Semper Cool: One Marine's Fond Memories of Vietnam

Semper Cool: One Marine's Fond Memories of Vietnam

by Barry Fixler

Hardcover

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780982518403
Publisher: Exalt Press
Publication date: 12/01/2010
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 16 Years

About 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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Semper Cool 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
LJayD More than 1 year ago
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.
FJ1978 More than 1 year ago
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.
JJ227 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
TimBazzett on LibraryThing 8 months ago
SEMPER COOL is an engrossing and compelling piece of writing. I read it in just a couple of sittings. Fixler doesn't give us much about his life after Vietnam and the Corps, and I wondered about whether he went on to college and what he studied if he did. Not that college is neccesary to be a good writer, but ... Well, this is good stuff, both in style and content. When you read SEMPER COOL, you get a very authentic feel for what the Marine Corps was like for a kid just out of high school back in the 60s. And you also definitely feel the adrenaline rush and excitement of being under fire and experiencing combat in the jungles and mountains of Vietnam. Fixler tells of his boyhood admiration for the Corps and his early ambitions to join up. And that's as far ahead as he thought,since he admits he never really had any great feelings of patriotism or going to war. The war was already there, of course, and he soon found himself in the thick of things, staying alive by virtue of his boot camp training and his wits and reflexes. The patriotism part came later, along with his intense pride in having served. The subtitle of Fixler's book, ONE MARINE'S FOND MEMORIES OF VIETNAM, was puzzling at first, but its meaning comes clear as he tells of his military buddies and the lifelong importance of the friendships forged during those years of training and then being flung into the crucible of combat. He tells his story in short stark declarative sentences and peppers his narrative with the casual obscenity that is endemic to enlisted life, giving it a genuine authenticity that marks the best of military memoirs. Fixler emphasizes the uniqueness and the special 'apartness' that marks the Marine Corps experience, but I served in the army just a few years before his years of service, and I could easily relate. And there is a special sense of humor and spirit of fun depicted here too that gives SEMPER COOL its own flavor. And Fixler obviously never lost that 'cool,' even after surviving the siege of Khe Sanh. This is a war memoir, but the truth is there is a lot of very funny stuff here. The only thing that bothered me a bit about this book was Fixler's adamant refusal to accept this thing called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He seems to think it's just a form of self-pity or even cowardice. I mean, C'mon, Fix. Cut the poor guys some slack. Not all wounds are physical. And if anyone oughta know that war really is hell, it should be you.This is a great book though. If you start it, I guarantee it'll be hard to put down. It was for me. It belongs on the shelf with other great Vietnam memoirs, books like Philip Caputo's A RUMOR OF WAR, or THE KILLING ZONE, by Frederick Downs, or tucked in with some of the great novels of that war - MATTERHORN or THE BIG V and others. Thanks for writing your story, Barry, and also for your continuing campaign to help the wounded veterans of today's wars. I salute you, Marine.
MRShemery on LibraryThing 8 months ago
CoverAt 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.PlotI 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."CharactersWell, 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.OverallI 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.
ReviewsbyMolly on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I can't really write a long review of this memoir. No, it's simply not going to be possible. Why? Well, simply put, you need to read it for yourself. This is a unique book. Not your normal war memoir. When you think (or atleast when I think) of a war memoir, you are thinking that it will be about all the details and dramatic, gut wrenching events. Not this memoir. This is a memoir of a Viet Nam Marine Corp vet who remembers the fond times he had as a soldier of war. He remembers his happenings of the things that will make you laugh. And of the things that will make you cry. It's an interesting account from a new point of view. Oh sure, there are going to be some gut wrenching events in this story. But the way that Barry tells his accounts is stunning. He turns it into an entertaining read that anyone, not just military or memoir lovers. It's a 4 star book in my opinion. I wish more memoirs were like this one, as this one really held my attention with both the book itself and the author's accounts of Nam. Well done, Fixler and thank you for your service!
tututhefirst on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Barry Fixler was a fun-loving Long Island teenager when he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps because his father had admired the Marines so much while he was on duty with the Army during WWII. Today Fixler is a successful jeweler in Long Island who is the embodiment of the saying "Once a Marine, always a Marine." His irreverant almost flip style of writing about war actually brings home the horrors he and his fellow Marines endured. He survived 13 months of combat duty, including the famous 77 day siege of a hill in Khe Sahn, a battle which many consider one of the greatest battles ever fought by the Marines. He gives us the raw, unvarnished gory truth about young men at war. But he also gives us one of the most loving portraits of Marines I've ever read. Fixler is donating 100% of the profits from the sales of this book (just published last week) to help Marines who are combat casualties. The story of his life today, and his efforts on behalf of these wounded warriors is only a few short chapters at the end of the book, but they are as powerful as the earlier, easy to read, sometimes laugh out loud adventures of this young and inexperienced man who returned home in one piece, and who has never forgotten the lessons of comradeship and devotion to duty that were inculcated in him by the Corps.
ctkcec on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Excellent book about one Marine's experiences in Vietnam. Warning: Language is rough, though not uncommon among Marines.
LiteraryFeline on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Despite my being born after my father's service in Vietnam, the Vietnam War was still a part of my life. It was a part of who my dad was and, to a degree, shaped the way he viewed the world. Like Barry Fixler, my father enlisted in the Marine Corps straight out of high school. The two men went on to serve in Vietnam. From there, their experiences diverge, but I imagine there are some similarities. I read Fixler's memoir thinking of my dad and what his life might have been like during that time in his life. I have always been proud of my father's service, of his being a Marine, and after reading Semper Cool, I couldn't help but feel even more proud.The author has a great sense of humor, even about himself, which is one of the things I most liked about the book. His pride in his country and as a Marine is clear throughout the book. The book is written in a simple and rather plain manner, but that isn't necessarily bad. As a reader, I got a real feel for who Barry Fixler was and what he was going through. He didn't coat the truth with sugar or try to paint himself a hero--although he certainly is that in his own right.Semper Cool is not just about the author's experiences during the war, but also his story about how he became a Marine and how it shaped his life. He also writes about being a victim of an attempted burglary, and how he turned the tables on the thieves. The author's inspiration for writing the book, however, was to raise money for American Iraqi and Afghani war veterans with medical needs, as well as for their families--all his profits on the book go to the cause. All too often they fall through the cracks and receive little to no aid from the government and country they serve. Fixler's fundraiser at his jewelry store to help the family of one such soldier was a huge success, Americans coming from all over to donate money and volunteer their services. Stories like that always warm my heart. People do care.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't praise it highly enough. I have been purchasing it for others as holiday gifts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SSF55 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
bninut More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MRShemery More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LarryMcCartney More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You suck