Fields of Fire
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They each had their reasons for being a soldier.
They each had their illusions. Goodrich came from Harvard. Snake got the tattoo — Death Before Dishonor — before he got the uniform. And Hodges was haunted by the ghosts of family heroes.
They were three young men from different worlds plunged into a white-hot, murderous realm of jungle warfare as it was fought by one Marine platoon in the An Hoa Basin, 1969. They had no way of knowing what awaited them. Nothing could have prepared them for the madness to come. And in the heat and horror of battle they took on new identities, took on each other, and were each reborn in fields of fire....
Fields of Fire is James Webb’s classic, searing novel of the Vietnam War, a novel of poetic power, razor-sharp observation, and agonizing human truths seen through the prism of nonstop combat. Weaving together a cast of vivid characters, Fields of Fire captures the journey of unformed men through a man-made hell — until each man finds his fate.
patterns in the night. The artillery battery on the Bridge compound reacted. It turned its guns north and lobbed dozens of projectiles across the river, seeking to silence the attack. New bright flashes, hazes of dust, grouped around the northern compound. Then a moment of anticipatory lull. Goodrich knew what was going to happen. He wished he could tell them in the Bridge compound. He wished he could dig a hole in the dirt and come back out in California. Watch out, he groaned inwardly, too
climbed up the stream-bank and began to walk to Tan Phouc. He carried his rifle for a few steps along the bank. Then he stopped, holding it in front of him, studying it. If I surrender with my rifle they will believe my story more easily, he thought. But if they see me walking toward them with a weapon they might kill me. They are like that. They have much ammunition and they shoot very quickly. He threw his rifle into the stream. They would believe his story. He was good with stories. It was
then left. We just moved in circles, mostly.” “Sounds crazy.” “Well, it was. It was crazy as hell.” “Do you think we're winning?” Gilliland thought about it for a moment. He lit a cigarette and took a drag and thought about it some more. He was somewhat shocked, not by the question, but by the fact that he'd never considered it in his entire second tour. They had never talked about it in the bush. It had nothing to do with being in the bush and fighting gooks. They had talked about good
almost, while we're out here fighting the War—” “How many gooks you been killing in the mail room, Cakes?” Ogre sat in the grass, still laughing, now shaking his head as if Baby Cakes’ story was outlandish. “I told you to shut up!” Baby Cakes turned back to Snake again. “He comes into the company office, starts telling me about all the whorehouses in Da Nang, like he knew every one of 'em personally, and I think he did. Seems he had a little trouble finding An Hoa after his vacation in Japan—”
joints.” Ogre shrugged, grinning slyly. “He needed to relax.” “Yeah. Uh huh. And you're lucky he wasn't smart enough to let you relax in the goddamn brig!” Ogre waved him off. “Ah. Lieutenants don't know about shit like that. And the ones who do don't care.” “Could have been a CID. The way you are, you prob'ly got CIDs watching every move you make. They could clean up Da Nang, just closing down every place you stop at on an average day, Ogre.” Baby Cakes had concluded his diatribe. The crowd