A Rumor of War

Philip Caputo

Holt Paperbacks

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The classic Vietnam memoir, as relevant today as it was almost thirty years ago.

In March of 1965, Marine Lieutenent Philip J. Caputo landed at Da Nang 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 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 Caputo explains, of “the things men do in war and the things war does to men.”

“A singular and marvelous work.” —The New York Times



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Book Excerpts

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One
Let the boy try along this bayonet-blade
How cold steel is, and keen with hunger of blood. . . .
—Wilfred Owen
“Arms and the Boy”
At the age of twenty-four, I was more prepared for death than I was for life. My first experience of the world outside the classroom had been war. I went straight from school into the Marine Corps, from Shakespeare to the Manual of Small-Unit Tactics, from the campus to the drill field and finally Vietnam. I learned the murderous trade at Quantico, Virginia, practiced it in the rice paddies and jungles around Danang, and then taught

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Reviews

Praise for A Rumor of War

“To call it the best book about Vietnam is to trivialize it . . . A Rumor of War is a dangerous and even subversive book, the first to insist—and the insistence is all the more powerful because it is implicit—that the reader ask himself these questions: How would I have acted? To what lengths would I have gone to survive? The sense of self is assaulted, overcome, subverted, leaving the reader to contemplate the deadening possibility that his own moral safety net might have a hole in it. It is a terrifying thought, and A Rumor of War is a terrifying book.”—John Gregory Dunne, Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Caputo’s troubled, searching meditations on the love and hate of war, on fear, and the ambivalent discord warfare can create in the hearts of decent men, are among the most eloquent I have read in modern literature.”—William Styron, The New York Review of Books

“Every war seems to find its own voice: Caputo . . . is an eloquent spokesman for all we lost in Vietnam.”—C. D. B. Bryan, Saturday Review

“A book that must be read and reread—if for no other reason than as an eloquent statement against war. It is a superb book.”—Terry Anderson, Denver Post

“This is news that goes beyond what the journalists brought us, news from the heart of darkness. It was long overdue.”—Newsweek

“Not since Siegfried Sassoon's classic of World War I, Memoirs of an Infantry Officer, has there been a war memoir so obviously true, and so disturbingly honest.”—William Broyles, Texas Monthly

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About the Author

Philip Caputo

Philip Caputo worked nine years for the Chicago Tribune and shared a Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for his reporting on election fraud in Chicago. The author of seven works of fiction and a second volume of memoir, he divides his time between Connecticut and Arizona.

Philip Caputo

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Available Formats and Book Details

A Rumor of War
Philip Caputo

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Henry Holt and Co.
Holt Paperbacks
November 1996
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780805046953
ISBN10: 080504695X
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 384 pages
$18.00

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Henry Holt and Co.
Holt Paperbacks
May 2014
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429959667
ISBN10: 1429959665
384 pages
$9.99
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