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April 11 , 2008

Khe Sanh: Siege in the Clouds


KHE SANH: Siege in the Clouds, An Oral History by Eric Hammel From critcally acclaimed military historian Eric Hammel comes a vivid oral history account of the Tet 1968 siege of the Khe Sanh Combat Base. The words of American fighting men caught up in the grueling, deadly seventy-seven-day ordeal create a harrowing tapestry of tragedy and triumph. = As two North Vietnamese Army divisions move to surround them, the vastly outnumbered U.S. Marines rush to strengthen their defenses at the isolated base and several nearby hilltop positions. The Communist forces repeatedly attack, are repeatedly repelled, and then dig in to take the American base by siegethe makings of a classic, modern set-piece strategy in which the defenders become bait to tie the attackers to fixed positions in which they can be pummeled and pulverized by American artillery and air support. = Khe Sanh: Siege in the Clouds is a ground-breaking step forward in the oral history genre. This grippingand movingnarrative flows from the masterfully woven threads provided by nearly a hundred men who gallantly endured the wrenching all-out struggle to hold the combat base and its vulnerable outlying positions. = PRAISE FOR KHE SANH: Siege in the Clouds and Eric Hammel = A harrowing, gut-level record of the Vietnam Wars Khe Sanh Campaign . . . a vivid, day-by-day log. . . . Hammel conveys the ironies as well as the horrors of the protracted engagement.Kirkus Reviews = A remarkably accurate account of a crucial 77-day battle . . . Khe Sanh: Siege in the Clouds is retold as an oral history by the men who fought in it, which gives the account not only a vividness and immediacy but a human perspective so many other war analyses are missing. Playboy = The author sets the stage for this epic battle, but then turns the narrative over to the vivid accounts of nearly 100 individuals who survived. The accounts cover all the basesfrom privates in foxholes, to cooks, chaplains, and the commanding generals. . . . A masterful telling of history.Air Force Magazine = The story of the thankless siege is told in this vivid oral history by nearly 100 articulate survivors, mostly U.S. Marines, who convey the frustration experienced by men trained for aggressive mobile warfare forced for the most part to huddle inside a crowded perimeter. Publishers Weekly = Hammels book captures the full flavor of day-to-day life and death that was Khe Sanh. Marine Corps Gazette = Hammels ability to reveal both the immediacy and the humanity of war without judgment or bias makes all his books both readable and scholarly. With Khe Sanh: Siege in the Clouds, he elevates the standards of oral history as well. San Francisco Chronicle
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