Blood Trails: The Combat Diary of a Foot Soldier in Vietnam – Christopher Ronnau, 2008
Another first person perspective on the life of a Vietnam grunt, Blood Trails: The Combat Diary of a Foot Soldier in Vietnam (aff) is a fantastically written exciting and quality read.
After volunteering for Vietnam service and heading off to the ‘Nam Chris Ronnau found himself in the thick of fierce fighting in the notorious Iron Triangle and along the Cambodian border close to Tay Ninh.
Going through the nightmare of jungle patrols, rooting the Vietcong out of tunnels and secret chambers and fighting to the death in appalling conditions alongside soldiers of barely 21, Ronnau does a terrific job in pulling together his wartime diaries into an evocative and moving read. As much as any book this makes the reader empathise with the ordinary soldier – what was asked of him, how he reacted and the nobility and heroism of small acts day by day.
When reading this book you get a sense of how young and naïve the writer is, and at times this book is both hilarious and profound. Ronnau saw plenty of action towards the end of the tour before receiving a bullet wound to the jaw which had him sent home to recover. Written in a simple style by what was a very young man, Blood Trails (aff) nevertheless brings the shock and dread of combat vividly to life on the page.