Hope and Honor

( 3 )

Overview

Major General Sidney Shachnow is more than a highly decorated Vietnam War veteran with two Silver and three Bronze Stars with V for Valor. He survived a crucible far crueler than the jungles of Vietnam: Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe, spending three years in the notorious Kovno concentration camp as a child. At age ten, with nothing but rags on his back, he was finally able to flee that hellhole. Most of those he left behind died. After returning to his home in Lithuania, now occupied by the Soviets, and finding it...
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Overview

Major General Sidney Shachnow is more than a highly decorated Vietnam War veteran with two Silver and three Bronze Stars with V for Valor. He survived a crucible far crueler than the jungles of Vietnam: Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe, spending three years in the notorious Kovno concentration camp as a child. At age ten, with nothing but rags on his back, he was finally able to flee that hellhole. Most of those he left behind died. After returning to his home in Lithuania, now occupied by the Soviets, and finding it unbearable, Shachnow and his family decided to head west, often on foot, across Europe to the U.S. zone in Germany, where they found refuge. To earn a living in the grim aftermath of war, he smuggled black market contraband for American GIs. His next journey was to America, where he worked his way through school and enlisted in the U.S. Army, volunteering for U.S. Special Forces, where he served for thirty-two years. His primary goal was to save others from the indignities he had endured and the deadly fate he so narrowly escaped. From Vietnam to the Middle East to the Berlin Wall, Sid Shachnow served in Special Forces. He grew as Special Forces grew, receiving both a master's and a doctoral degree. He traveled the world, rising to major general, responsible for U.S. Special Forces everywhere, but the lessons of Kovno stayed with him wherever he turned, wherever he soldiered. Hope and Honor is a powerful and dramatic memoir that shows how the will to live - so painfully refined in the fires of that long-ago death camp - was forged, at last, into truth of soul and wisdom of the heart.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The author of this book is a highly decorated Vietnam War veteran. But his two Silver Stars and three Bronze Stars don't adequately convey the story or valor of Sidney Shachnow's life. As a young Lithuanian Jew, he spent three years in the Nazis' notorious Kovno concentration camp. He and his family survived by bribery, stealth, and quick wits. After their release, they returned to their homeland, which was now under the yoke of Soviet domination. Fleeing westward, Shachnow settled in America, eventually enlisting in the U.S. Army, which he served for 32 years. In addition to his Vietnam tours, he served in the Middle East and divided Germany. A warrior's unique survivor story.
Publishers Weekly
Part Holocaust memoir and part U.S. Army career narrative, this tale of an extraordinary life begins with young Schaja Shachnowski, a Lithuanian Jew, watching the Nazis march into his town. Taken with his family to a concentration camp, they survived by bribery, quick wits, the help of the Jewish camp police and the occasional assistance of local Lithuanians. Schaja was impressed by American GIs and remembered them after he and his family were eventually admitted to the U.S.: wanting to marry a Christian girl whom his family loathed and also unable to find a decent job, he enlisted in the army in 1955. This began a 40-year career, covered in the book's second half, that ended with him a much decorated major general, having spent most of his career in Special Forces, eventually becoming its commanding general. He served two tours in Vietnam, commanded the Berlin Brigade and fought for an enlarged role for Special Forces. He is also still married to his boyhood love, a remarkably enduring person in her own right. Schachnow's life certainly demonstrates the title qualities, as well as high professional integrity and a ferocious will to survive. His telling of it is not always graceful, but his story comes through clearly and with conviction. Agent, Elizabeth Winick for McIntosh & Otis Inc. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
A former commanding general of the U.S. Army Special Forces, Shachnow here recounts his life and career. As a child, Schachnow, along with his family, narrowly escaped death in a Nazi concentration camp in Lithuania. The fascinating story of their survival and transition to a new way of life in the United States is covered in the first two sections. In the third part, Schachnow details his nearly four decades of military service, from his beginnings as an army private in 1955 through two combat tours in Vietnam, positions of increasing responsibility within the special forces, and important postings as the commanding general of U.S. Forces in Berlin and commander of the JFK Special Warfare School. While interesting, this account of his military career is almost entirely anecdotal, and only at the very end does he offer some critical insights on the qualifications needed to serve in the special forces. Unfortunately, poorly constructed sentences and errors in spelling and grammar mar many of the pages. An optional purchase for public libraries. Edward Metz, USACGSC Combined Arms Research Lib., Ft. Leavenworth, KS Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Marginally useful memoir by a Holocaust survivor and American general. Now retired from military service, debut author Shachnow was ten years old when he and his family were interned in a concentration camp along with other Lithuanian Jews. "I developed an instinct for survival," he recalls. "If I saw any kind of trouble, I hid. I learned to disappear into an alley, a doorway, or behind a shrub." After three years of captivity, he escaped, hidden by a Catholic family until the Red Army arrived. Astonishingly, his mother, father, and brother had also survived. Convinced by an uncle to flee before the borders were sealed, the family moved westward toward the American zone, arriving in Germany in the fall of 1945. It took four years for them to secure permission to emigrate to America, where young Sid found work pumping gas and delivering groceries until joining the army in 1955. In the military, he writes, he blossomed, graduating at the top of his class from officer candidates school; apparently moved as much by the needs of his growing family ("hostile fire pay was $55 per month extra") as by career ambitions, he then volunteered for training in the Special Forces and assignment to Vietnam, where he distinguished himself in combat. After the war, he rose through the officer grades until attaining the rank of major general and commanding the Special Forces. None of these are ordinary events or attainments, but Shachnow writes with little sense of drama or self-reflection. Instead, in good military fashion, he too often reverts to pat phrases: he offers that his experience in the camps instilled a desire to "make sure no threat to freedom would go unchallenged again," adding, "Communism wasa real threat and it had to be stopped" and repeating the tired assertion that politicians, not soldiers, lost the war in Vietnam. Of some interest, surely, to those who served with Shachnow, but too limited to add to our understanding of the events he describes.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786177998
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/2005
  • Format: CD
  • Product dimensions: 6.86 (w) x 6.54 (h) x 1.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Major General Sid Shachnow was ten years old when he escaped the notorious Kovno concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Lithuania. He made his way across Europe where he made a living by smuggling contraband. He eventually came to America and enlisted in the U.S. Army, volunteering for U.S. Special Forces, where he served for thirty-two years. After serving in Vietnam and earning two Silver Stars and three Bronze Stars with V for Valor, he rose to the status of major general in charge of all U.S. Special Forces. Since his retirement in 1994, he has traveled widely, consulting for the Pentagon on special operations in the world's trouble spots, notably in Korea. He is a much-sought-after public speaker, and instructs from time to time at military institutions such as the U.S. Army Command General Staff College and the U.S. Army War College.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 9
Prologue 13
Part I Into the Fire (1941-1945) 15
Part II The Road to Freedom (1945-1955) 121
Part III The American Dream (1955-1994) 219
Epilogue 393
Appendix 395
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2005

    Everyone should own a copy

    This is the best autobiography I have ever read. I couldn't put the book down. No fancy words, the book is straight forward and readable. This book is insperational and just plain interesting. I highly recommend this book to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2004

    A Man of Courage

    This was a wonderful story of the sacrifice and determination of a man who found hope and honor in a world full of hate and war. He is a great example of the courage of those who suffered in the Nazi concentration camps and also of the soldiers in our U.S. Army Special Forces units. This man overcame every obstacle the world could ever throw at him, and he still struggled to the top.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2004

    Great story!!!

    I just got the book the other day but finished it already. It's the first book I've read in years that I just couldn't put down. It is a facinating true story. This is a truly amazing tale and with some great humor. I loved it!

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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