Baptism: A Vietnam Memoir

Baptism: A Vietnam Memoir

4.4 17
by Larry Gwin
     
 

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"The 2nd Battalion of the 7th Cavalry had the dubious distinction of being the unit that had fought the biggest battle of the war to date, and had suffered the worst casualties. We and the 1st Battalion."

A Yale graduate who volunteered to serve his country, Larry Gwin was only twenty-three years old when he arrived in Vietnam in 1965. After a brief stint

Overview

"The 2nd Battalion of the 7th Cavalry had the dubious distinction of being the unit that had fought the biggest battle of the war to date, and had suffered the worst casualties. We and the 1st Battalion."

A Yale graduate who volunteered to serve his country, Larry Gwin was only twenty-three years old when he arrived in Vietnam in 1965. After a brief stint in the Delta, Gwin was reassigned to the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in An Khe. There, in the hotly contested Central Highlands, he served almost nine months as executive officer for Alpha Company, 2/7, fighting against crack NVA troops in some of the war's most horrific battles.

The bloodiest conflict of all began November 12, 1965, after 2nd Battalion was flown into the Ia Drang Valley west of Pleiku. Acting as point, Alpha Company spearheaded the battalion's march to landing zone Albany for pickup, not knowing they were walking into the killing zone of an NVA ambush that would cost them 10 percent casualties.

Gwin spares no one, including himself, in his gut-wrenching account of the agony of war. Through the stench of death and the acrid smell of napalm, he chronicles the Vietnam War in all its nightmarish horror.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Forcefully written, engrossing narrative, and heartfelt descriptions of some of the bloodiest battles of the war." —Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore, USA (Ret.), coauthor of We Were Sodiers Once. . . And Young

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780804119221
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/28/1999
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
426,793
Product dimensions:
4.17(w) x 6.87(h) x 0.97(d)

Meet the Author

Larry Gwin was commissioned as an infantry lieutenant out of Yale University in 1963. After two years with the 82d Airborne Division, he served as an advisor to a South Vietnamese Army battalion in the Mekong Delta before joining the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in September 1965. Assigned to Alpha Company, 2d Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment (A 2/7), he served as their executive officer for almost nine months. During that time, A 2/7 made more than forty-five combat assaults, fought in five major engagements, usually against North Vietnamese regulars, and suffered in excess of 70 percent casualties. Gwin returned from Vietnam as a captain and taught history as an ROTC instructor at Northeastern University before leaving the army and heading to Boston University Law School in 1968. Graduating in 1971, he practiced law in Boston until 1982, when he "dropped out" to write and teach. Since then he has written more than eighty-five published pieces, taught at the prep school and college levels, and commenced an arbitration practice. He has two grown sons, Sam and Rob, and resides north of Boston, where he continues to write and arbitrate securities cases. In 1996, he was awarded a Silver Star for his extraordinary heroism in the Ia Drang Valley. Baptism is his first book.

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Baptism 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Found it difficult to believe this author was in Vietnam. Have read many stories written by soldiers about their experiences in war and this one was hard to read. This soldier wrote about how he could not clearly remember different instances after so many years. He had problems remembering what he wrote from chapter to chapter. There were too many contradictions in the book which had me having to reread a lot to ensure that I had read correctly. Very conceited person. I got tired of reading about how good he was at everything. He seemed to disrespect and dislike most every person he had to work with. I finshed the book hoping I would learn what happen to the other soldiers mentioned. I hoped to high.
Bog6 More than 1 year ago
I have been reading memoirs about Vietnam since the sixth grade. I found this one hard to read due to the self indulgent nature of the writer. It almost stopped me from reading it, but I finished it and was glad I read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for a class I'm taking in college on the Vietnam War. I'm glad my professor chose this book for us to read. Honestly, I was discouraged at first because the 'military lingo' took some adjusting; however, Gwin's writing style is simplistic enough for anyone to follow his narrative. He seems to understand that not everyone is familiar with many of the military acronyms and does a good job of 'spelling it out' throughout the novel. I did not live during the Vietnam War era, but this book has helped me appreciate what not only the soldiers went through, but the country as a whole. Thanks Gwin!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was with C Co. 2/7 Jan. 66 tell Jun 66. I can tell you this man not only wrights the truth, he wights it like it was. I was only a PFC then and was amazed to learn that this officer had meny of the same thoughts of the war as I did. I glad he was able to put in print!
Guest More than 1 year ago
In Heller & Stofft's classic book, AMERICA'S FIRST BATTLES, the authors tackle the battle of the Ia Drang valley, including the fighting at LZ Albany. 'Few events of the war can match Albany for sheer gore,' they write. 'There were stories of horrible North Vietnamese atrocities. A few Americans shot themselves to avoid capture, and significant numbers were killed by friendly fire.' Gwin's magnificent account puts flesh on that skeleton. What was accomplished in the Ia Drang is open to interpretation: overall, did it shorten or prolong the war? Regardless, this account from an astute observer and participant is long overdue.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this book one day after school, and well I have to say it is the best Vietnam war book. As I grew up, my dad use to tell me stories about the Vietnam war. My grampa fought and died in that war as an SVA soldier. This book accurately expresses the horrors of that war.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Baptism is one of the best books I have ever read related to the Vietnam War. Gwin's experiences in Vietnam were vividly detailed and full of emotion. I would recommend this book for anyone who wants to know almost what it was like to have been involved in the Vietnam War fighting for your country and fighting for your life.