A rumor of war is a book which was written in 1977 by Philip Caputo. He talks about his life in the United States Marine Corps (USMC). In the early periods during the war of Vietnam. He states that his book is not about history nor is it about any historical accusations. It is about his personal experience. This book is divided into major three parts:  The Splendid Little War,

  1. The splendid little war

This section describes Philip’s personal reasons for joining the USMC.  The training which followed after he joined and then his arrival in Vietnam. Caputo was a member of the Expeditionary  Brigade of the USMC. This was the first troop unit sent to take part in the Vietnam war, at a place called Da Nang.  Their major function was merely a defensive one. They were supposed to set a perimeter around an airstrip. To ensure that the arrival and departure of military goods and personnel are safe. They first encountered a North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong. Which made them believe that their earlier thinking, that the Vietnam War was small and unimportant was not justified.

  1. The second part of the book talks about the officer in charge of the dead.

Lt. Caputo is assigned from his rifle company to go and work in the desk job documenting on the causalities. This promotion in the joint staff did not impress him because Capito was comfortable working in the rifle company duties such as in commanding infantry.  Capito noticed that in his work as a senior officer were so much worried about trivial matters and not on strategy. He witnessed movies being played at night, risking the potentiality and devastating mortar attacks. He also witnessed corpses being treasured as hunting trophies and shown off to the major generals.


  1. In the third part of this book, it talks about death’s grey land.

In this part, Caputo is reassigned to the rifle company. He noticed that the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong were very brutal. They were skilled fighters who had to earn the grudging respect of American soldiers. His description of fellow marine officers as having stopped for the epic World War II. They had learned to detect booby traps, to counter snipe and comb the jungle in search of enemy bunkers and their rations. Caputo did this work until one day when the troops who were under his command shot two suspects deliberately. After that, he had to assume full responsibility and faced the court-martial. He was relieved his command and the charges were dropped later and then reassigned to another trooping camp in North Carolina from where he received an honorable discharge from the service.

In the epilogue, which took almost ten years after the end of his duty, Philip returned to Vietnam as a war journalist for the newspaper. He still remembers his experience and every bit of the story floods in his mind when especially he witnessed the fall of the great Saigon to North Vietnam. Caputo Philip left Vietnam on April twenty ninety of nineteen seventy-five. A postscript which was published in 1996 gives the details of the whole experiences and anxieties Caputo went through while writing his memoir, and the difficulties he had in handling his fame and the notoriety after his publication.

From the way most people who read this book comment, we discover that AS rumor of War is one of the elite pantheon books in the Vietnam War along with Michael Herr’s Dispatches, Tim O’Brien’s going after Cacciato and the Things They Carried.  He books generally talk about the life of Lt. Caputo and the things which led him to sit in 1965 so as to satisfy his romantic ideas about the war.

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