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

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... This description may be from another edition of this product.


Format: Mass Market Paperback

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5 ratings

I was with Chris that day in April 1967

A brillant and riveting account that offers a unique insight to life in the jungle of a combat infantryman. It's all true, I know because I was in Charlie company "Black Lions" from January 1967 to April 1967 when Chris was shot. It was my platoon, 3rd platoon, that was hit that day. The first two men were hit by pellets from a large Chinese mine that exploded before them. The screams still remain fresh in my mind. The concussion from the explosion was so great that it knocked the 3rd man in the formation, Battles, off his feet and he rolled into me. Then all hell broke loose and the fire fight went on for what seemed like minutes, but was actually over two hours. Chris's 1st platoon came to our rescue. Sometime during the end of the fighting, I was out in an open field and saw this soldier coming towards me in huge distress. He couldn't talk, a bullet had shattered his jaw, and he keeped running his hand around his head. It was Chris and I was able to help him. Didn't see him again till 1994. Fred Kirkpatrick webmaster, [...]

Excellent Vietnam Book!

I'm a 3-tour Vietnam vet. Salvage diver with the 20th. Engineers out of Long Binh. 69-71. I've read a multitude of books about the Vietnam War & am so very glad I volunteered as a Diver instead of a paratrooper that I came within an eyelash of doing. You line doggies out there have ALL of my considerable respect! Blood Trails is without a doubt THE best book I've yet to read on the war. The guy tells it like it was (for the infantry people) but includes a lot of sarcastic & self-deprecating humor that makes the book a joy to read. His vivid descriptions of real life combat puts you in the driver's seat & makes this reader realize how lucky he was NOT to have been a paratrooper! Great job!

One of the best books ever written on the Vietnam War

"Blood Trails", written by Long Beach, California native Chris Ronnau, tells of his experiences as a foot soldier in Vietnam. His unit, the Big Red One, was involved in many important infantry operations in the III Corps area of South Vietnam, north and west of Saigon along the Cambodian border. In this book, he conveys the day to day emotions of a youthful soldier called off to duty in a foreign land where he ended up becoming a hero during a fierce firefight in April 1967, during which he sustained mass trauma to his face. This is his story of personal courage, along with a moving account of the battlefield comraderie among 19 year old soldiers who depended only on each other for survival in America's longest, most frustrating war.

Pathologies of Vietnam

This is a ground level view of the role of the American Army in Vietnam. The story is based on the contempoarary diary of a man who decided to enlist, and requested infantry duty in Vietnam, during the height of the war in the late 1960s. The author is clear that in writing the book, he relied on his diary, and tried to convey the genuine emotions of his younger self, but he also writes with the perspective of thirty years reflection on his own experience. The book clearly reflects genuine experience, and is grippingly readable. While the author does not set out with any political agenda, it does offer a first hand account that clearly illustrates the tactical insanity of the war from an infantry man's perspective. The author and his brothers in arms rarely understand the larger purpose of their day to day activities, but are clearly aware that their actions do not add up to winning the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people. For those of us who were not there, this book offers a window on one of the most important events of twentieth century history. We all can be glad that Chris Ronnau lived to tell us his story, and had the presence of mind to record these events when they took place.

One Line Doggie's Tour in Vietnam!

There have been countless memoirs by Vietnam combat vets over the last years. I rate Christopher Ronnau's as one of the better efforts. Ronnau was in combat from January to April 1967 with the Big Red 1, his tour shortened by a serious wound to the face received in an ambush. BLOOD TRAILS is his account of those months in combat. I enjoyed Ronnau's book for several reasons. First of all, it seems a realistic account of an infantryman's lot in Vietnam circa 1967 - lots of endless patrolling, an occasional encounter with Victor Charlie often with uncertain results, night ambushes that come to naught, and a few terrifying firefights. Second, his narrative includes "daily routine" snippets like cooking C-rats with gobs of plastic explosive that give a sense of immediacy. Third, he doesn't include "remembered conversations" in his book. I have a big problem with any autobiographical work that includes reconstructed conversations from 30, 40 years ago. Hell, I can't remember what I said to my wife last week let alone 20 years ago. Ronnau kept a diary which increases my comfort level as to whether or not he's telling the truth or embellishing. Anyone interested in learning of the life of a combat infantryman should pick up this book. It provides an unvarnished portrait of life in the Nam.
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