Baptism by Larry Gwin
A Vietnam Memoir

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Synopsis

"The 2nd Battalion of the 7th Cavalry had the dubious distinction of being the unit that had fought the biggest battle of the war to date, and had suffered the worst casualties. We and the 1st Battalion."

A Yale graduate who volunteered to serve his country, Larry Gwin was only twenty-three years old when he arrived in Vietnam in 1965. After a brief stint in the Delta, Gwin was reassigned to the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in An Khe. There, in the hotly contested Central Highlands, he served almost nine months as executive officer for Alpha Company, 2/7, fighting against crack NVA troops in some of the war's most horrific battles.

The bloodiest conflict of all began November 12, 1965, after 2nd Battalion was flown into the Ia Drang Valley west of Pleiku. Acting as point, Alpha Company spearheaded the battalion's march to landing zone Albany for pickup, not knowing they were walking into the killing zone of an NVA ambush that would cost them 10 percent casualties.

Gwin spares no one, including himself, in his gut-wrenching account of the agony of war. Through the stench of death and the acrid smell of napalm, he chronicles the Vietnam War in all its nightmarish horror.


From the Paperback edition.
 

About Larry Gwin

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Larry Gwin was commissioned as an infantry lieutenant out of Yale University in 1963. After two years with the 82d Airborne Division, he served as an advisor to a South Vietnamese Army battalion in the Mekong Delta before joining the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in September 1965. Assigned to Alpha Company, 2d Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment (A 2/7), he served as their executive officer for almost nine months. During that time, A 2/7 made more than forty-five combat assaults, fought in five major engagements, usually against North Vietnamese regulars, and suffered in excess of 70 percent casualties. Gwin returned from Vietnam as a captain and taught history as an ROTC instructor at Northeastern University before leaving the army and heading to Boston University Law School in 1968. Graduating in 1971, he practiced law in Boston until 1982, when he "dropped out" to write and teach. Since then he has written more than eighty-five published pieces, taught at the prep school and college levels, and commenced an arbitration practice. He has two grown sons, Sam and Rob, and resides north of Boston, where he continues to write and arbitrate securities cases. In 1996, he was awarded a Silver Star for his extraordinary heroism in the Ia Drang Valley. Baptism is his first book.
 
Published December 10, 2008 by Ballantine Books. 369 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Baptism

HistoryNet

What makes this book a must-read for everyone from the rank of sergeant through lieutenant colonel is Gwin's unvarnished account of life as a junior officer in an infantry battalion.

Aug 12 2001 | Read Full Review of Baptism: A Vietnam Memoir

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