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The Odyssey of Echo Company
The Odyssey of Echo Company: The 1968 Tet Offensive and the Epic Battle to Survive the Vietnam War | Doug Stanton
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SELECTED BY MILITARY TIMES AS A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR * SELECTED BY THE SOCIETY OF MIDLAND AUTHORS AS THE BEST NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR The New York Times bestselling author of In Harms Way and Horse Soldiers shares the powerful account of an American army platoon fighting for survival during the Vietnam War in an important book.not just a battle storyits also about the home front (The Today show). On January 31, 1968, as many as 100,000 guerilla fighters and soldiers in the North Vietnamese Army attacked thirty-six cities throughout South Vietnam, hoping to dislodge American forces during one of the vital turning points of the Vietnam War. Alongside other young American soldiers in an Army reconnaissance platoon (Echo Company, 1/501) of the 101st Airborne Division, Stanley Parker, the nineteen-year-old son of a Texan ironworker, was suddenly thrust into savage combat, having been in-country only a few weeks. As Stan and his platoon-mates, many of whom had enlisted in the Army, eager to become paratroopers, moved from hot zone to hot zone, the extreme physical and mental stresses of Echo Companys day-to-day existence, involving ambushes and attacks, grueling machine-gun battles, and impossibly dangerous rescues of wounded comrades, pushed them all to their limits and forged them into a lifelong brotherhood. The war became their fight for survival. When they came home, some encountered a bitterly divided country that didnt understand what they had survived. Returning to the small farms, beach towns, and big cities where they grew up, many of the men in the platoon fell silent, knowing that few of their countrymen wanted to hear the stories they lived to telluntil now. Based on interviews, personal letters, and Army after-action reports, The Odyssey of Echo Company recounts the searing tale of wartime service and homecoming of ordinary young American men in an extraordinary time and confirms Doug Stantons prominence as an unparalleled storyteller of our age.
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The news that night, that month, that year, was not good, but the color images were perfect. You could see someone get shot, as if it were happening in your living room, as you looked up from your TV dinner. For the first time in history, America was watching a war as it was fought, in near real time.

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Yes, finally, war is always the same. It is young men dying in the fullness of their promise. It is trying to kill a man you don‘t even know well enough to hate… therefore, to know war is to know there is still madness in the world. (Lyndon Johnson)

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