Reviews

How to 'Out G theG'

Colonel David Hackworth's highest accolade is to call a man a "stud." He is certainly deserving of the moniker himself. An Army volunteer at the age of 15, the recipient of a battlefield commission at 20, four times wounded before he was 21, a hands-on battlefield expert on counterinsurgency, an expert leader of men whose ambition was never to be in the rear echelon, but always to be on the line, he was perhaps the most decorated man in uniform when he retired from the Army in 1971. He takes his fun where he finds it, has an affair with the wife of another officer when her husband is posted overseas, and keeps his own wife in line by reminding her that the Army always comes first: "When Patty knocked out two of her teeth in a bicycling mishap, she rang me at work; my response was 'What the hell do you expect me to do? For Christ's sake, go to the dentist. And don't ever call me at work again!'" What a guy!

Hackworth's portrait of himself is warts and all (though, confessedly, a warts and all portrait done by a combatready egotist). Freezing in a foxhole in Korea, he considers wounding himself so that he can be sent back to the United States, and at another point he exaggerates the pain he is feeling from a wound in the hope that he'll get sent to a hospital (and get a little R & R) in Japan. But this is the same Hackworth who as a brave and astute teenage sergeant was a regular blood...

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