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.
The real deal
By Donald Mallen "free-mind" - May 5, 2006
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... read more
Jim Webb and the Arizona Territory
By T. Gabriel "People ask me what I do in winter... - September 17, 2006
Jim Webb served his time in Vietnam during one of my nearly three years in Vietnam. I found this book just after the original publication in 1979. It was as if I was reading a biography of my own service with the grunts in the 1st Marine Division. In the years since I have always admired his work, first as a Platoon and Company Commander in 5th Marines and then as Secretary of the Navy and as an author.
Fields of Fire fully described the green hell that was Vietnam for every Marine infantryman who served there.
If you want to get a feel for what that war was like, read this book. If you think you might want to go fight in a war, read this book.
Outstanding War Novel
By Charles W. Houseworth - July 1, 2006
I read Jarhead on a whim earlier this past week. Anthony Swofford, the author, is a gifted young writer. But the book left me feeling empty, even angry. There was an attitude about Swofford and many of his Marine Corps buddies that just rubbed me the wrong way. Whiney might be the right word. Furthermore, Swofford through the course of the book seems to have been in a serious, depressive state that probably required professional help. It does not appear that he received that help prior to being discharged from the Marine Corps. Based on several of the Jarhead reviews I read on Amazon, I then read James Webb's Fields of Fire. Granted, it was a novel and it was based on the Vietnam war, not the first Iraq war. But the book was much more satisfying. In fact, it was a terrific read. Webb's description of war, and how Marines of various backgrounds experienced and dealt with it, was unforgettable. Until now, I thought that Anton Myrer's epic Once and Eagle was the best war novel I had ever... read more