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Analysis Of Philip Caputo's A Rumor Of War

1955 words - 8 pages

Analysis of Philip Caputo's A Rumor of War

A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo, is an exceptional autobiography on a man's first-hand experiences during the Vietnam War. Philip Caputo is a Lieutenant during the Vietnam War and illustrates the harsh reality of what war really is. Caputo's in-depth details of his experience during the war are enough to make one cringe, and the eventual mental despair often experienced by soldiers (including Caputo) really makes you feel for participants taking part in this dreadful war atmosphere. Giving way to the parties and the common fun associated with college kids, Caputo failed out of college and realized what he really wanted to be was a Marine. He joined the Marines and went through a lot of officer training until he eventually reached what would be known as his final rank of Lieutenant. Introduced to the Vietnam War in 1965 as a Platoon leader, Caputo walked into the war a little scared but with a lot of determination. Caputo started the war with a lot of field work including jungle expeditions and shooting escapades, and eventually was sent to keep track of the everyday deaths occurring during the war and all the paperwork associated with such a job. Later he was put back in charge of a platoon which eventually lead to his downfall following an unethical order he gave his men that resulted in the killing of a couple Vietnamese pedestrians believed to be part of the Viet Cong. Caputo was acquitted of all charges and was given a letter of reprimand from the general. About ten years later he continued his Marine endeavors as he reported to Vietnam and witnessed the surrender of the Saigon Government to the Communist North Vietnamese. Caputo's war experience was plagued by an overwhelmingly first-hand witnessing of watching people die because of trip wires, booby-traps, land mines, and even friendly fire. The psychological hit on him from the killing of these young American Men by the Viet Cong was one of great measure, as his lack of mental stability and his extreme hate for the Viet Cong lead to the eventual downward spiral of his career.

Overall, the United States should have never taken part in the Vietnam War. We lost many heroic men in this war and really didn't gain a single thing as a result. The United States aims in Vietnam were meant to be a defensive campaign, but eventually turned very offensive indeed. Running around a jungle and continually losing men because of booby traps is completely ridiculous. The United States should have stayed out of this war from the beginning and let the Vietnamese fight there own war. Caputo's frame of reference is beyond reliable as he documents a first-hand experience in the Vietnam War with great detail. The Rumor of War is an excellent book that really helps capture the true essence of the Vietnam war and as stated by Caputo, "This book does not pretend to be history" (xiii). What Caputo means by this is that history books only...

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