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I Pledge Allegiance (Vietnam Series #1)

I Pledge Allegiance (Vietnam Series #1)

4.3 20
by Chris Lynch

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"The best Vietnam War novels yet for this age range." - KIRKUS REVIEWS

Morris, Rudi, Ivan, and Beck are best friends for life. So when one of them is drafted into the Vietnam War, the others sign up, too - each with a different branch of the US military.

Morris joins the US Navy, and he makes it his personal mission to watch over his friends from the USS


"The best Vietnam War novels yet for this age range." - KIRKUS REVIEWS

Morris, Rudi, Ivan, and Beck are best friends for life. So when one of them is drafted into the Vietnam War, the others sign up, too - each with a different branch of the US military.

Morris joins the US Navy, and he makes it his personal mission to watch over his friends from the USS Boston. But the Boston itself isn't safe from attack. And although Morris means to keep his friends safe, he may have his hands full just watching out for himself.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for Chris Lynch's World War II series:

• "An expertly crafted war story with fluid prose, bleak humor, careful attention to historic detail, and a view of 'The Good War' worth pondering." -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review

"All the sizzle, chaos, noise and scariness of war is clay in the hands of ace storyteller Lynch." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Though aimed at younger readers, Lynch doesn't write down, instead offering a powerful taste of war on a personal level." -- Publishers Weekly

Praise for Chris Lynch's Vietnam series:

"The best Vietnam War novels yet for this age range." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Lynch brilliantly captures the war in small details." -- Booklist

"A fine balance of thoughtfulness and gritty action." -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books


Publishers Weekly
Lynch (Inexcusable) has trouble finding the emotional core of his Vietnam War novel, first in a planned series, making the story’s outcome feel both inevitable and pointless. When Rudi—one in a group of four tight-knit 18- and 19-year-old friends in Boston—gets drafted, the rest of the boys honor their pledge to enlist, each joining a different branch of the armed forces. While this all-for-one commitment isn’t beyond belief, Rudi is portrayed as mentally incompetent and is unlikely to have been accepted for service, undercutting the premise. Issues like the morality of the war and the protests are glossed over as the book thrusts the narrator, Morris, into his new life in the U.S. Navy. This is a fairly ordinary war tale, as new soldiers are introduced (with the usual archetypes, from the scared kid pressured into enlisting by his family to the token tough black man, an awkwardly handled character, especially in light of racial unrest in the Navy during Vietnam), followed by the expected battles, tragedies, and inability to explain the horrors of war. Ages 9–12. (Nov.)
Children's Literature - Greg M. Romaneck
"If friendship has an opposite, it has to be war." So begins this fictional account of one young soldier's experience of the Vietnam War. Morris is eighteen years old when he and his three bosom friends join the armed services during a time of war. The precipitating event that triggers this volunteerism is the drafting of Rudi, one of their clique. These four friends are so close that they feel a tremendous allegiance to one another. Faced with one of their comrades going off to war, they all have to go. For Morris who joins the navy, the war is filled with sharp contrasts. At first Morris is assigned to a deep water cruiser and experiences a very distant kind of war. Then, after his ship is struck by friendly fire, Morris is reassigned to river duty. There, on the muddy waterways of South Vietnam, Morris experiences a much more up-close-and-personal form of combat. All through his enlistment Morris wonders where his friends are and how they are surviving. Lynch does a fine job of relating the rite of passage that so many soldiers describe in their accounts of wartime service. Written with a lyrical style balanced by a taut storyline, this powerful story embodies a fine addition to the personal or school library of youngsters interested in military history and its effects on common folk. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck
VOYA - Ann Reddy Damon
Despite its title, Vietnam #1: I Pledge of Allegiance is a story of friendship. Author Chris Lynch creates the relationships among four friends—Rudi, Ivan, Beck, and Morris. As junior high school students during the Vietnam War, which was projected into everyone's living room, the boys decide if one of them is drafted for service, they would all enlist. Near the end of high school, Rudi, the weakest among them, is called by the Marine Corps so the rest enlist—Ivan in the Army, Beck (deferring a physics scholarship) in the Air Force, and Morris in the Navy. They will not be together but they will all fighting the war together, with Morris looking out for all of them, following his self-imposed "Operation Overlord." The four do not meet again in this book but Lynch masterfully develops the friendships. His war scenes are frightening, but what is even more horrifying is what the war is doing to the men themselves. Gentle Rudi writes about bayoneting and then being goaded into decapitating his enemy. Ivan, enthusiastic about enlistment, loses his shouting voice. Beck takes pride in his mission to deforest the riverbanks with Agent Orange. And Morris learns that shooting his .50-caliber machine gun effectively diminishes his fears. With its necessary graphic depictions of war, this book will appeal to young men and those interested in contemplating the personal costs of engagement. Reviewer: Ann Reddy Damon
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Beck, Ivan, Morris, and Rudi have stuck by one another since the fourth grade: missing movies due to groundings, standing up to bullies, and staying unified even when they all like the same girl. A year older than his buddies, Rudi receives a draft notice first and his friends follow him to Vietnam. Morris joins the Navy; Beck, the Air Force; Ivan, the Army; and Rudi, the Marines. Stationed on the USS Boston, Morris has a much different view of the war than his friends. His outlook changes when he is reassigned to patrol the rivers of Vietnam. While he gradually drops contact with Ivan and Beck, he takes comfort in letters from Rudi, even as Rudi grows more comfortable with the violence that has become familiar to them both. Lynch delivers an action-packed examination of the bonds and trials of friendship. Rudi and Morris are the most developed characters; Beck's and Ivan's stories seem left for the focus of a sequel. There are guns, napalm, missiles, and rockets, though Lynch largely brushes over discussion of America's involvement in the war, an omission that will lead to questions from savvy readers. Teens may be willing to tackle this story, if only for the weapons.—Chris Shoemaker, New York Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
In his nightmares, high-school senior Morris sees "torn flesh and burned flesh and the end of everything we know, all dying there in the scorching jungle of Vietnam"; he and his friends die, and it's his fault. Ivan, Rudi, Beck and Morris have been friends since fourth grade. Now the war in Vietnam looms, and they pledge to not go voluntarily. But when Rudi receives his draft notice, they all sign up, each with a different branch of the military. Morris signs with the Navy, figuring he somehow can watch over his friends and keep them safe from the USS Boston, a heavy guided-missile cruiser. He later realizes he can't, but it's his "small crazy," a belief that keeps him sane in the midst of war. Initiating a new series with this volume, Lynch offers something valuable: a very good war novel for a preteen and middle-school audience, with enough violence to be an honest portrayal of war, but without the sex and rough language that often keep such novels out of the hands of a ready audience. The story stays rooted in Morris' first-person point of view, with flashbacks to develop characters, though Morris is the only one fully realized. Morris is an innocent caught in the winds of war, and young readers will eagerly anticipate future installments in the series. (Historical fiction. 9-14)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Vietnam Series , #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Chris Lynch is the author of numerous acclaimed books for middle-grade and teen readers, including the Cyberia series and the National Book Award finalist INEXCUSABLE. He teaches in the Lesley University creative writing MFA program, and divides his time between Massachusetts and Scotland.

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I Pledge Allegiance (Vietnam Series #1) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At first it was a little slow talking about a few best friends at school. But as they move on, Iavn and his friends all join different branches of the militaty... its a good book and i highly recomend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good story. Some unexpected things happen in the book. Keeps you guessing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really Like this book its really good and im only half way through. its a great book to do for a project. Im doing it for one and its not like its 300 pages long either its a good amount for a not so god reader
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book from the very first page to the last. Can not wait for the second one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book,cant wait for the next one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Morris is cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AWSOME!! This book is so great
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Think I wasred my money on this one Read about 25 pages then jumped a hundred. The author just couldn't get it off the ground. Yeah, I'm a Nam vet too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The second one ALREADYcame out the namis Sharpshoter
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The starting was good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a book just so you know
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When does the next one come out
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I saw a preview for this book and it semed good. I have not read the book though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like pie