Semper Cool: One Marine's Fond Memories of Vietnam

( 18 )

Overview

The wrenching, sometimes hilarious and always thought-provoking memoir of a mischievous teenager who enlists in the U.S. Marine Corps seeking adventure and his father's approval and finds both, plus more danger than he ever could have imagined. Barry Fixler gets molded into a Marine at Parris Island and sent to Vietnam, where he is assigned to a company that would soon etch its place in Marine Corps lore at the legendary Siege of Khe Sanh. With its vivid imagery, Semper Cool thrusts readers into a "grunt's-eye ...

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Overview

The wrenching, sometimes hilarious and always thought-provoking memoir of a mischievous teenager who enlists in the U.S. Marine Corps seeking adventure and his father's approval and finds both, plus more danger than he ever could have imagined. Barry Fixler gets molded into a Marine at Parris Island and sent to Vietnam, where he is assigned to a company that would soon etch its place in Marine Corps lore at the legendary Siege of Khe Sanh. With its vivid imagery, Semper Cool thrusts readers into a "grunt's-eye view" of the blood, guts, tears and laughter of war, as told by a Marine who returned home a proud, patriotic man. Be prepared to laugh and cry and ultimately thank God for the men and women willing to sacrifice their lives for the freedoms that so many Americans enjoy.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Many Vietnam veterans look back in anger on their wartime experiences, but Fixler, who endured one of the bloodiest battles of the war, isn't one of them. The gruesome 77 days he spent defending an isolated hilltop near the border with North Vietnam forms the core of this nostalgic memoir. Growing up in a predominately middle-class Jewish neighborhood, Fixler was dazzled by his father's stories of WWII and volunteered for Vietnam to earn his respect. As a teen, Fixler got into his fair share of trouble and that cockiness seeps into these pages. Arrival at the Marine Corps' Parris Island boot camp is compared to "being thrown into a Nazi concentration camp." He celebrates his sexual escapades and never sugarcoats the nasty business of war; he'd do "everything again in heartbeat." Yet as wistful as he is about the "discipline" and "camaraderie" of the Corps, he's unrelenting in his scorn for the soldiers who return in psychological pieces, suggesting that soldiers should just get used to killing. Nowhere near the league of We Were Soldiers Once...and Young, Fixler is nonetheless an intriguing, rare bird: a man who survived "hell in the raw" without a trace of trauma—or remorse. (Dec.)
Pete Croato
Most books about Vietnam (e.g., The Things They Carried, Born on the Fourth of July) would not be described as optimistic. Despite its upbeat title, Barry Fixler’s Semper Cool isn’t all that optimistic, either. It’s an unabashedly honest memoir without a trace of touchy-feely sentiment...
Midwest Book Review
Author Barry Fixler enlisted in the United States Marine Corps as a teenager; he experienced terrible violence and hand-to-hand combat at the Siege of Khe Sanh, and gives the reader a boots-on-the-ground view of war. Yet he had positive as well as negative experiences, and ultimately the hardships he endured shaped him into a patriotic American. His story is captivating, inspirational, and unflinching in its chronicle of the good, the bad, and the ugly of war...
Bob Doerr
SEMPER COOL is an outstanding account of the author’s experiences as a Marine in Viet Nam in 1967–1968, and how those experiences have affected his post-war life. Fixler takes a refreshingly positive and matter-of-fact approach in telling his story. He doesn’t gloss over the evils and terror of the war, but addresses them in a way that makes the events real to the reader, yet easy to read...
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780982518403
  • Publisher: Exalt Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2010
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 401,288
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Barry Fixler, a USMC combat veteran who fought in the legendary Siege of Khe Sanh, is donating one hundred percent of his royalties to combat veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Please visit sempercool.com for more info and editorial reviews.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 18 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 28, 2011

    Semper Cool the real deal

    Being a Viet Nam vet, who served during the same period that the author did,I found this book the closest thing written that describes what it was like. Although I was a Army draftee not a Marine I could relate to growing up in the 60's and spending time in the military. Fixler's descriptions are not exaggerated and he doesn't hold back his personal life. He doesn't claim to be a hero, but he certainly explains who the hero's are. We all had our funny moments but the facts of war are you never know when or where absolute madness is going to take place. You did your job, no matter what it was, the best that you could because you depended on others and they depended on you. No man is an island in a combat zone. Fixler drives that point across. To this day,some 40 years later, he still follows that creed. This book was one of the most heartfelt books that I have ever read about war.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 11, 2011

    Excellent read - funny, sad & real

    Couldn't put it down. The author writes with honesty and humor and tremendous respect for his fellow soldiers. Some laugh-out-loud stories that are unforgettable, and some heartbreaking ones as well. Bonus is that the author is donating all royalties to wounded veterans.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 16, 2010

    One marine's intimate journey to Vietnam written with honesty, wit and humility. Quick read!

    Barry takes us on his life journey starting as Long Island teen, growing into a US Marine. We get to see Vietnam through his eyes, the eyes of a survivor of Khe Sanh. I want to thank him for reminding us of the sacrifice and cost of the freedom we enjoy.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2012

    Outstanding book!

    As a combat Marine that was in Vietnam at about the same time as the author, I can say that this book is a "must read."
    It nails the Marine Corps Vietnam experience perfectly.
    Also, 100% of the books profit goes to help wounded vets.
    God bless Barry Fixler and God bless the Marine Corps!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2013

    highlly recommend

    Being a VN vet, I read many books about this war. This one was one of those stories I couldn't set aside and read later. I read it non-stop and never experienced a single moment of boredom.

    What this author did during his stint and after returning to civilian life is truly commending.

    Read this action filled, true life story of the way it was in the VN jungles.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2013

    You suck

    You suck

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2012

    Excellent!

    This book was well written showing all kinds of emotions. It has sad and difficult times, but also has humorous moments, You will not be disappointed.

    Pac

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  • Posted April 25, 2011

    Highly recommended - must read

    I was hesitant to read a book about war but as soon as I started this book I was so drawn in by the way the author told his story that I could not put it down. I was like listening to a friend. The story of him and his family and the people they met along the way and how they impacted their lives made me laugh and cry and really angry.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2011

    GOOD READING!

    I enjoyed this book very much, and I am glad I purchased it. Real grit and grime at certain points, but also laughter and smiles. So much truth told on how much the governments lack of assistance to veterans, it was true then and it is true now.

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  • Posted April 10, 2011

    Must Read

    This book was riveting from the first word.

    The short chapters make it easy to pick up on a free moment and not feel like you can't finish.

    The stories, the pictures, and all the descriptions from his home life, to what prompted him to become a marine, to the life threatening act on American soil that he lived to tell about.

    The way in which he lives his life and fights to give back every single day should be emulated from us all.

    Barry is a great Humanitarian. I am proud just to know him.

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  • Posted March 5, 2011

    Fantastic Memoir!

    Cover-At first glance, a person may only see three guys laughing at the camera. Looking closer, and after reading the title, you realize these guys are Marines ... and one of them is holding a human skull. I enjoyed seeing smiling faces on the cover of a book about the military. Most of the time the people pictured are so solemn (and with good reason).-What most intrigued me about this cover was the knowledge about the photo the reader gained. In the book, Barry (the author and middle guy in the cover photo ... yes, the one holding the skull) lets you know that the guy on the left died shortly after the photo was taken and the guy on the right lost both of his legs ... proving what Barry was told when he arrived in Vietnam: that he had a 1 in 3 chance of leaving Nam in tact, which meant without dying or losing any body parts. Now, look at the cover again and tell me its not poignant or awe-inspiring.-Plot-I love the way this Marine's story was told. Normally, I don't believe a book summary that declares you should "Be prepared to laugh and cry and ultimately thank God for the men and women willing to sacrifice their lives for the freedoms that so many Americans enjoy." But, you know what? I did just that. I laughed. I cried. And, in the end, I did thank God for the men and women who serve in our military and for allowing me to have been born in America with all of our freedoms. It was, truly, a humbling reminder that "freedom isn't free."?-Characters-Well, I cannot name them all by name because the fact of the matter is that the "characters" in this book are the U.S. Marines. I hold high regard for all branches of the military and those that serve under their banners. My regard began with my grandfather, who was an Army man and fought in Korea. All military personnel, past and present, are highly honorable and should always be treated with the utmost respect.-Overall-I think you may have already gathered that I love this book. It has become one of my faves and one that I will recommend to many people. You are missing out if you do not purchase and read this book.

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  • Posted February 13, 2011

    Highly Reccomend - Well Worth Reading

    Semper Cool: One Marine's Fond Memories of Vietnam was written from the perspective of the young Infantryman-we proudly call ourselves Grunt-and what goes through the mind of a Grunt, before, during and after combat. Barry Fixler, from Long Island, New, York, the son of an immigrant who proudly served his new country in the U. S. Army during World War II, enlisted in the Marine Corps @ the height of the Vietnam War. He enlisted not because he had to but because he wanted to. He served honorably and well, at one (1) point, though just nineteen (19) years old and a combat hardened veteran of the Battle of Khe Sanh during the 1968 Tet Offensive, he was my squad leader, responsible for the lives of up to thirteen (13) men as we accomplished whatever mission we were assigned. Barry describes what it felt like to be in mortal battle with someone intent on killing him, being on patrol in the "Indian Country" just south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and the long periods of boredom as the enemy avoided contact with us. Barry also talks of how his experiences helped him make himself a success in life. After his Marine Corps service, Barry became a jeweler like his father, eventually opening his own store. Then on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2005, Barry merged his combat experience with his lifetime of business experience when two (2) criminals tried to rob his store at gunpoint. The end result should be no surprise to anyone who knows Marines as Barry again proved; "Once a Marine, always a Marine." Reading Semper Cool: One Marine's Fond Memories of Vietnam should give you an insight into what makes men who have been in combat "tick" after they return home. It's amusing and at the same time thought provoking as it documents the life of the fresh faced teenager turned battle-hardened veteran.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2011

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    Posted December 25, 2011

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    Posted January 14, 2012

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    Posted June 23, 2012

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    Posted April 1, 2011

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    Posted October 19, 2013

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