Silent Warrior: The Marine Sniper's Vietnam Story Continues

Charles W. Henderson, Author Penguin Putnam $21.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-425-17660-3
Henderson, a retired Marine Corps officer, first told Hathcock's Vietnam-and-aftermath stories in his highly readable, highly hagiographic Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Kills (1986), which continues to be a favorite item at the PX. Sniper detailed how U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Carlos J. Hathcock II used his uncanny marksmanship in Vietnam to record more than 300 hits, and how he dragged six of his unconscious buddies away from a burning tank. After an arduous recovery from serious burns received then, Hathcock learned that he had multiple sclerosis--the disease he succumbed to last year. Henderson frames Warrior by imagining what Hathcock was thinking on his deathbed. Waves of imagined dialogue, based on interviews Henderson conducted with Hathcock and with a raft of witnesses to his heroics, crash through page after page. The voices of former Vietcong and North Vietnamese soldiers, including the late Tran Van Tra, who commanded VC forces in South Vietnam, fill things out, along with Henderson himself. What he and the others say is sure to add to the Hathcock mythos and will thrill buffs and ex- and current servicemen alike. But few other readers will be able to countenance the overheated style and lack of journalistic care in sourcing the story, although Hathcock was doubtless an exemplary soldier. After an initial burst from fans of Sniper, whose sales it will revive, this book will sell steadily but probably less prolifically than its predecessor. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/2000
Release date: 10/01/2000
Genre: Nonfiction
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