The Odyssey of Echo Company by Doug Stanton
The 1968 Tet Offensive and the Epic Battle to Survive the Vietnam War

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As the U.S. observes the 50th anniversary of this still divisive war, books like this remind us of the human cost of war and the sacrifices made by soldiers who answered their country’s call—and why they deserve to be taken care of and remembered.
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

A powerful work of literary military history from the New York Times bestselling author of In Harm’s Way and Horse Soldiers, the harrowing, redemptive, and utterly unforgettable account of an American army reconnaissance platoon’s fight for survival during the Vietnam War—whose searing experiences reverberate today among the millions of American families touched by this war.

On a single night, January 31, 1968, as many as 100,000 soldiers in the North Vietnamese Army attacked thirty-six cities throughout South Vietnam, hoping to topple the government and dislodge American forces. Forty young American soldiers of an army reconnaissance platoon (Echo Company, 1/501) of the 101st Airborne Division and hailing from small farms, beach towns, and such big cities as Chicago and Los Angeles are suddenly thrust into savage combat, having been in-country only a few weeks. Their battles against both North Vietnamese Army soldiers and toughened Viet Cong guerillas are relentless, often hand-to-hand, and waged night and day across landing zones, rice paddies, hamlets, and dense jungle. The exhausting day-to-day existence, which involves ambushes on both sides, grueling gun battles, and heroic rescues of wounded comrades, forges the group into a lifelong brotherhood. The Odyssey of Echo Company is about the young men who survived this epic span, and centers on the searing experiences of one of them, Stanley Parker, who is wounded three times during the fighting.

When the young men come home, some encounter a country that doesn’t understand what they have suffered and survived. Many of them fall silent, knowing that few of their countrymen want to hear the remarkable story they have lived to tell—until now. Based on hundreds of hours of interviews, dozens of personal letters written in the combat zone, Pentagon after-action reports, and travel to the battle sites with some of the soldiers (who meet their Vietnamese counterpart), and augmented by detailed maps and remarkable combat zone photographs, The Odyssey of Echo Company breaks through the wall of time to recount ordinary young American men in an extraordinary time in America and confirms Doug Stanton’s prominence as an unparalleled storyteller of our age.
 

About Doug Stanton

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Doug Stanton is the author of the New York Times bestseller In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors. A former contributing editor at Esquire, Sports Afield, and Outside, Stanton is now a contributing editor at Men’s Journal and has written extensively on travel, sport, entertainment, and history, during which time he nearly drowned in Cape Horn waters, survived a mugging by jungle revolutionaries, played basketball with George Clooney, and took an acting lesson from Harrison Ford.Stanton lives in his hometown of Traverse City, Michigan, where he is a member of the advisory board of the Interlochen Center for the Arts’ Motion Picture Arts program, and a trustee of the Pathfinder School.He has taught writing at the college level and worked as a commercial sports fisherman and caretaker of Robert Frost’s house in Vermont. Stanton graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan and Hampshire College in Massachusetts, and also received an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He and his wife, the investigative reporter Anne Stanton, have three children.
 
Published September 19, 2017 by Scribner. 336 pages
Genres: History, War. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Odyssey of Echo Company
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Above average
on Jul 17 2017

A flawed but readable piece of Vietnam War history, and readers will sympathize with these young men captured in a time and place that few can imagine.

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NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Jerry Lenaburg on Sep 18 2017

As the U.S. observes the 50th anniversary of this still divisive war, books like this remind us of the human cost of war and the sacrifices made by soldiers who answered their country’s call—and why they deserve to be taken care of and remembered.

Read Full Review of The Odyssey of Echo Company: ... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

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