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Blood Trails: The Combat Diary of a Foot Soldier in Vietnam

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2013



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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2012


    From almost the first chapter the author wrote about how bored he was and how boring the war was and most other people being boring.

    With his boredom I wonder why he would write a book about it all. He just wrote a boring book. He did seem callous towards others.

    One difference in this book compared to the other books I have read about Vietnam was that he loved the Ham and Lima Beans C-ration when others down right detested them. Also in other books the soldiers did not wear underwear and rarely wore socks to avoid jungle rot.

    I am glad that he was a lucky one that made it back alive.

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  • Posted November 30, 2010

    Very good!

    Let me get this out of the way, first: this book is fantastic already, but it could definitely have been better with a bit more description. Having not been there and having little experience with Vietnam, Ronnau does little to put a mental picture of the environment in readers' minds, at least at first. However, clever writing saves the lack of description and the book itself from becoming bland textbook-like prose.

    Ronnau does, however, paint a picture of a dangerous area and the dangerously undereducated, dangerously over-equipped men who were supposed to handle it. Among others, I recall such novelties as the pillar erected where a rookie was iced by "Shooting Range Charlie" in the first days of the war and the surprise slaughtering of the local butcher, Chang, by the VC. He also takes care to describe military jargon and telling fantastic (albeit unrelated) stories of bad luck, jungle legend and smaller, more subtle anecdotes that provide immense insight to the war and its nature. For example, he was told early on by a pair of troopers that you'd be considered "traveling light" if you didn't hold onto at least four frag grenades at all time.

    Blood Trails, albeit a bit vague and nearly impossible to find anymore, does its job to illustrate a lost war fraught with paranoia, peril and monotony. It's a good read, easy to relate to and it can get very exciting when it needs to. You can put yourself in Ronnau's shoes and the result is a nice fit. I can highly recommend this book to anyone with eyes and I'm quite sad not many picked it up.

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  • Posted December 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Reenacting "Pickett's Charge" at Gettysburg Using Live Ammunition!

    -----Original Message-----
    Sent: Wed, Dec 2, 2009 8:12 pm
    Subject: reread

    5.0 out of 5 stars Reenacting "Pickett's Charge" at Gettysburg Using Live Ammunition, December 2, 2009
    By Bernie Weisz "a historian specializing in the... (Pembroke Pines,Florida) - See all my reviews
    In reading Christopher Ronnau's book, "Blood Trails", I came across a stunning gem! I have read literally hundreds of Vietnam memoirs, but "Blood Trails" does more to define "the fog of war" more vividly than most autobiographies put together! Read this book, and you will discover why I named this review in the manner I did! Ronnau, in January, 1967 volunteered for the Army at the height of the Vietnam War and was promptly deployed to S.E. Asia. Smartly deciding to bring a camera and a journal, as part of the "Big Red One" Ronnau chronicled patrols, ambushes, B-52 airstrikes and search and destroy missions along the hotly contested areas of the "Tay Ninh Province" as well as the "Iron Triangle"

    Not quite 21 years old, Ronnau kept a running journal of this book from January, 1967 to it's disasterous conclusion four months later, where an N.V.A. bullet truncated this story with a bullet to his jaw, thus ending this memoir. However, within these four months, Ronnau packed in a scathing description and powerful indictment of the folly of this conflict, giving the reader glimpses of this war rarely told! After being shot on the battlefield, Ronnau was airlifted to the Kishine Barracks at the American Military Hospital on Yokohama, Japan, and finally the now defunct Letterman Army Hospital in San Francisco, California. Ronnau needed 6 surgeries to repair the left side of his jaw, rebuilt using one of his ribs. After his recovery and subsequent discharge from the Army, Ronnau heroically went back to college, then medical school, graduating from the "University of Guadalajara", Mexico in 1978. He then practiced "Emergency Medicine" for the next 30 years, with stops as an emergency room physician and director in St. Louis, Mo., and at last look, at the penal institution "California Institute For Men" in Chino, California

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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