Fearful Odds: A Memoir of Vietnam and Its Aftermath

Fearful Odds: A Memoir of Vietnam and Its Aftermath

by Charles W. Newhall


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Fearful Odds: A Memoir of Vietnam and Its Aftermath by Charles W. Newhall

Fearful Odds is a no holds barred narrative told in three parts. It is the true story of a young Army officer, groomed for command and assigned to lead a platoon on a reconnaissance mission in the A Shau Valley, Vietnam in 1968. An otherwise routine mission is complicated by the contradiction of an inept chain of command. The resulting casualties devastate the platoon and the graphic images and memories of the action and the grueling months that follow, lead Chuck Newhall to a lifetime of severe trauma, guilt, grief and anger.

Returning home, Newhall embarks on an extraordinary entrepreneurial career bringing great wealth, prestige and security, despite severe episodes of depression and anxiety which would hobble others from achieving such levels of success. And yet a few years later, and seemingly without warning, the family that he had worked so hard to create and support is suddenly ripped apart by tragedy intensifying an emotional upheaval that revisits the pain and anguish he first felt during his time in Vietnam.

After decades of experience in managing the long-term effects of trauma and with the support of his family, Chuck Newhall has successfully come to terms with his past and the effects of PTSD. Fearful Odds offers hope, inspiration and valuable coping tools for anyone, or their families, who has been affected by post-traumatic stress, depression, mild traumatic brain disorder or the suicide of a loved one.

Fearful Odds is a story of perseverance in the face of insurmountable odds and will offer a guiding hand to others who are facing challenges on the battlefield, boardroom or back at home.

"Chuck Newhall's compelling narrative account of combat action in Vietnam takes you to one of the darkest hellholes on earth -- the A Shau Valley in 1968. Just when you thought that the war was over, Fearful Odds packs a punch in the gut you will be feeling for a long time." Joseph L. Galloway, author of We Were Soldiers Once...and Young

"If you care about America's warriors, and about how we as a society can help them come home after war, then you should read this book." Nathaniel Fick, author of One Bullet Away

"The illuminating depictions of sessions with your phychiatrist Dr. Kaiser can be regarded as almost a manual for understanding PTSD and learning how to overcome it. However, unlike the majority of books on the subject, you explain how PTSD can be addressed via depictions of how your own efforts have succeeded to varying extents. Readers will learn far more from your book, which is "real life," than from others." Solomon H. Snyder, M.D. Distinguished Service Professor of Neuroscience, Pharmacology and Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University

“Everyone knows someone who came back from Vietnam and never talks about it. In his brave and unflinching memoir, Chuck Newhall talks about it like no one else ever has. We see combat and its consequences, exploding years later like emotional time bombs when people are safely at home. This is a unique book, written in the ground-level tradition of Paul Casey and Timothy O'Brien but all its own about the war that never ends in real lives. This is the best book I have read about Vietnam as it was lived and as it still plays out in the lives of real people.” Landon Y. (Lanny) Jones, former managing editor People and Money magazines and the author of William Clark and the Shaping of the West

"Grabs you with the opening words and never lets go. Powerful and compelling." Steve Huntley, former Editor and Columnist Chicago Sun Times

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633931107
Publisher: Bibliotheca Brightside, LLC
Publication date: 08/31/2015
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Chuck Newhall is a decorated combat veteran of Vietnam, serving with the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division in the A Shau Valley where he earned the Silver Star and two Bronze Stars with V(1st OLC.) He is a co-founder of New Enterprise Associates (NEA), playing a major role in formulating NEA's investment strategy which was instrumental in financing the dramatic changes in both the health care services and pharmaceutical/biotechnology industries. He is Chairman Emeritus of the Mid-Atlantic Venture Capital Association (MAVA) and served on the board of numerous charitable and community institutions including the Greater Baltimore Committee and Baltimore Museum of Art. He received an MBA from Harvard Business School, and an honors degree in English from the University of Pennsylvania. Fearful Odds is his first book.

Table of Contents

Preface . . 11
1. The Crucible 13
2. Evangeline Abbott Newhall 17
3. Shattuck 21
4. The A Team 32
5. Active Duty 39
6. Vietnam at Last 44
7. In the Valley of the Shadow of Death 49
8. After the Guns 58
9. Reconnaissance of Hamburger Hill 61
10. Top . . 76
11. My Captain 85
12. Back to the Field 89
13. The Way of the Sword 102
14. Scrounger 108
15. Christmas, 1968 113
16. Curly and the Reporter 121
17. Medal of Honor 127
18. Smitty and Ted Kennedy 129
19. The Bach Ma and Drugs 132
20. Two Days and a Wake-Up 138
Picture Gallery 147
21. The Paths of Glory 166
22. Boston Brahmins 171
23. T. Rowe Price 177
24. NEA . . 185
25. The Ides of March 194
26. Guilt, Grief and Anger 205
27. Marsi's Diary 211
28. Dr. Kaiser 220
29. Another War 227
Afterword 239
Postscript 245
Letter from Dr. Solomon H. Snyder 246
Charles W. "Chuck" Newhall, III 248
Acknowledgments 250

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Fearful Odds: A Memoir of Vietnam and Its Aftermath 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Boswell90 More than 1 year ago
Since the end of the war in Vietnam, readers have been fortunate to have available to them a number of excellent fiction and non-fiction works that illuminate an infantry man’s experience in that ambiguous conflict. Many of these books have been written by participants. The bar has been set high for Vietnam writing by Phil Caputo’s A Rumor of War, Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, and Harold Moore, Joseph Galloway’s work We Were Soldiers Once and Young. Charles Newhall’s Fearful Odds is a commanding entry within that trio of Vietnam narratives in its description of one soldier’s experience as a combat infantryman on the front line. Newhall’s account of life as a fledgling lieutenant leading his unit in the A Shau Valley is taut, raw, and compelling as a first-hand account of combat in Vietnam. Newhall brings all of the senses into play for his portrait of war. The stomach-turning sights, the distinctive sound of mortars and exploding Claymore mines, the sickening stench of life just extinguished and bygone death, and the sour taste of the earth as a soldier grovels on the ground to avoid flying shrapnel -- all contribute to an unnerving portrait of combat. And Newhall also elevates us above the vivid scenes of the conflict as he relates his experience in Vietnam to those warriors of the past who have shared his battlefield ordeal. Drawing on the writings from Thucydides in ancient times to our nation’s soldiers who fought in the Civil War, World War I, and World War II, Newhall adroitly applies his Ivy League liberal arts education to explore the universality of man in combat. The quotations from Robert Service, Sir Walter Scott, and Stephen Crane are as relevant to the A Shau Valley as they were to their own places and eras. As with many generations’ warriors throughout history, Newhall returns from Vietnam to assure his doting grandmother that: “I have returned from war with my honor intact.” Newhall is an accomplished writer who has written a moving and literate account of his service in Vietnam and its lingering hold on his life. Soldiers haunted by their service in past wars remain a subject of considerable concern for their friends and families, and health care professionals treating those veterans with PTSD. Charles Newhall gives readers a stark, personal account of courage and emotional turmoil that will resonate with veterans and non-veterans alike.