I was born in 1955, so I was 14 at the time of the ambush described at the start of 'Ghost Platoon'. As a teenager, my interest in current affairs would have been fairly typical. Virtually zero. I don't have any memories of the Vietnam War from that time. Nothing of the '68 Tet offensive. Of course, I remember the eventual fall of South Vietnam in 1975.
I came to this book after listening to the audiobook version of Paul Ham's very fine, apparently occasionally inaccurate, exhaustive and sometimes exhausting book 'Vietnam the Australian War'.
I had some trepidation on reading this book. Who cares about a small battle of which hardly anyone has heard, and which resulted in only the meaningless addition of more communist casualties to the already considerable toll? How do you fight a foe who doesn't care about own casualties? A foe who suffered an enormous defeat in the '68 Tet offensive, and who went on to win?
To my surprise, it was a very good read. I started it one evening and finished it the next morning. It won't change your views of the Vietnam War. I think that it was a mistake right from the start, in 1946, when the French were allowed to return. Intervening in a civil war is never a good idea.
My sympathy goes to the troops who were sent there to fight, particularly in the later years when the war was becoming unpopular at home. The returning veterans were very shoddily treated by the general population and the government of the day, for bad decisions made by the electorate and the government.
- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Hachette Australia; 1 edition (28 July 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0733634605
- ISBN-13: 978-0733634604
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 322 g
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- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)