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About Face: The Odyssey of an American Warrior, is a memoir by the late Colonel David Hackworth (1930-2005), a career Army soldier whose service in the Korean and Vietnam Wars was among the most decorated in the annals of American military history. Colonel Hackworth was a brave, resourceful soldier and commander whose innovate counter-insurgency tactics directed against the Viet Cong proved highly effective. His memoir, however, comprises his reflections on and an indictment of the broader U.S. military effort in Southeast Asia. As such, About Face reflects the bitterness common among many veterans of a war they viewed as excessively micromanaged by civilian officials and bungled by high-ranking military commanders who failed to understand the nature of the conflict in Vietnam despite advise from subordinate officers like the author. Hackworth had assumed that he would live out his years in uniform. His disillusionment with the way the war was run, however, embittered him and prompted his decision to retire rather than wait for a promotion to general that probably would never have come. Much of his memoir reflects his bitterness over the institution, the U.S. Army, that he feels betrayed him and many others like him.
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