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Proud Bastards: One Marine's Journey from Parris Island through the Hell of Vietnam

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2000

    The only Vietnam War book you need to read.

    I found this book by accident at a public library a few years back. I saw the 4th Marine Regiment crest on the cover and it caught my eye-I served a tour in Vietnam in 65-66 as an FMF Corpsman with the 4th. I read it in one night-stopping several times to catch my breath. Mike put into words a lot of what I saw but did not have the skill or nerve to write about. He had me smelling the jungle, gun solvent, woodsmoke and fear all over again. The book brought back vivid memories of things I had completly forgotten. His in-your-face honesty hit home like nothing I have read before or since. This book is outstanding and I recommend it highly for vets who are still trying to figure things out and for non vets who want to know what it was really like. A great book by a guy who was there. Larry Hill

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 25, 2013

    "Lock and Load" - For some reason, this reminds me of

    "Lock and Load" - For some reason, this reminds me of Flight 93 with Todd Beamer and the heroism
    shown by him and all the 40 victims on that flight. Todd's last audible words on the last day of his life,
    "Are you guys ready? Okay, let's roll!" The heroes on that doomed flight fought to stop terrorists from
    reaching their target, and ultimately gave their lives in order to save others on September 11, 2001.This is a memoir and grunt's eye view of the jungle combat in Viet Nam and the fierce fight with the NVA
    (North Vietnamese Army) with occasional battles waged by the Viet Cong. The author saw and
    experienced the horrors of combat. He didn't die in the jungle warfare, but he lived with the scars and
    vividly remembered the heroism and courage of the men who fought with him. I personally applaud the young E. Michael Helms, who boarded a bus and took a journey that made
    him a hardened Marine. I am sure he deserved each and every medal that was awarded to him. The author tells it like it was. He describes the brutal war with authenticity, truthfulness and faithfulness.
    What more can anyone ask for in a memoir? I believe anyone who takes the time to check out and read "The Proud Bastards" will come away with
    what it is like to face, encounter and relive painful memories of things you will never forget, but people
    you will always remember. It took a lot of courage to become a Marine, and journey into jungle warfare. It also took a lot of courage
    to write this battlefield memoir.Some of my relatives were Marines, and they were known to swell with pride from time to time.
    Marines are ingrained with Semper Fidelis and they are "Always Faithful". Their brotherhood is
    something that we can all learn from.  I hope everyone picks up and reads this compelling book.
    If there ever was a modern day classic - this is it...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 21, 2012

    Highly Recommended.

    Nothing wrong with being a proud bastard. We earned it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2000

    Terrific book

    Perhaps the best book about combat I've ever read. The writing is superb, and like all good writing, becomes transparent as you are carried into the story. The setting is horrific, the language raw, as you share a teenager's thoughts and emotions in the face of violent death. Words are not wasted here - the writing is spare and accurate. There is no moralizing about the 'meaning' of the war. In effect, the author says, 'Here's my story. Draw your own conclusions.' My conclusion is that Mr. Helms is one hell of a writer!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2000

    A former FMF corpsman reviews'The Proud Bastards'

    This is the best book by far that I have read about the Marine Corps and Vietnam. Mike Helms really tells it like it was!This is very much required reading for anyone who wants the truth about the Marine Corps in Vietnam. as a former 'Grunt' corpsman,I can say this book really brings it all back. If he writes another book,you can bet I will stand in line to get it! Way to go,Mike! SEMPER FI!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2000

    An Intense and Vicarious Education

    As someone for whom the idea of 'war' has never been anything more than a vague specter lurking somewhere in other people's pasts, I eagerly suggest that 'The Proud Bastards' should be required reading for those of us who are lucky enough to have never had first-hand experience. In a voice rivalling the fluidity of Kerouac, Michael Helms has managed to weave together the intense -- the almost too intense -- story of his travails through bootcamp and into the thick of the Vietnam ground war. But this is not just a book about war. It is a book about relationships forged in the surrealistic heat of battle; it is about psychological self-preservation; it is about instinct under pressure; it is about young men, many of them teenagers, whose previous notions of life, loyalty, and purpose are put to a test the likes of which no human being should ever have to face...and the gut-wrenching task, then, of trying to reconcile these notions with ultimate reality. In simplest terms, 'The Proud Bastards' is about going to hell, and, for the too few fortunate, returning. The descriptions and accounts are excruciatingly vivid, the personalities are real...but through all the death and destruction, Helms somehow manages to convey much of his story with the most therapeutic of human instincts -- a sense of humor, if only out of desperation. Based on reviews I've seen by veterans far and wide, it is apparent that 'The Proud Bastards' has done justice to the experience of war. As for the rest of you...dig in, do a shot of rot-gut Bourbon, and read this book. You will not regret it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 4, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    The Journey From Man to Battle-worn Hero

    It takes courage to enlist knowing you will be dumped into one of the ugliest and most controversial wars of recent history, Vietnam. To bare your soul and write about the horrors, nightmares and fear endured while trying to maintain your humanity and come home alive, well, that goes beyond any courage I could ever possess. E. Michael Helms has given this reader an eye-opening experience into the hell he lived in from Boot Camp to Vietnam and he does it with dignity, grace and stark honesty. Proud Bastards is Mr. Helms’ journey, the good, the bad and the ugly, told as only one who lived through the assault on his senses, his person and his heart as he struggled to survive intact, emotionally, mentally and physically. Watching comrades fall, dealing with the brutality of an extreme foreign climate, smelling death and suffering all around, Mr. Helms brings each page to life with his words until, from the safety of your arm chair, one feels they are there beside him every step of the way, from the young man naïve to war, to life as a fighting marine whose heart and mind are forever filled with people, places and events that are a huge part of the history he lived.

    E. Michael Helms knows how to tell a story from the heart, pulling no punches, while riveting his audience to every single word he writes as his tale honors all of those who have stepped onto a battlefield knowing they may never leave. Mr. Helms makes his personal journey, our journey, I laughed, I cried and my heart raced as I hung on every word. Despite one’s personal feelings about war, there is no way to ignore the strength and courage of the individuals who stood tall and dug deep when needed. That is how powerful E. Michael Helms’ writing is. Well Done!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2000

    A True Vietnam War Hero!

    'The Proud Bastards' is truely one of the greatest Vietnam War books ever written. Michael Helms tells his true and painful story of MARINE boot camp and the hells of Vietnam. This book is intense and extremely realistic(because it's true). It is a story about a right of passage and a young mans journey to manhood through the horrors of war. A must buy for everyone who is intested in the Vietnam War. WELCOME HOME and SEMPER FI, Mike! --Rick Swartzlander

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    Posted August 22, 2010

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    Posted October 29, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2010

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