Good Book Review On “The Village”: A Review

Type of paper: Book Review

Topic: War, Literature, Vietnam, Village, Violence, Marines, Novel, The Reader

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2020/11/29

Francis J. West’s tells the harrowing and, at time, unbelievable tale of a marine squad fighting for their lives for over a year. While many other stories akin to “The Village” tell tales of a squad or platoon succeeding or failing at one mission, sometimes taking several weeks or months, West’s story lasts 495 days. There are few documented stories in existence that are so extensive, or that leave the reader feeling like such a person part of the author’s savage and brutal experience. As he tells the story of himself and the few who were a part of his CAP who volunteer to defend a Vietnamese village, a reader cannot help but close the book feeling differently, at least about West, and his one platoon.
The CAP, or Combined Action Platoon, tasked with living among six thousand Vietnamese villagers, and defending their lives, only contained fifteen brave young men. Early on we learn how West’s story stands as a testament of how the war the claimed his youth did not have to digress into the bloody savagery not scrawled in our history books. He tells, resolutely, of his time spent among his fifteen comrades as they attempted to hold of two hundred Viet Cong, surviving in harsh conditions, fighting alongside one another, and eventually dying in the same fashion. It is because of their profound sacrifices that villages still remember them, and why the novel is so ruthless, yet so touching to read.
Set in the Binh Nghia village, where West and his fifteen comrades were tasked with protecting villagers, he recounts that there was fighting and gunfire almost every night. Few in their platoon were seasoned at fighting, yet there was a skilled Viet Cong battalion just across the river who attacked the village every opportunity they received. Essentially, the marines became warriors alongside one another. The villagers helped the marines patrol after nightfall, promoting a sense of camaraderie between the two groups. West’s story shows the war could have ended differently, as he points out many Vietnamese villagers accepted Marine troops into their villages peacefully, helping them and caring for them when it was needed.
The novel does not only speak about the friendships, but also about the impact of guerilla warfare. He reveals how intense and personal the war came to feel for each side, allowing the reader to understand perhaps why it was impossible for the war not to devolve into the state it did. As a part of his study, he was forced to watch many of his friends, both American and Vietnamese, murdered at the hands of chaotic warfare. The closing chapter sees West return to the village in 2002 to discover that the memory of he and his fallen Marines remains despite the new American stance on policing the world, as well as the dictator regime in Vietnam.
West’s novel was, at times, difficult to read, but is necessary for those attempting to understand the sordid underbelly of war. West admits it was a personal war. It was one that may not have been able to avoid the bloody, unsavory outcome it saw. However, he rejects the notion that its ending was how it had to be, offering tales of friendship as an example. He explains the pain and heartbreak of war from a new perspective, attempting to make the reader understand that one can become friends with anybody, even the presumed enemy. Furthermore, his tale of war stretches for beyond the normal stories of missions and heroism, explaining that there is not always a point of resolution. He and his team of fifteen marines were sent in to help protect a village. Many people died. The war ended. There was no resolution, and perhaps that is what is most difficult about war. Perhaps that is what we are meant to take away from West’s novel: that there is no resolution, only more questions, pain, and uncertainty.

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WePapers. 2020. "Good Book Review On “The Village”: A Review." Free Essay Examples - Retrieved April 14, 2024. (
"Good Book Review On “The Village”: A Review," Free Essay Examples -, 29-Nov-2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 14-Apr-2024].
Good Book Review On “The Village”: A Review. Free Essay Examples - Published Nov 29, 2020. Accessed April 14, 2024.

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