In March of 1965, Lieutenant Philip J. Caputo landed at Danang with the first ground combat unit deployed to Vietnam. Sixteen months later, having served on the line in one of modern history’s ugliest wars, he returned home—physically whole but emotionally wasted, his youthful idealism forever gone.
A Rumor of War is far more than one soldier’s story. Upon its publication in 1977, it shattered America’s indifference to the fate of the men sent to fight in the jungles of Vietnam. In the years since then, it has become not only a basic text on the Vietnam War but also a renowned classic in the literature of wars throughout history and, as the author writes, of "the things men do in war and the things war does to them."
"Heartbreaking, terrifying, and enraging. It belongs to the literature of men at war." —Los Angeles Times Book Review
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Standing on a wind-scoured island off the Alaskan coast, Philip Caputo marveled that its Inupiat Eskimo schoolchildren pledge allegiance to the same flag as the children of Cuban immigrants in Key West, six thousand miles away. And a question began to take shape: How does the United States, peopled by every race on earth, remain united? Caputo resolved that one day he'd drive from the nation's southernmost point to the northernmost point reachable by road, talking to everyday Americans about their lives and asking how they would answer his question.
So it was that in 2011, in an America more divided than in living memory, Caputo, his wife, and their two English setters made their way in a truck and classic trailer (hereafter known as "Fred" and "Ethel") from Key West, Florida, to Deadhorse, Alaska, covering 16,000 miles. He spoke to everyone from a West Virginia couple saving souls to a Native American shaman and taco entrepreneur. What he found is a story that will entertain and inspire readers as much as it informs them about the state of today's United States, the glue that holds us all together, and the conflicts that could cause us to pull apart.
Included within 10,000 Days of Thunder are personal anecdotes from soldiers and civilians, as well as profiles and accounts of the actions of many historical luminaries, both American and Vietnamese, involved in the Vietnam War, such as Richard M. Nixon, General William C. Westmoreland, Ho Chi Minh, Joe Galloway, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Lyndon B. Johnson, and General Vo Nguyen Giap. Caputo also explores the rise of Communism in Vietnam, the roles that women played on the battlefield, the antiwar movement at home, the participation of Vietnamese villagers in the war, as well as the far-reaching impact of the war's aftermath.
Caputo's dynamic narrative is highlighted by stunning photographs and key campaign and battlefield maps, making 10,000 Days of Thunder THE consummate book on the Vietnam War for kids.