West Dickens Avenue: A Marine at Khe Sanh

West Dickens Avenue: A Marine at Khe Sanh

4.7 13
by John Corbett
     
 

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In January 1968, John Corbett and his fellow leathernecks of the 26th Marine Regiment fortified a remote outpost at a place in South Vietnam called Khe Sanh. Within days of their arrival, twenty thousand North Vietnamese soldiers surrounded the base. What followed over the next seventy-seven days became one of the deadliest fights of the Vietnam War—and one of…  See more details below

Overview

In January 1968, John Corbett and his fellow leathernecks of the 26th Marine Regiment fortified a remote outpost at a place in South Vietnam called Khe Sanh. Within days of their arrival, twenty thousand North Vietnamese soldiers surrounded the base. What followed over the next seventy-seven days became one of the deadliest fights of the Vietnam War—and one of the greatest battles in military history.

Private First Class Corbett made do with little or no sleep for days on end. The enemy bombarded the base incessantly. Extremes of heat, cold, and fog added to the misery, as did all manner of wounds and injuries too minor to justify evacuation from frontline positions. The emotional toll was tremendous as the Marines saw their friends suffer and die every day of the siege. Corbett relates these experiences through the eyes of a twenty-year-old but with the mind and maturity of a man now in his fifties. His story of life, death, and growing up on the front lines at Khe Sanh speaks for all of the Marines caught up in the epic siege of the Vietnam War.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“REMARKABLE . . . This story, made even more poignant by today’s headlines, can stand shoulder to shoulder with the handful of classic accounts of Marines under fire.”
—Flint Journal

“In this short, readable account, Corbett describes his days at Khe Sanh in almost dispassionate prose and in great detail. . . . effectively convey[ing] the siege from a Marine grunt’s point of view.”
—Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly
Few Americans had it rougher in the Vietnam War than the 6,000 or so Marines who were caught at Khe Sanh during the infamous January-April 1968 siege by the North Vietnamese Army. Corbett was one of them. He had seriously considered fleeing from his hometown of Nyack, N.Y., to Canada to avoid serving in the Vietnam War. He abruptly changed his mind, though, and on a dare enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in the summer of 1967. By early January of 1968, Corbett found himself at Khe Sanh in a mortar platoon with the 26th Marine Regiment. Within days of his arrival at the remote outpost near the borders of Laos and North Vietnam, Corbett and his fellow Marines (along with a unit of South Vietnamese Army Rangers) were surrounded by elements of three divisions of North Vietnamese Army troops. The NVA soon launched three months of almost nonstop combat assaults and countless artillery, mortar and rocket bombardments, at one point succeeding in blowing up the Marines' huge ammunition supply depot. There also were intermittent sniper attacks. Corbett narrowly escaped death twice. Once, a sniper's bullet whistled through his hair; another time he was blown into a bunker by an artillery blast, but was miraculously untouched by the rain of shrapnel. In this short, readable account, Corbett describes his days at Khe Sanh in almost dispassionate prose and in great detail. His brief, staccato sentences effectively convey the siege from a Marine grunt's point of view. Corbett skips lightly over his last nine months in Vietnam, during which he saw plenty more combat action. His brief description of his less-than-overwhelming homecoming reception rings true. The book's odd title comes from a discarded American street sign Corbett found while digging his personal foxhole at Khe Sanh. (Feb.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780891418351
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/03/2004
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
4.19(w) x 6.84(h) x 0.61(d)

Meet the Author

John Corbett returned home to Nyack, New York, following his service in Vietnam. He now lives in Key Largo, Florida. West Dickens Avenue is his first book.

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West Dickens Avenue: A Marine at Khe Sanh 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gives nice look into what it must have been like under constant threat of death
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author gave us the facts of a dreadful battle that lacked his emotions of what he saw and did. If was as though he used a "deadpan" voice to tell us a story. For example , "I looked and saw a soldier shot and kill". Omitting the emotional impact that the incindent caused him. I do not know if the wall he built around himself to protect him during the war has ever been knocked down. Thank you for what you gave up to perform the duties you were ordered to do. Your sacrifice was large.
BarryS55 More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a well-written book abount a very significant battle in the war. I was in Nam but not at Khe Sanh but the story rang true to me. BarryS55
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is gret it really tells how it was at Khe Sahn. Definetly for anyone who wants to know it from a marines point of view. not enough diolouge though.
Guest More than 1 year ago
John Corbett tells it like it was at Khe Sanh.His memory for his history is fantastic.Reading this book,you can almost put yourself in John's place at W. Dickens Ave.,Khe Sanh.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is really good! Its hard to put down and it really tells the marine's story at Khe Sanh well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having served in the Marines, a few years before the Vietnam build-up, I thankfully, did not visit Nam. This account exemplifies the Marine experience without grandstanding. Corbett's admission of fear, his steadfast adherence to Marine training and philosophy, and his honor under extreme conditions deserves our tribute. I honestly wish every American could read and experience the thoughts and recollections this Marine has shared in a concise account, some 35 years after living it. SEMPER FI.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well written account of such an intense experience. Mr. Corbett is able to boil down intense moments in history into precise thoughts and comments. Walking on the edge of past and present tense puts the reader in the nightmare, the dreamstate, that was Khe Sanh. I ran when he ran...NVA mortars raining in on the Marines...I have read of the battle in the past, but not until reading Corbett do I feel I have a vivid, personal description of the base, the surrounding terrain, and the state and conduct of the US Marines that defended the dusty red hills of Khe Sanh. Corbett is a gentle man by nature, observant and self-critical...served admirably...another outstanding example of the thousands of anonymous US Marines that are heroes of the Vietnam War. Semper Fi, Mr. Corbett
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jack is a wonerfulman who has found a way to share his story. A story that changed his life as well as the rest of his families. I feel that everyone should include this book in their own personal collection. It has heart and comes from the very soul of a man I know as a caring Uncle.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I know the author so I got to read it in draft form. I lost a lot of sleep because I could not put it down and go to bed. The story is intense, amazing, sometimes sad and even has room for some macabre humor during a rice paddy scene near the end of the book. I have read much about Vietnam including many very good novels, but Jack's book is the only one that "puts you there". It really puts you in the action so when you do break away from the narative you are left with an eerie sense of seperation, like you might miss something, and it draws you back to the pages at the earliest opportunity.