Philip Caputo Rumor Of War

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Whittney Walters Professor Thompson May 7, 2015 A Look into a Rumor of War Philip Caputo’s A Rumor of War, as stated, is not a book of politics, power, national interest, nor is it a criticism of the men who lead us into war and whose missteps were paid for with bloodshed on the battlefield. Instead, it is a powerful account of a man’s life changing experience fighting in the Vietnam War in reference to the things men combated in the war and how these things affected them. More so, it is a soldier’s personal interpretation of America’s longest battle, and the recollection of a deeply emotional experience. Caputo published his memoir in 1977, five years after direct U.S. military involvement ended on August 15, 1973, and two years after the…show more content…
Caputo was raised in a small prairie town in Westchester, Illinois. He enlisted in the Marines in 1960 because he was motivated by both, his desire to escape the dull being of suburban Illinois, his commonplace, and to prove to his family that he was not a disappointment, but a courageous man. Caputo mentioned, war had always been enticing to young men who knew nothing about it, but it was Kennedy who challenged and lured them into uniform with the statement, “ask what you can do for your country.” He envisioned himself as a patriot, enduring, and surviving the severities of military life. He longed for the chance to live heroically. After attending college, and completing basic training, Caputo earned the right to be called a Marine, and was one of the first American troops to be deported to Vietnam. After being in Vietnam, Caputo was pulled off the fire line to work as a casualty reporter. Once granted permission to return to the front line, Caputo began to relive the agonies of combat: tiredness, anger, depression, and borderline insanity—which caused Caputo and his men to retaliate by burning down villages in Vietnam, furthermore, capturing two Viet Cong. Caputo and his men killed the two Viet Cong, and were tried for murder. Luckily they were found not guilty, and released on honorable discharges. In 1967 he leaves Vietnam, but returned ten years later as a field correspondent to…show more content…
He begins his memoir with urgency, demonstrating what made him feel like he wanted to serve his country. “Having known nothing but security, comfort, and peace, I hungered for danger, challenges, and violence” said Caputo (5). He also describes the feelings that overwhelmed him post war that made him unable to condone war. As stated, “repeatedly, I have found myself wishing that I had been the veteran of a conventional war, with dramatic campaigns and historic battles for subject matter instead of a monotonous succession of ambushes and fire-fights” (xiv). Because Caputo begins his novel with strong emotions, the reader can signify him as a reliable narrator who does not emphasize opinionated feelings and details of war. Instead, leads the reader into honest accounts of his own personal time during the Vietnam War. He describes the brutal environment – periods of steady rain, climaxing hot temperatures, and biting mosquitoes and fire ants. Caputo transparently explains the psychological course of the Marines upon arrival in the hostile country…to the brief moments of contact followed by long nights of dull waiting…to random casualties leading to severe anxiety, and

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