Saturday, January 1, 2011

Book Review - Semper Cool: One Marine's Fond Memories of Vietnam by Barry Fixler

Title: Semper Cool: One Marine's Fond Memories of Vietnam
Author: Barry Fixler
Year: 2010
Page: 320
Genre: Non-fiction - memoir, war

New to me author? Yes
Read this author again? Maybe
Tearjerker? No
Where did it take place? US / Vietnam
FTC Disclosure: The publicist for the book, Lisa Feuer, gave those who are doing the War Through The Generations challenge a free ARC. I decided to take it up on her offer.

Summary (from
Semper Cool is the wrenching, sometimes hilarious and always thought-provoking true story of a well-off Long Island teenager who enlists in the U.S. Marine Corps seeking adventure and his father's approval and finds both, plus more danger than he ever could have imagined. Barry Fixler gets molded into a Marine at Paris Island and sent to Vietnam, where he is assigned to a company that would soon etch its place in Marine Corps lore. Fixler's Echo Company defends a hill at Khe Sanh against overwhelming enemy numbers in a 77-day battle that is considered one of the greatest military victories in the history of modern warfare. With its vivid imagery, Semper Cool thrusts readers into a grunt s-eye view of the blood, guts, tears and laughter of war, as told by a Marine who returned home a man and a patriot. Be prepared to laugh and cry and ultimately thank God for the men and women willing to risk their lives for the freedoms that so many Americans enjoy.

First Sentence:
"Don't move or I'll fucking kill you!"  

Why did I pick this book?
I was dong the War Through The Generations challenge, and since I was given the opportunity to get a free ARC, I decided to make this one of the 5 books I were to read for this challenge.

My thoughts:
  • This was a pretty honest memoir - how naive (or "green") he was when he was young and when he was in Vietnam, and his views on PTSD which may not be very PC
  • The writing was pretty easy to read, though there were some graphic moments (injuries) and he wasn't shy to share how hormonal he was during his days off
  • You could feel his pride of being a Marine
  • The most touching chapter though for me, was the last chapter. It wasn't actually about what happened in Vietnam, but about how the author decided to raise funds for an injured young Marine and his families (no doubt because of his experience in Vietnam and being a Marine). In fact, 100% of his royalites from this book will be donated to nonprofit organizations that assist wounded veterans and the families of those who died from combat. This is honorable.

    "I will not let my son die," the mother insisted. "He may not remember that I am his mother, but I will never forget that he is my son." (p275-276)

    Rating: 3.5 Stars

    Have you read this book? 
    If you have, I would love to hear what you think! I'll link your review here if you wish!

    100+ Reading
    Memorable Memoir
    War Through the Generations


    1. We've added your review to the book reviews page and the home page. Thanks for participating.