Semper Cool: One Marine's Fond Memories of Vietnam
Author: Barry Fixler
Publisher: Exalt Press (2010)
Binding: Hardcover, 320 pages
Semper Cool is the wrenching, sometimes hilarious and always thought-provoking true story of a well-off Long Island teenager who enlists in the U.S. Marine Corps seeking adventure and his father's approval and finds both, plus more danger than he ever could have imagined. Barry Fixler gets molded into a Marine at Parris Island and sent to Vietnam, where he is assigned to a company that would soon etch its place in Marine Corps lore. Fixler's Echo Company defends a hill at Khe Sanh against overwhelming enemy numbers in a 77-day battle that is considered one of the greatest military victories in the history of modern warfare. With its vivid imagery, Semper Cool thrusts readers into a grunt's eye view of the blood, guts, tears and laughter of war, as told by a Marine who returned home a man and a patriot. Be prepared to laugh and cry and ultimately thank God for the men and women willing to risk their lives for the freedoms that so many Americans enjoy.
SEMPER COOL is an outstanding account of the author’s experiences as a Marine in Viet Nam in 1967–1968, and how those experiences have affected his post-war life. Fixler takes a refreshingly positive and matter-of-fact approach in telling his story. He doesn’t gloss over the evils and terror of the war, but addresses them in a way that makes the events real to the reader, yet easy to read. Being a survivor of Khe Sanh certainly gives the author the distinction and credibility of being able to tell a story that few others are around with the insight to tell. The fact that Fixler is to this day still proud of being a Marine and proud of his country is effectively conveyed and gives SEMPER COOL a positive flow that I liked. He also is very effective in relating how the experiences from being a Marine, and perhaps more specifically, one who served and survived in Viet Nam, have had a significant influence on his reactions to a few recent events in his life.
This book is very well presented. I enjoyed reading it and recommend it to everyone who is interested in learning more about the battle of Khe Sanh, what a Marine’s life was like in the Viet Nam war, and to all who consider themselves genuine military history buffs
Reviewed by: Bob Doerr (2011)