A rumor of war by Philip Caputo is a strong memoir of a war that history is trying to forget. The book follows a young soldier during a horrible war of attrition that no-one planned for.
War is brutish, inglorious, and a terrible waste.
The book feels fairly honest even though you do get a sense that the author is trying to smooth things over. Especially if you consider other horrific stories that circulate around the war in Vietnam. You get the sense that the story is written by someone who have spent a lot of years in a society that’s ashamed of it’s actions during a conflict. This hidden shame makes a lot of the book feel forced however it is apparent that the author is trying to describe events for future generations.
Even though the book is somewhat unstructured and sometimes feels a bit forced the character descriptions and the vivid landscapes makes for a fascinating read. It must also be said that the book does try to deal honestly with the atrocities dealt to the Vietnamese people by the American soldiers. It does this while still acknowledging that the individual soldiers can’t be blamed, the did what there country asked of them.
But the past is just the same and War’s a bloody game … Have you forgotten yet? … Look down and swear by the slain of the War that you’ll never forget.