REVIEWS

WHAT OTHERS HAVE TO SAY

“I encourage people to read this book. “Young Soldiers Amazing Warriors” is the kind of book we all need to read. “I really think if you want to consider yourself as someone who is knowledgeable about what is going on the world, this is a really good read for you. “Sholly has done a really good job of writing a great book.”

“If you have someone or know someone who was in the service (or has a family member or friend in the service), and you want to give them something to read that will educate them and also expand their capacity to understand what is going on, I really encourage the book.”

Jack Canfield, Public Speaker and author of Chicken Soup for the Soul book series
JACK CANFIELD is the all time best selling author having launched 47 New York Times Bestsellers, with 500 million book copies in print in over 40 languages, and co-authored the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Click here to view Robert Sholly’s interview with Jack Canfield.

“Having operated west of Pleiku, Viet Nam, later in the war than Bob Sholly, I can attest to the difficult terrain and the ferocious enemy that he describes in this harrowing tale (one of the best Viet Nam war stories I’ve read). While most war stories written by officers are basically about them and their heroics, Bob spends most of the book describing the almost super human feats of his “grunts” as they fight one of the most horrendous company level battles of the Viet Nam War. These guys were not fighting for God, Country, or Mom’s apple pie. they were fighting for their very lives, and the lives of their buddies against a skilled and vicious enemy. Bob Sholly has written up the account in such a fashion as to place the reader right along the sides of the “grunts” as they clawed their way through the fog of down and dirty killing, and makes the reader happy to reach the safety of the last page. If you only read one book on the actual ground war in Viet Nam, this is the one to read.”
Matthew 'Doc' St.Clair, Jr, LTC USA (Ret.) Special Forces

 

“Young Soldiers,Amazing Warriors “ is about jungle combat at the small unit level, up close and personal. Col Sholly uses his own journal from when he was CO of B Co, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry, of the 4th Infantry Division, supplemented by statements of the men who served with him to tell his story. It covers late 1966 through mid-1967, and takes place in the Central Highlands of Vietnam- extremely steep and rugged terrain. The enemy here were highly trained and well equipped units of the North Vietnamese Army, the NVA. Sholly discusses what it was like to exist in the field, fighting disease, lack of food and water, the terrain, as well as the NVA. He provides insights into the chasm in experiences and understanding between the base camp warriors, and the true combat line grunts.

Sholly writes frankly and honestly about both his successes and failures as a combat leader. He writes with pride of his ability to maintain multiple conversations over two radios with artillery FOs, air support FAcs, and his own platoon leaders while being actively involved with the firefight itself, saying “ …I entered a mental zone quite unlike my normal awareness….I operated on automatic with no distracted thinking.” Those who have been in that situation can relate. He also speaks of his failures. It is painful to read the honest description of a radio dialog Sholly recalls with a friend and fellow CO whom he is attempting to re-enforce and whose company is being overrun. Both probably know his help is unlikely to arrive in time. One suspects this conversation has been replayed many times in Sholly’s mind.

Besides all the combat descriptions, an overall history of 1st of the 8th is provided for the ’66-’67 timeframe.

Speaking as a Platoon leader of D Co, 1st of the 8th, and then XO of A-1-8, in the same Area of Operation as Sholly, but in the ’68-’69 period, I can attest that this book is dead on. The descriptions of firefights are detailed and possibly painful for some. The discussions of the challenges and rewards of dealing up and down the chain of command are insightful. And the day to day anecdotes of a grunt’s life are always fascinating.   A highly recommended book.”

J. Nolan, U.S. Army, Vietnam Veteran

 

“YOUNG SOLDIERS, AMAZING WARRIORS is an absorbing, detailed and substantial memoir of military service on the ground in Vietnam, as well as a well-earned tribute to the brave young men with whom Sholly served.

Author Robert Sholly served in Vietnam first as a personnel officer, then as a company commander for Company B of the 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry, and finally as the operations officer. He writes both from his own perspective and that of his surviving men, who contribute their accounts in their own words. From battles with ants intent on devouring air mattresses to battles with Northern Vietnamese soldiers intent on killing as many Americans as possible, this memoir gives a clear idea of what it was like to serve in the infantry in the Vietnam War.

The country owes Sholly a debt of gratitude, not only for his military service, but also for this detailed and straightforward record, which will be of immense value to future historians. This book has an irreplaceable authenticity and immediacy that cannot be duplicated by any third-party reporting. The author provides practical explanations of military procedures and movements that make much clear to the civilian reader, without once losing the descriptive abilities that really make his experiences come to life on the page. His use of multiple voices is particularly valuable with respect to the battles, where the varied perspectives combine to provide an overall view of the fighting that no single viewpoint could completely manage. A dry sense of humor enlivens his work, as well as a genuine affection and deep respect for the men he served with and commanded. He doesn’t hesitate to give his opinions forthrightly and directly, and isn’t afraid to admit honestly to occasional doubt or regrets concerning his own actions.”

Catherine Langrehr, IndieReader

 

“Young Soldiers Amazing Warriors is a first hand account of a soldier’s daily life in the combat zone during the Vietnam War. The reader is immersed in the youthful courage that permeates our hero’s actions and the humor that helps him survive the mayhem. His job is not an ordinary one; flirting with death often happens well “before 9 o’clock when civilians at home were just getting to work.” Intertwined with the author’s recollections are interviews with fellow fighters and commanders, as well as excerpts from their letters home, completing the picture and ensuring the accuracy of events.”
U.S. Review of Books

 

“Sholly has done a great job. As a battalion commander of the 3-8th Infantry, I participated in some of the same battles. Sholly’s real soldiers candidly describe the way they fought on the ground, without the bluster and braggadocio found in other accounts. This is the way it was and should be required reading for company grade officers and senior NCOs as well as their leaders. This is the best book I have ever read about combat in Vietnam.”
Major General Thomas P. Lynch, U.S.Army (Ret.)

 

“This is war… Not many books about combat ever really catch it. This one has, and in a language everyman can grasp… It’s a terrific book.”
Dr. William Hammond, Author of the multi-volume Vietnam series, The Military and the Media, and Reporting Vietnam, Leopold Award winner

 

“Over the years I have read many memoirs regarding Vietnam combat action; few have come as close as Young Soldiers, Amazing Warriors to touching the essential nature of life as a combat infantryman at the cutting edge.

From beginning to end, this is a Soldier’s story – then-Captain Bob Sholly was, and remains, a Soldier’s Soldier. He telegraphs his respect for our profession as well as his abiding faith in the inherent power of well-trained disciplined, adaptive and courageous American Soldiers.

The essence of the Army is found in the faces and names of those who served in B Company during these difficult days. Their deeds were, and are, enabled by weapons and things, but there is no doubt in my mind that nothing accomplished by the men of B Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry was achieved by weapons alone. Their courageous sacrifices and selfless dedication to their unit and their comrades is a tribute to them and them alone.

It was a handful of American Soldiers walking into that valley in Vietnam all alone who etched their names on the tablets of Army history with their courage, blood and precious lives. This collective memoir of survivor memories, official records, reflective musing leavened by harsh conditions, hand-to-hand combat and almost superhuman performances at all levels, is a tribute to these men and to our Army. This book is a well-written tribute to those who closed with and defeated our enemies during difficult days.

Read this book and learn. There is wisdom within these pages and examples of Soldiers performing their duties until the end. May God rest their souls and ease the pain of those who fought and survived.

If it were up to me, I would make this a mandatory read for the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses.”

General Gordon R. Sullivan, U.S. Army (Ret.), 32nd Chief of Staff and President of the Association of the U.S. Army

 

“I think this book may be the best account written about combat in Vietnam. Put Sholly right up there with Phillip Caputo, James Webb, and Tim O’Brien as far as writing goes, but this is no novel. I don’t think anyone can touch him for a non-fiction account.”
Mike Boren, Director of Big Bend Natural History Assoc.

 

“Like a lot of others I turned 20 in Vietnam as a young Marine further North near the DMZ in what was known as I Corps. My 14 months “in country” covers some of the same time span that the author records in his narrative.

I was given this book as a gift and when I saw the cover I knew immediately it was something different. I imagine other Veterans have had the same reaction if not consciously then in their sub-conscious.

One might ask why a books’ cover would make such an impression. I will attempt to explain for those who do not share the Vietnam experience. You see a picture of an Army Officer standing shoulders ever so slightly rounded. Exhaustion is clearly evident on his face and in his posture. There is a towel draped around his neck to wipe away the grime and intense sweat that his body has picked up and generated during the time immediately prior to the photo being snapped. But those are the little things, what immediately caught my eye was the weapon he was carrying. That strange looking thing with the upside down stock is an M-79 Grenade Launcher. In the Marine Corps we called it “the Blooper” because of the odd sound it made when fired. Officers DON’T carry Bloopers! Not if they are typical Officers. Junior enlisted men called Grenadiers or in our case “Bloopermen” carried and used that weapon with devastating efficiency.

I knew immediately this was not a typical Army Officer and I had the immediate premonition that the book would not be typical either. I was not disappointed.

In recounting his experiences I can feel the rawness only those who have experienced it can feel. In including the verbatim accounts of the men who served with him further intense flavor was added. Trust me bad grammar, a few colorful terms are the norm in the reality of war. The respect and affection Colonel Sholly exhibits in his writing for all those who served with him is obvious. The fact that his respect for them is equally reciprocated by those under his command at the time is also clear.”

Cliff Schoeffler, Sgt. USMC, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division February ’66 – April ’67 RVN

 

“An amazing tribute and legacy to all infantrymen, past, present and those yet to come. An inspirational honor for the families of those who did not return. Stephen Ambrose (Band of Brothers) wrote so eloquently of combat heroism. Bob Sholly LIVED it AND wrote about it. He has, in this book, immortalized the courage, bravery and spirit of America’s finest. This book should be mandatory reading for every citizen in this country.
Jack Avant, Colonel, USA (ret.)

 

“Sholly was a Company Commander and he tells about his first year in country with his command. I’m usually cautious of books written from an officers view point. I am very glad I set this prejudice aside this time because the book reads as though he was just a supporting character. The story is really about his men. If I were to teach a Leadership course in any field this book would be on the required reading list.”
HerB, USAID, Asst Inspector General

 

“This book is both a detailed history of a small slice of the Vietnam war, it is also a accurate recounting of the type of leadership that kept the KIA count from being heartbreakingly higher than it was and kept many more of us from coming home shattered and broken. Col. Sholly’s book is timeless in its descriptions of the camaraderie of men (and now women) in combat and the leadership required to establish and maintain that closeness that makes for an effective fighting unit.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know what it was like under combat conditions in Vietnam, …You won’t do better than this volume by Col. Sholly. Col. Sholly is too modest in his relating of the events he led we young soldiers. I didn’t serve under Col. Sholly, my time in the ring came a few years later. However, I am envious of the men who served under his command. … I would have felt privileged to serve under Col. Sholly while he commanded a company. His modesty prevented his claiming the props due him. But after reading this book, his type of leadership brought a lot of us boy-men home to our families who otherwise may have come home in body-bags.

My company leadership duplicated Col. Sholly’s. I wish I could say the same about all of the platoon-level leadership, but with only a very few exceptions, that level of leadership very nearly came to the level described by Col. Sholly. After coming home and having a space of years to reflect upon events, I realized, while reading this book, that the leadership described by Col. Sholly didn’t happen by just good luck, it was the result of mentoring of the junior officers and NCO’s by the senior officers and NCO’s.

I hated being in Vietnam, but I wouldn’t trade the love of my fellow Grunts and the respect of the leadership that brought so very many of us home to our families for anything in the world. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know what it was like under combat conditions in Vietnam, but also to anyone who wants to know more about the history of a small slice of the Vietnam war. You won’t do better than this volume by Col. Sholly. Get it and read it. You won’t be disappointed.”

James Hadstate, Vietnam Veteran