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Reader VN War book Recommendations

Have you read a great book about the Vietnam War and want to recommend it to others? Here’s the place! Go to the comment section below and post the title of the book, author, and a short blurb about why others should read this book. Also, if you have it, please include the link of where the book is available for purchase.

I will pull that information and begin listing those books alphabetically…if a link is available, I’ll also include the book cover with your recommendation.

Here’s the first:

THE MAD FRAGGER AND ME: Leading an Infantry Rifle Platoon in Vietnam Kindle Edition
by Thomas Dolan (Author)

Suggested by Jay

Purchase link:

This book describes the true experiences of a U.S. soldier, through his military training and troop duty, culminating in a 1970-1971 tour as an Infantry Platoon Leader in Vietnam. (506 pages)

Five Years to Freedom – The true story of a Vietnam POW
by James N. Rowe

Suggested by: Richard Mencl

Purchase link:

John, Here is a book I didn’t see in your library: “Five Years to Freedom” by James N (Nick) Rowe. He was captured in 1963 and escaped 5 years later. Subsequently assassinated while on duty in the Phillipines. A great man although not the best writer in the world.

Nixons Nuclear Specter Book Cover.png

Here is a book review that I’m also sending to the San Francisco Marine’s Memorial magazine “Crossroads”, on an important event in the Vietnam War that occurred 50 years ago today. My own background- US Marine Corps, Cold War Post Vietnam vet. 1977-1985. Former Nuclear Weapons Officer
This story was common knowledge when I was in, but we all had to keep quiet about it. Please post on your website and/or blog if you find it worthwhile to the discussion of Vietnam War history.
Regards, John F. Davies
USMC 1977-1985

Fifty years ago, “Shock and Awe” was almost unleashed against North Vietnam. During the fall of 1969, the employment of nuclear weapons was, for the first time given serious consideration by the Nixon White House.  Using recently declassified archives, Cold War Historians William Burr and Jeffery C. Kimball now tell for the first time this little known part of Vietnam War history,

After taking office in 1969, President Richard M. Nixon declared ending the Vietnam War to be his administration’s top priority. The date of 1 November was set for an ultimatum to be made to Hanoi. Both Nixon and his National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger then pursued a dual policy of making diplomatic and military threats. Above all, they wanted to use Nixon’s bellicose reputation as a means of pressuring the Communists towards a peace agreement.

One of the revelations in this book is the role of a little known figure of the Vietnam era- U.S. Navy Captain (later Rear Admiral), Rembrandt C. Robinson. As Pentagon Liaison Officer to the National Security Council, Captain Robinson worked with Kissinger and the Joint Chiefs in putting together an operations order code-named “Duck Hook”. Besides air, naval, and mining operations, its paragraphs included plans for strikes involving tactical nuclear weapons by carrier aircraft, the goal being destroying North Vietnam’s infrastructure

The efforts to intimidate Hanoi however came to naught. The reasons were many, but ultimately it was Nixon’s concerns about domestic politics, anti-war protests, and damage to diplomatic moves that restrained his actions. However, some covert military operations were authorized, including the secret bombings of Cambodia and Laos. An even greater action occurred in October 1969.  Called a “Joint Readiness Exercise” it involved all major U.S. Military Commands, operating under conditions close to DEFCON III. The operation even involved flying nuclear-armed B-52s in close proximity to Russian airspace. These actions were meant to intimidate the Soviets into putting pressure on the North Vietnamese but were nevertheless unsuccessful. With the failure of this strategy, Nixon and Kissinger opted for a “Vietnamization” policy, which would provide a “Decent Interval” for the subsequent `U.S. withdrawal.  However, the planning and exercise of 1969 did provide the basis for the 1972 “Linebacker” bombing campaign and the later 1973 Nuclear Alert during the Yom Kippur War.

“Nixon’s Nuclear Specter” provides a view into a little-known but nevertheless important part of Vietnam War history. More importantly, the authors make a creditable case about the limits of nuclear weapons in foreign policy, and how it influenced the course of America’s long war in Vietnam.

Link to book website:

 The following books were recommended by
Barry Kintner – Phoenix, Arizona USA
ASA 1966-1970 – RVN 1967-1970
– Dak To (173d Abn/4th Inf)
– Unlikely Warriors (ASA in Vietnam)
– The Most Secret War (ofcl NSA book)
– Spartans in Darkness (ofcl pub, 550 pgs, partially redacted)
– The Sentinal and The Shooter (abt 265th RRC(A)/101st Abn)
– Year with No Sun (173d)
– Older: Codebreakers – Super Spies – Puzzle Palace … others (1960’s)

I flew in the 281st AHC from 1968-69. We wrote a book, Above the Best, consisting of short stories from anyone in the unit who would contribute. It’s on Amazon or from our website, in the PX. We were the US Army’s first special operations helicopter company. Welcome Home.
Jeff Murray
Fort Worth

Will McCollum’s book “Above The Best” covering the life and times of the men who served in the unit will be available in the PX. Orders may be made by contacting Stories & Postings ( and completing the order form…it is not the same book posted on Amazon.


I don’t read much fiction, (  Especially the “Mainstream Media.”), but this book is a rare exception.
Set late in the Vietnam War, “The Five Fingers” tells the story of a select team of Special Forces Soldiers tasked with taking out a summit conference of Communist leaders in Southern China. It was written during the late 1970s, but  really didn’t take off sales-wise until about 1980, and was on sale at every military exchange during my tour. What intrigues me so much about it is while the premise is fantastic, the story sounds believable in light  of what we now know of China’s involvement with North Vietnam. The author is a pseudonym, but from what I’ve read he knows a lot of what he’s talking about. The plot and the actions described are believable and realistic.  I asked a number of people I knew who were Spec Ops vets about the book, and they were of two minds about it. Some said it was real, some said it was fiction, but they all agreed that whomever wrote or helped write the story had themselves “been there” as we would say. Its still quite a fascinating and thought provoking story, and quite a cut above most of its genre. Why this book hasn’t been made into a movie, I don’t know, because it would definitely be a good one. It has been long out of print, but can easily be found on E-bay.Regards, JFD3vet
Link to review: The Five Fingers by Gayle Rivers (


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