Reviewed by Max Roark
"Phase Line Green" The Battle for Hue, 1968. is a book that every Marine, regardless of their M.O.S., but especially "grunts", should read. Coming from a guy that hasn?t opened a book, except for magazines, in years, I couldn?t put it down once I began reading it.
The author, Lt Nicholas Warr, goes into great, in fact, sometimes painful, detail in describing each encounter that he and 1/5 Marines, especially Charlie Company, had to endure during the battle for Hue.
The problems they faced from both the enemy and from their "chain-of-command" back at the rear and in Washington, are brought to light by Lt Warr. He doesn?t hold back on describing the "Rules of Engagement" that they were forced (at times) to obey while fighting the enemy. In fact, It really opened my eyes to the ways that the politicians controlled the war. It makes one wonder how many American lives could have been saved had we fought the war like Marines were accustomed to doing.
I served with 1/6 (weapons co.) during the mid-80?s and although I never saw combat during that time, I could easily relate to the attitudes and the "every day B.S." that the author was describing about his Marines in the book. Some things stay the same , such as how the "grunts" always get "shafted" by the other M.O.S?s and how "breaking in" a "boot" Lt. takes time and patience.
The book made me laugh at times and other times it made me lay awake at night trying to imagine just how hard those Marines had it. I remember how I hated going to the "field", but after reading this book, I see now how all that training was for a reason. In fact, it made me realize how much that I didn?t know or care to know while training back then.
Most of the books on the Vietnam War deals with fighting in the jungles, but this brings about a different light, since the Marines are mainly having to conduct urban warfare. The book really makes one understand how different the two can be.
The author was good at describing in detail each mission his Marines were assigned to carry out, and he was good at making you feel like you were right there along side him. You could almost hear the bursts of an M-16 ringing in your ears.
Although I would have liked to have seen more pictures in the book, the author had a good reason for not supplying more. Once again, the author doesn?t hold anything back and doesn?t make himself out to be a "superman". Too bad that the folks in Washington didn?t get a copy of this book back in ?68.
I really recommend adding this book to anyone's collection of books on the Vietnam War.
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