A Rumor of War Book Review
“ ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars, see that ye be not troubled, for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet…he that shall endure unto the end, he shall be saved” Matthew 24:6
Philip Caputo’s relationship with the Vietnam War is depicted in a disturbingly beautiful way in the memoir “A Rumor of War.” Throughout the course of the book, approximately 16 months, we observe a young, ambitious boy ready to prove his manhood, in search of
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Caputo was obviously aware of his own transformation taking place as he was capable of pointing it out after the fact. Equally as evident were the changes in dynamic behaviors on a platoon wide basis. Early in the novel, when Caputo is in training, he describes the first of the evolutions he, and his fellow soldiers, will undergo. “The most significant changes were not the physical ones. We had become self-confident, and proud, some to the point of arrogance. We had acquired military virtues… at the price of a diminished capacity for compassion” (21). At this point, there is no warning of what other mutations were to follow. The sense of immortality that lives in youthful bodies is very much alive no matter what kind of danger these men are warned off. The warnings, as Caputo will come to acknowledge, are nothing but useless words.
When Caputo first arrives in Danang, Vietnam, his platoon begins their journey by digging foxholes and piling up sandbags to protect them from an enemy they will never see. This is the birth of the phantom enemy that will hunt the memoir. At this point the operation was strictly defensive and the men dodge a timely sniper each night. The most fighting that goes on at this point involves attacks against the mosquitoes.
One incident that reveals the soldier’s progression in regards to adapting to war is when Caputo’s