this book back in late ’70s and saw the map of the An Hoa basin – the “Arizona territory”, Go Noi (No-go) Island, Liberty Bridge, the Phu Locs – the hairs on my neck stiffened, and then I let out an “Alllright!!” (scared a few bookstore patrons, nbd).
When you’re reading this you are walking down the same trails, setting up ambushes in the same spots, taking fire from the same tree-lines that Lt. Webb and this young (then)PFC walked & fought from. Hell, it was like goin’ home for a visit!
I had the chance to meet James Webb during the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and thank him for writing this personally. He still had the look in the eyes: quiet, deadly calm, with steel-trap analytical processes going on upstairs. At his swearing-in ceremony for Secretary of the Navy (he remembered this grunt from two chance meetings & sent me an invitation!), as soon as he was “official”, he stopped the show, called up some of the men who had served with him back in An Hoa, and gave them the medals and commendations he had recommended so many years before but had never been given to them. Outstanding!
Jim has the courage of his convictions that he later resigned rather than acquiesce to a polically-motivated evisceration of the Naval service he was entrusted with. He exemplifies the Marine officer – I know of only one other, a Lieutenant in C co, that I had as much respect for, and sadly he didn’t make it out alive. He’s the real deal: this old grunt would assault the fire-and-brimstone-beaches of hell if James Webb was commanding!
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(Craig doesn’t like to ask people for support, but posting this contribution and making this marketing appeal was entirely my idea.)
– Nash 2.5 is a Trail Mix Contributor
Roanoke (VA) — Our view, The unvarnished Jim Webb: “Webb is often categorized as a centrist. That’s not true. Webb simply does not fit neatly into the conventional, two-dimensional left-to-right universe. To understand where Webb is coming from, you have to think in three dimensions — which will be his problem with party activists (and some journalists, as well).”