America's Diplomats The Road to Attleboro
America’s Diplomats The Road to Attleboro is an entertaining and fast read which when first looking at the book which is well over 500 pages, would seem to be a formidable read. Instead it forced me to turn the pages in search of what was going to happen next. Hence this work of historical fiction had me hooked from the beginning.
Author John W. Huffman takes us on a grand journey in which a rawboned teenager explores the world that was the US Army circa mid-1960’s. The main character in the name of John Starke is shown with a naive persona so prevalent of a young teenage mind. His thoughts of what an infantry airborne soldier was all about before going to combat is seen to one and all as being of false bravado and lack of experience set in a teenager’s mindset.
The author develops our hero through the circumstances of what war is all about. Huffman uses the accurate historical depiction of what transpired with the 25th Infantry Division in III Corps during the time period of 1966 to develop a palette in which John Starke develops into a true combat soldier. He learns by doing and learns from mistakes made in the heat of combat which will solidify him into a true combat veteran.
Huffman develops the accurate nuances of what it takes to be an infantryman. He develops the unity of the Wolfhounds ethic and raison d’etre. One feels the sense of devotion and brotherhood that only can be experienced by men in a combat unit. Huffman interweaves all aspects of soldier hood and human emotions of men under great stress and also men who are not self-serving but are men who depend on each other to accomplish their common missions.
This book is a page turner in which when the last page is turned will want the reader wanting more. By the way this book is the first book of a trilogy which forces me as a reviewer to seek the other two books.
Reviewed by: Dick Geschke (2014)
America's Diplomats powerfully portrays the Vietnam conflict's initial phase when patriotism still reigned supreme. All wars spawn simple heroes from youthful naivety as boy-soldiers evolve into weathered combat veterans. Young Jay Sharpe is no exception. Born into a long lineage of patriots, he never questions his generation's call to arms. Filled with wanderlust and rarely sure of what he wants, but knowing precisely what he does not want, a predictable marriage to his high school sweetheart and looming job at the local sawmill in his small hometown after graduation, he gallops off to the nearest Army recruiter to become Private John Joseph Sharpe, All-American hero. After rigorous training, he emerges as one of the Army's elite paratroopers and eagerly sails off to Vietnam and the golden opportunities awaiting him there--a near fatal encounter with the 9th North Vietnamese "Ghost" Regiment in the legendary battle of Attleboro, the largest land engagement of the entire war effort. His gripping tale of the trials of a soldier in our nation's most controversial confrontation is a graphic chronicle of love, hate, hope, and despair in an era of uncertainty and misdirection.