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Eyes Behind the Lines: L Company Rangers in Vietnam, 1969

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In mid-December 1968, after recovering from wounds susatined in a murderous mission, Gary Linderer returned to Phu Bai to comlpete his tour of duty as a LRP. His job was to find the enmy, observe him, or kill him--all the while behind enemy lines, where success could be as dangerous as discovery.


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In mid-December 1968, after recovering from wounds susatined in a murderous mission, Gary Linderer returned to Phu Bai to comlpete his tour of duty as a LRP. His job was to find the enmy, observe him, or kill him--all the while behind enemy lines, where success could be as dangerous as discovery.

30 review for Eyes Behind the Lines: L Company Rangers in Vietnam, 1969

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    I think it was 1994 when my brother Scott came home on leave and brought this book with him. He was in the Army, I was excited about joining some day, and he told me that this book was good description of what wartime could be like. Of course I read it quickly, only learning later that it’s the second part in a two-book series describing Gary Linderer’s year in Vietnam. Since that time I’ve probably read this book four or five times, and I always take something new away from it. This most recent I think it was 1994 when my brother Scott came home on leave and brought this book with him. He was in the Army, I was excited about joining some day, and he told me that this book was good description of what wartime could be like. Of course I read it quickly, only learning later that it’s the second part in a two-book series describing Gary Linderer’s year in Vietnam. Since that time I’ve probably read this book four or five times, and I always take something new away from it. This most recent reading was made immediately after finishing the first book, Eyes of the Eagle, in a nonfiction military reading spree ignited by reading the account of SEAL sniper Chris Kyle in American Sniper. Summary After six months in Vietnam, and a disastrous mission in the Roung Roung Valley that saw four comrades killed (including the author’s best friend) and the rest wounded, Gary Linderer returns to his unit, F Company, 58 Infantry Division (attached to the 101st “Screaming Eagles”). After overcoming self-doubts and fears as well as the wounds he received in the Roung Roung, Gary goes back to the work of LRPs (Long Range Patrol); sneaking behind enemy lines in small teams of six men to spy on the enemy, call in artillery strikes, and spring ambushes. In this account he becomes a team leader, is promoted to sergeant, embarks on a daring rescue mission on a fog-enshrouded mountain, serves in the defense of a massive enemy attack on a U.S. firebase, has a horrible nightmare that almost comes true, and finally goes home. OVERALL: 4.6 I’ve read Linderer’s books a few times over the years now, and what I took away from this most recent endeavor to F Company, 58th Infantry (later L Company, 75 Ranger), is how human Gary Linderer is. At no point does he paint himself as a macho killing machine, but is consistently portrayed as a brave, strong individual who is frequently confronted with self-doubt and fears yet overcomes them and performs his job. There is one individual, and certain supporters that he has, who has tried to make a career out of bad-mouthing Gary Linderer and all the men of F Company/L Company. I have seen almost nothing to corroborate his claims except some government records that are admittedly vague. I believe in Linderer’s account not only because the other men who’ve testified on his behalf, but also because the portrayal of himself in this book is not that of a medal-seeking war hero bent his image. This is a real person who lets you into his head during a very difficult time in his life and for the world. I believe Gary Linderer’s books should be required reading for anyone studying the Vietnam War, or even the lives of real soldiers during times of conflict. He wasn’t a lifer who spent years in Vietnam. He wasn’t involved in secret operations north of the border or in Cambodia (at least he makes no claims like that); he was just a regular guy who wanted to serve his country, initially wanted to be an officer (he changed his mind when he realized it would mean a second tour in Vietnam and another year away from his fiancé/wife), and served his tour and then went home. He’s not G. I. Joe; he’s “Gary from Festus” who volunteers, trains, and becomes (and serves with) one of the best people a soldier could ask for. RATINGS BY CATEGORY Characters: 4 out of 5 Similar to the first book, the author doesn’t spend much time describing the people he is serving with, and yet he doesn’t need to. You know that John Sours has red hair. You know Closson is relatively new to the game but a good leader. You just somehow know these people and how they fit into the military roles they have been assigned. My only real complaint is that not enough time is spent on them, and many things are left unexplained (for instance, you can learn in LRRP Team Leader that John Burford went home a couple of days after this book begins). The story is the author’s though, and the book lets you peek into his mind like few other narratives. Pace: 5 out of 5 It’s never slow. Even though there are gaps in the journal-like presentation and the more boring days are skipped, there are still days where nothing is really happening but the reader is still engaged. It’s all over too soon, and I am always hungry for more (which is why I’ve bought the rest of Mr. Linderer’s books, as well as those of his comrades). Story (Content for nonfiction): 5 out of 5 This book is full of great stories, but I don’t ever get the impression that Gary Linderer is trying to make things more exciting than they were, or present himself in some heroic light. When he ambushes a fleeing NVA soldier, he points out that multiple members of his teammates shot the guy, and doesn’t try to say he fired the killing shot. He is brutally honest about his fears, doubts, weaknesses (he collapses from heat exhaustion at has to be medevac’d out at one point), and even his planning his R&R to avoid time in the bush toward the end of his tour. Despite all of this, he is by far one of the strongest and bravest individuals I have encountered in reading nonfiction, and that is because he the book expresses how mortally human he really is. There’s dynamite in this book though. Linderer’s team engages in an emergency search and rescue on a mountaintop locked by fog (he relinquishes overall command to a more experienced Ranger named Fadeley for that one- another honest admission), they are “struck” on another mission that leaves Linderer thinking he has been killed, and in the end he survives it all and goes home. Amid all the military action, excitement, and yes, boredom, there is the author’s thoughts, his plans for the future, the life and girl he left back home. The content in this book strikes a home run, and does so without trying to portray some kind of “Rambo” hero (except for some of the enemy who repeatedly shrug off injuries and disappear into the thick, green jungles of Vietnam). Dialogue: 4 out of 5 Gary Linderer assembled his books based on memories, interviews with comrades, and the numerous letters he sent home to his fiancé. I don’t think he recounted every profanity-laced conversation for her, or that he remembers everything perfectly, but he provides an excellent portrayal of what was probably said, and in the spirit it was spoken. I wish there was more personal dialogue between the people, and I thought the stories of Kenn Miller and Larry Chambers felt more like modern recollections than “at the moment” recounts, but it all still works (and more personal dialogue probably would have felt contrived; Linderer keeps things feeling real and accurate). Style/Technical: 5 out of 5 The day-by-day, journal-like presentation of the narrative is perfect for this kind of story. Many days are filled with excitement and peril, while others are boring (for him) or humorous adventures at Camp Eagle; but every day is another day closer to bringing Linderer back home to friends, family, and the woman he loves. The action is clear, the descriptions are mostly easy to follow (only some of the topographical explanations of the teams moving along ridges, fingers, and ravines can occasionally be difficult to follow), and the writing is quite good.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Doug

    Well Written Account of Nam in 69 Author opens up and tells it from the Heart. These soldiers hump the 1000lb ruck of memories that cant be erased of their year behind the lines. This account is the very best from a hero doing his duty making sure we don’t ever forget those that gave all for their brothers.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Berk Rourke

    This is a sequel to Eye of the Eagle. It starts with Linderer, the writer, being released from hospital in Can Ranh Bay, and ends when he leaves Vietnam. It is a book worthy of the efforts of he and his friends in the LRP company in which he served, either F Company or L Company. It is a fast read and takes your attention. I highly recommend this one.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Pritchard

    Great book The author continues the history of his one year in Vietnam and ends with his return to an ungrateful America.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gerry

    Mr. Linderer provides the reader with yet another chilling account of what it was like to be a Ranger with the Long Range Patrol (LRP) unit of “L” Company Rangers, 58th Infantry. This book of course would be book two to the “Eyes of the Eagle” book that Mr. Linderer wrote. This book “Eyes Behind The Lines” in my view was a better book than the first book; however, no more important and no less significant was the first book. This book is first and foremost easy to follow as the author provides th Mr. Linderer provides the reader with yet another chilling account of what it was like to be a Ranger with the Long Range Patrol (LRP) unit of “L” Company Rangers, 58th Infantry. This book of course would be book two to the “Eyes of the Eagle” book that Mr. Linderer wrote. This book “Eyes Behind The Lines” in my view was a better book than the first book; however, no more important and no less significant was the first book. This book is first and foremost easy to follow as the author provides the reader with dates; almost as though this is a journal accounting of daily activities. This, the personal historical accounting of the last half of Mr. Linderer’ tour in RVN flows smoothly, is written well and in particular what I liked about this book was the refreshing honest view of putting his human and unpolished (in grunt format) accounting for his readers. To some level a person who has a military background will find this book easier to read than will a non-military type; however, Mr. Linderer goes to wonderful lengths to understand that his audience may not have a military background – it is here where he places in the most simplest of terms events, acronyms, and other jargon that is common place among the LRP’s. Personally, I was quite captivated by the terrific description of the rappelling; the description was so well written it seemed choreographed for the written pages within. The humor on pages 154 and 155 stand true to themselves – it was good to read of the occasional laughter amongst the LRP’s as they confronted garbage on a daily basis. By the time Mr. Linderer had passed up on the opportunity to become Second Lieutenant Linderer (as opposed to Sergeant) I was quite happy – I was also exhausted myself in reading the many operations within the pages. Slicks moving everywhere all the time – I felt as though I were “there” in reading the pages. It is apparent when reading this book of the link the Rangers had with one another – leaving RVN life would never be the same of course for these gentlemen who knew Mr. Linderer and Mr. Linderer himself acknowledges this; I believed this to be a most admirable quality in recognizing the pain associated with this sort of Military experiences and combat as a whole. The History of the “Grunt” in all forms continues – to me, it is all interrelated throughout the course of time – regardless of era. Thank you Vietnam Veterans for your service – I am grateful that you did what you believed at the time you had to do. Welcome Home! Semper Fidelis, Gerry

  6. 4 out of 5

    Robert Frick

    A good book about the Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol company that served with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam. This company was under the operational control of the 2/17th Cavalry. Gary Linderer, the company commander, was a very good and was sadly missed after he rotated out. Having been there in 1968-69, this book gave me much better insight into operations that the 2/17th supported.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    This book fell a bit short of the first one. It got very repetitious and seemed to lack of the enthusiasm that I remembered. I would recommend it only if you feel like closing out the story from the first book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    I really liked reading this book. The format was like reading a diary journal, which was easy to get into and follow. I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in reading about the Vietnam War.

  9. 5 out of 5

    David A.

    My brother got me this book because I am a Nam Vet but I really have not been in interested in any Nam books. I did finally decide to see how it was and I enjoyed it very much.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chris Comis

    One of the books I read back in college that got me interested in joining the Marines. Lots of blood, guts, and courage.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    WOW WOW and WOW. The insight in what these youngsters had to fight against, not just the enemy, is extreme and brilliantly told by the author in the midst of all of it. I salute you.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Andria

    Loved it enough to begin one of his other book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Victor

  14. 4 out of 5

    Marie

  15. 5 out of 5

    Robert Watts

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chrs Bounden

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brian Williams

  18. 4 out of 5

    louise rettke

  19. 5 out of 5

    Hans B Heindl

  20. 4 out of 5

    Robert Brokenmouth

  21. 4 out of 5

    elby226Bonnie Ford

  22. 4 out of 5

    The Smith's

  23. 4 out of 5

    David Allen

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michael Kimball

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tim

  26. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  27. 4 out of 5

    Brad

  28. 4 out of 5

    john rawls

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alexander Sobin

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rich

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