Just Another Day in Vietnam

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Synopsis

Uniquely adopting a third-person omniscient point of view, Nightingale eschews the "I" of memoir in favor of multiple perspectives and a larger historical vision that afford equal time and weight to ally and enemy alike. Examples of the many perspectives based on real-life characters include: Hu, a VC "informant" whose false information led the Rangers straight into the jaws of a ferocious ambush; General Tanh, the COSVN commander; Major Nguyen Hiep, the 52d Ranger Commander; and Ranger POWs later returned by the North.



Nightingale moreover offers the point of view of an American advisor to elite Vietnamese troops, a vital perspective regrettably underrepresented in the literature of Vietnam, including Burns's documentary. Added to this are well-informed conjecture of enemy psychology; insight into the dedication and often misunderstood role of the elite Vietnamese Ranger forces; the intelligence acquired from debriefing captured Rangers, whose captors had told them that the entire battle had been a carefully staged attack planned by COSVN as part of a larger Total War strategy developed by the leadership of the North Vietnamese Army; and an eyewitness account by a gifted author who is a rare survivor of one of the most vicious—and heretofore forgotten—battles of the war.

Chapters

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