A Shau Valor: American Combat Operations in the Valley of Death, 1963-1971; by Thomas Yarborough

Military historian Tom Yarborough has written a thoroughly researched and documented study that chronicles the battles and the associated courage, sacrifice, and valor in and around the remote and lethal A Shau Valley, one of the most deadly battlegrounds of the Vietnam War.  Other works have focused on individual battles or units, but A Shau Valor is the first to study the nine year campaign chronologically and within the context of other historical, political, and cultural events.  In addition to covering the strictly military aspects of various campaigns in the A Shau, the author shows how events in both Vietnam and the United States became inexorably linked as domestic dissent and a lack of realistic, viable military strategy ultimately led to America’s first lost war.

      To flesh out the story the author combed numerous military archives for individual cases of conspicuous gallantry in action, to include Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, and Air Force Cross citations.  In effect, those heroic deeds, those incredible acts of valor, provided the framework for the story he wanted to tell.  That methodology ultimately suggested the title for the book: A Shau Valor. 
     For Yarborough, author of the critically acclaimed book, Da Nang Diary, the challenge was to communicate not only the essential elements of the battles but also to supply a sense of the sights, sounds, and even the smells of the battlefield so that the reader feels engaged and, at least figuratively, experiences the mosquitoes, the mud, the oppressive heat, the leeches, the agony, the frustration, the fear.   

      As a compulsory underpinning for understanding the individual unit operational summaries and after action reports, perhaps the most indispensable documentary sources in A Shau Valor are the inspiring gallantry citations themselves, riveting accounts of the heroes who defined the battles.  Consequently, the author included recollections and interviews with many of the warriors---the grunts, marines, and airmen who did the fighting and the dying in the A Shau.  They consecrated the ground known as the Valley of Death with their blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifices.  This book is their story.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-61200-354-2
Book Format(s): Hard cover
Genre(s): Nonfiction, History
Number of Pages: 336