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Tiger Force

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Tiger Force
A True Story of Men and War. By Michael Sallah and Mitch Weiss. (Back Bay Books: 2007. Pg. 416) ISBN: 0316066354

Reviewed by Sheldon Ztvordokov - June 7, 2006

When it comes to the Vietnam War, most people have very strong opinions as to whether or not the United States should have been fighting there. No matter what your opinion, the fact is, we were there and it is important that everyone in this country be aware of how we came to be fighting there, what happened in country, and how we finally extricated ourselves from the conflict - if for no other reason that the lessons learned in Vietnam are still vitally important as can be seen daily in regard to our current actions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In Tiger Force: A True Story of Men and War, Michael Sallah and Mitch Weiss provide an unprecedented glimpse into what life was like on the battle fields of Vietnam from the viewpoint of the elite American Tiger Force unit. The Tiger Force was an experimental, elite unit that had an unprecedented level of operational freedom. They misused this freedom and where responsible for an untold number of war crimes ranging from rape to massacres and other atrocities. The government was aware that the Tiger Force had gone berserk and was, as a unit, totally out of control. The government eventually reigned in the members of the Tiger Force and strove to cover-up their actions. For many years, rumors of their actions circulated, but could not be verified due to the Forces' actions being cloaked in a shroud of secrecy. At long last the shroud has been removed, and Sallah and Weiss have written a compelling and oft time horrifying account of the Tiger Forces seven months in action in Vietnam.

This is a difficult book to read. The authors have ably captured the nature of a soldier's life in the jungles of Vietnam, and just how easy it is to slip over the line from being a 'legal' soldier to that of being a murderer. As word that similar atrocities have occurred in Iraq, it is vitally important that everyone read this book, in the hope that by learning about what went before, there is a chance that steps can be taken to ensure that such actions are not repeated.

Tiger Force is a wonderful example of investigative journalism. The authors have brought to life previous unreported war crimes that occurred in 1967 and which were wrought by supposedly the best of the best of America's fighting forces. The authors have taken these horrific events and turned them into a riveting account that will keep you glued to the book from beginning to end. It should be read by anyone interested in military history, government cover-ups, or who is simply looking for an important and unforgettable book to read.

Related Reviews:

Glory Denied: The Saga of Jim Thompson, America's Longest-Held Prisoner of War, by Tom Philpott.
On March 26, 1964, Floyd James "Jim" Thompson was shot down and captured by the Viet Cong, Vietnamese Communists who served in the People's Liberation Armed Forces in South Vietnam. Thompson remained in captivity until his release on March 16, 1973, a mere two weeks before his nine-year anniversary, making him America's longest-held prisoner of war.

The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, by David Halberstam.
This is a detailed, popular, narrative history of the Korean War and its aftermath, written by a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist

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