Academic journal article Military Review

Legend: A Harrowing Story from the Vietnam War of One Green Beret's Heroic Mission to Rescue a Special Forces Team Caught Behind Enemy Lines

Academic journal article Military Review

Legend: A Harrowing Story from the Vietnam War of One Green Beret's Heroic Mission to Rescue a Special Forces Team Caught Behind Enemy Lines

Article excerpt

LEGEND: A Harrowing Story from the Vietnam War of One Green Beret's Heroic Mission to Rescue a Special Forces Team Caught Behind Enemy Lines

Eric Blehm, Crown Publishers, New York, 2015, 304 pages

Legend is a concise biography of retired U.S. Army Master Sgt. Roy P. Benavidez. Its centerpiece is an account of a single day of combat in 1968 in Cambodia--outside the recognized battle lines of the Vietnam War. Eric Blehm grips the reader's attention in the opening paragraphs of the prologue with the final scenes of the battle. He introduces the struggle that followed to give Benavidez full recognition for his actions that day.

Blehm recounts the impoverished upbringing that forged the traits that made Benavidez a man who would defy impossible odds to help his friends in need. He then reviews Benavidez's early military career, his dogged pursuit of an airborne assignment, and his first tour in Vietnam, which left him paralyzed in a military hospital bed. His recovery and return to duty are proof of Benavidez's indomitable spirit.

Interwoven in Benavidez's personal story is the history of the Vietnam War. It provides a broad context for those less familiar with the subject. Blehm briefly delves deeper into the history and the politics of the parallel secret war in Cambodia, providing the reader a sense of the intrigue that surrounded Cambodia's Prince Norodom Sihanouk and of the tenacious mindset of the Viet Cong enemy. Both set the stage for the battle to come.

Blehm's straightforward, no-nonsense prose captures the pace of the action that unfolds. Once the battle begins, the reader will not want to put the book down. …

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