If Not Now, When?: Duty and Sacrifice in America's Time of Need

If Not Now, When?: Duty and Sacrifice in America's Time of Need

by Colonel Jack Jacobs, Douglas Century


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A Medal of Honor recipient looks back at his own service in the Vietnam War—and ahead to America’s future.

Jack Jacobs was acting as an advisor to the South Vietnamese when he and his men came under devastating attack. Wounded, 1st Lt. Jacobs took command and withdrew the unit, returning again and again, saving fourteen lives—for which he received the Medal of Honor.

Here, Col. Jacobs tells his stirring story of heroism, honor, and the personal code by which he has lived his life, and expounds with blunt honesty and insight his views on our contemporary world, and the nature and necessity of sacrifice.

If Not Now, When? is a compelling account of a unique life at both war and peace, and the all-too-often unexamined role of the citizenry in the service and defense of the Republic.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425229842
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/06/2009
Pages: 312
Sales rank: 584,851
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Jack Jacobs retired from the Army as a full Colonel in 1987, after more than twenty years of service. Today, he is widely regarded as one of the world’s most knowledgeable—and outspoken—military analysts. His career has bridged the disparate worlds of the military, business and academia. Jacobs serves on a number of charitable boards of directors and is the Vice Chairman of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. He holds the McDermott Chair of Humanities and Public Affairs at the US Military Academy and appears about 500 times annually on television, commenting on defense issues, terrorism, and international affairs.

What People are Saying About This

Nelson DeMille

"As good a Vietnam War memoir as I've ever read. And if that's not good enough, Jack Jacobs makes some very brutal, honest, and disturbing observations about America then and America now, and most importantly, about where we are headed. Jack Jacobs won/earned the Congressional Medal of Honor forty years ago, and he's earned it every day since."--(Nelson DeMille, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of Wild Fire and Night Fall)

Barry M. McCaffrey

"This book is a classic. Jack Jacobs is the bravest-and funniest-soldier I met in thirty-two years of military service. He is also an intellectual with a writer's gift of description. Jack tells a life story of military service with a sense of humor that makes palatable the brutality of intense combat."--(General Barry M. McCaffrey, U.S. Army (Retired))

Bob Kerrey

"Jack Jacobs was probably the shortest officer in the U.S. Army. He was certainly among the bravest. It is about time he wrote this memoir, and it's about time you read it."--(Bob Kerrey, President of The New School University, Former U.S. Senator)

Tom Brokaw

"It's a privilege to call him friend and an honor to recommend this remarkable life story."

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If not Now, When?: Duty and Sacrifice in America's Time of Need 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Colonel Jacobs story is riveting. His vocabulary is rich and advanced. If you are interested in reading about a soldier who has impeccable standards and beats the odds several times you will enjoy the book. His humor and candor will keep you turning the pages. Colonel Jacobs is a real American Hero, take the time to read this book. You will be glad you did, I certainly am.
JCM29 More than 1 year ago
Jack Jacobs provides first hand information of his military life and provides great lessons that can be applied to todays events and War on Terrorism. His abilty to articulate his many life adventures are very interesting and humorous. His abilty to provide application to current events are thought provoking. His modesty is a breath of fresh air. He is a true patriot, American hero and leader. I would recommend this book to all, it has lessons and thoughts applicable to many professions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A delightful book. Powerful yet very funny. No book written by a true American hero has ever had so much humor mixed in with so many combat stories and powerful insights on leadership and the challenges of life. I do a lot of public speaking and recommend this book to all of my audiences. My suggestion, buy lots and give them away to family members, veterans and to kids looking for role models.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'If Not Now, When?' is probably the best book I have read all year. With his self-deprecating humor and inspiring record of combat service during two tours in Vietnam, Colonel Jacobs comes across as equal measures Audie Murphy and Groucho Marx. Then throw in a dose of Joseph Heller¿s irreverent take on the absurdities of life for men in uniform. Colonel Jacobs is a natural wit -- as anyone who¿s heard him over the years on the Don Imus radio show knows -- and takes some brutal but persuasive shots at current national security policy. Much more than a Vietnam War memoir, ¿IF Not Now, When?¿ will rank for years with the classic military stories. Most highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No matter how old you are, or how long you have been serving, this book should be considered top of the list for leadership reading. You see an ordinary man who did extraordinary things and had the courage to stand by his beliefs rather than drink the kool-aid. I already bought a copy for a new member of he USMC to help him on his leadership path.
Hiromatsuo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The autobiography of Colonel Jack Jacobs is at times both hilarious and somber. While it does tell of his time in Vietnam as an advisor (an aspect of the war that is often overlooked and nearly unheard of), as well as the action that lead to him receiving the Medal of Honor, Jacobs goes further into his life before and after the war. From being in ROTC at Rutgers, to going into the banking business after his retirement from the Army, Jacobs talks about the triumphs and challenges that he faced in life. Unlike the grittiness and gruesomeness of war memoirs like Steel My Soldiers' Hearts by Colonel Hackworth or the well known We Were Soldiers Once...and Young by Lt. Gen. Moore & Galloway, If Not Now, When? is written with a sort of sarcastic wit that at times left me in stitches. Jacobs likes to poke fun at the ironies of military service as well as life in general. Simple descriptions of how he learned to survive in Vietnam to how the doctors treated his wounds, to how he met is second wife are written with a great sense of humor. My only gripes are that Jacobs frequently throws in big words into the writing. This isn't a big issue, but I found numerous words where I didn't even have any idea of the meaning of them. Either Jacobs had a thesaurus handy, or his education at Rutgers is far superior to any English course I've ever taken. My final issue with the book is that I found the ending kind of abrupt and unmoving. In other war memoirs, they usually end with a sense that we need to honor the brave men who've fought and died in battle. I'm not saying that Jacobs doesn't mention their sacrifice (he does), but it seemed a bit tacked on. Perhaps it was because the overall tone of the book was meant to be humorous, that the feeling of somberness was a bit diluted.Overall, If Not Now, When? was a well-written and straightforward autobiography of Colonel Jacobs. I greatly enjoyed reading it as it was a welcome change of pace from all the other depressing war memoirs.
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