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Blood Trails: The Combat Diary of a Foot…
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Blood Trails: The Combat Diary of a Foot Soldier in Vietnam

by Christopher Ronnau

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I ended up purchasing a copy of Blood Trails from Amazon.UK because I wanted to establish an account on that side of the world. But I couldn't wait for it to arrive, so I purchased a Kindle e-book version too and began reading it immediately. Like Chris, I also kept a diary when in Vietnam and referred to it when writing my own novel.

I truly loved Blood Trails and could relate to many of the anecdotes within the story. My outfit, the 25th Division, also patrolled around Tay Ninh and Cambodia and I can recall many of those things described in the book. Some reviewers have posted that Blood Trails was just another grunt story. It is, but there are also 3.5 million Vietnam war stories out there - some of us have chosen to write about them. Although many of the books are the same in the sense of writing about the suffering of patrolling and sleeping in the bug infested jungles, every one of them is unique and personal. I have read many Vietnam novels as well, but I always find them educational and I learn from them. I think it is important for readers who may have known teenagers that went to war in Vietnam, to read books like Blood Trails to better understand why these warriors were so different upon their return. War is hell and they lived there.

Of the 3.5 million troops that eventually served in Vietnam, only 10% of them were assigned to the Infantry. These were the ground pounders that actually humped through the jungles, avoided booby traps, stumbled into fortified enemy positions, and actually did the face to face fighting. This is not meant to belittle the other 90%, because without their support, the infantry soldiers would not have survived. It should also be noted that the firebases and base camps were sometimes more dangerous than in the jungle, especially when they were mortared, rocketed and assaulted by the enemy. So each story is unique and written from a different perspective.

When reading these different stories, I find myself drawn into it as if I am right there with them in the story. I can feel their fear, anticipation, awe, suspense and find myself relieved when the patrol finally returns to safety.

Blood Trails deserves five stars and will be placed in the top twenty of my all-time best books about the war. It is highly recommended and should be read by those interested in joining the service or wanting to know what life in the jungle was really like.

Great job Chris! Welcome Home Brother!

John Podlaski, author
Cherries - A Vietnam War Novel ( )
  JPodlaski | Nov 21, 2012 |
This is not a book about the causes and the ramifications of the Vietnam War. It is one soldiers experiences during his tour.and through his recovery at a US Army hospital stateside. Ronnau approaches this subject with a certain amount of dry humor. Several times I found myself laughing out loud. This book will not change attitudes of beliefs about the war, but it will give the view of one who spent time laying in the mud of a rice paddy. A good read. ( )
  LamSon | Sep 6, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0891418830, Mass Market Paperback)

BAPTISM BY FIRE

Chris Ronnau volunteered for the Army and was sent to Vietnam in January 1967, armed with an M-14 rifle and American Express traveler’s checks. But the latter soon proved particularly pointless as the private first class found himself in the thick of two pivotal, fiercely fought Big Red One operations, going head-to-head against crack Viet cong and NVA troops in the notorious Iron Triangle and along the treacherous Cambodian border near Tay Ninh.

Patrols, ambushes, plunging down VC tunnels, search and destroy missions–there were many ways to drive the enemy from his own backyard, as Ronnau quickly discovered. Based on the journal Ronnau kept in Vietnam, Blood Trails captures the hellish jungle war in all its stark life-and-death immediacy. This wrenching chronicle is also stirring testimony to the quiet courage of those unsung American heroes, many not yet twenty-one, who had a job to do and did it without complaint–fighting, sacrificing, and dying for their country.

Includes sixteen pages of rare and never-before-seen combat photos

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:42 -0400)

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