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The 13th Valley cover art

The 13th Valley

By: John M. Del Vecchio
Narrated by: Sean Runnette
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Summary

Finalist for the National Book Award: a work that has served as a literary cornerstone for the Vietnam generation.

The 13th Valley follows the terrifying Vietnam combat experiences of James Chelini, a telephone-systems installer who finds himself an infantryman in territory controlled by the North Vietnamese army. Spiraling deeper and deeper into a world of conflict and darkness, this harrowing account of Chelini's plunge and immersion into jungle warfare traces his evolution from a semipacifist to an all-out combat-crazed soldier. The seminal novel on the Vietnam experience, The 13th Valley is a classic that illuminates the war in Southeast Asia like no other book. It is the first title in Del Vecchio's Vietnam War Trilogy, which also includes For the Sake of All Living Things, about the Cambodian holocaust, and Carry Me Home, which addresses the aftermath of war.

©2012 John M . Del Veccio (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

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Gets better every listen

I first read this book in 1983 and have read it at least once every decade since. Every read or listen changes my perception of the American soldier's behaviour during the Vietnam War. It is I think the nearest I will ever come to knowing the mind of those men fighting a war many did not understand or believe in. It is worth reading because it was written by one who served in that war and who tried as much as he could to enlighten a public that often denigrated their servicemen at the time. Recommended to all who wish to understand that place and time.

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Fantastic start to finish

Excellent book about the Vietnam war from start to finish enjoyed it immensely highly recommend it

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Incredible

Very well written.

It captures many of the small nuances in war which helps create the overall experience.

As their time in the jungle continues, you too feel the fatigue and discomfort of Alpha.
You get carried away with the long, deep and meaningful conversations that soldiers have
With time on their hands out on long operations
It all culminates in one of the most difficult endings to listen through.

Gets me every time.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Favourite since 84

I first read the book when I was 13\14 around 1984\85. I've read a LOT of Vietnam novels since from Fields of Fire to Matterhorn and none have beat 13th Valley. In fact better than all the classic Vietnam movies aswell.

Pleased to say audible version is very good. Though get book aswell audible!

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Very memorable book that stands multiple reads

Before I read Matterhorn, I didn't think a novel on the subject could compete with a memoir, like say Chickenhawk for example. After Matterhorn I wasn't sure this could compete, but it didn't disappoint. There's a reason why this is considered one of the great pieces of literature to come out of that war.

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Not a story

This abandons any attempt to drive the narrative through action or character development and opts instead to drift into dry symposiums that impart theory and facts. It really is non-fiction, and, at moments, lacks any energy or hope of engagement on that level too. Unlike The Thin Red Line it eventually loses its ability to impart a sense of what it is to be a man thrown into war, and becomes something to be endured.

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  • JP
  • 06-05-19

Never engaged me

There’s good reviews for this book but for me I found it lacking. Too many verbal exchanges about pointless topics and a narrator that really grates on you after a while.
I gave it 6 chapters in the hope it would pick up but it didn’t.

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Boring

I've given this book several hours, constantly hoping it would get going, but it just didn't. If you like the idea of a sitcom where friends just sit around shooting the breeze, that happens to be situated in Vietnam, then you might well like this, but if you get this thinking it's a story about the Vietnam war, with combat and all, you'll be bitterly disappointed as I was.
this is the first book I'd refund if I could

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