1. Military Writers Society of America 2018, silver medalist for memoirs:
In his book Heroes to the End, author Jim Smith provides us an excellent perspective of the waning days of U.S involvement in the Vietnam War. As a young man employed as a Newsday reporter, the author received a very low draft number ensuring he’d be picked up in the next draft, he took the initiative and enlisted for three years. This kept him from going straight into the infantry and on to Vietnam. At least this was his plan and it did work, somewhat. He enlisted and became an admin clerk, but the army still sent him to Vietnam at the end of July 1971.
Smith provides some insight from his experiences as an admin clerk at Cam Ranh Bay, but the meat of the book comes after the author volunteers for and got accepted into the correspondent’s pool with Stars and Stripes. In his position with the press, Smith was allowed to travel throughout Vietnam and conduct a variety of interviews. He captured the essence of these interviews, along with his own observations, in articles he wrote back then and republished in this book.
I found the first hand accounts refreshing as they provide a real time picture of events, individual’s thoughts and emotions. The vast collection of articles give us a much better picture of what was happening in Vietnam from late 1971 to mid 1972, than someone’s recollections recorded some forty plus years after the war.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in military history and especially to those with an interest in the Vietnam war. I found it an interesting read and am certain you will too. –MWSA Review by Bob Doerr (June 2018)
2. At least one soldier was used to the best of his ability in that war…Smith patrolled the jungle with grunts and flew with helicopter crews to get first-hand views…The longer he was in country, the more risks he took…His reportrs of the NVA victory at Tan Canh and the fighting in and around Kontum rank among the book’s highlights…Despite censorship, Smith was able to report vignettes of people and events from the front lines to the rear…as president Nixon cut troop strength with his Vietnamization strategy.” – Henry Zeybel, vva.org review
3. “A touching and valuable book…Most Vietnam books go for the big picture…Smith’s book concentrates on the people who did the dirty work; some thought they should go harder, others thought it was all a waste…Mostly, he saw the humanity – some young Americans who discovered they were quite good at firing a machine gun from the door of a helicopter or seeking out Vietcong in the bush…As he reminds us of that war, I would say he is inching closer to hero status all the time. – Author, NY Times columnist George Vecsey
4. Jim Smith’s book “HEROES to the END” is an excellent read. As a young military reporter during the Spring Offensive of 1972 Jim ran to the sound of the guns to get a firsthand look at the battles. He was in Kontum during the Battle of Kontum in the spring of 1972 reporting on the action. I was there also, and Jim’s articles, that were printed in the STARS& STRIPES newspaper showed the intensity of the battle and the human side of war. Jim has a great sense of humor and he appreciated the many experiences he had while in Vietnam. The chapters of his book are vignettes that both inform and inspire the reader through Jim’s experiences. I strongly recommend Jim’s book to anyone interested in reading the writing of a witness to those historic times.
— John G. “Jack” Heslin – The Scribe, author of “The Battle of Kontum”
5. “Heroes to the End” is a book of vignettes strung around the service of its author during the most turbulent times of the Vietnam War. There have been great books on Vietnam: some have skillfully chronicled the “big picture; others have told the story of the war from the small unit or “grunt’s eye” view. Heroes is different, and refreshingly so. With this book, you get stories from the rice paddies all the way up the chain of command. Smith’s unique perspective stitches together a remarkable patchwork of valor, irony, hubris, and passion for and against the conflict. Very commendable work, and well worth reading.” –Phil Keith, author, “Blackhorse Riders” and “Fire Base Illingworth”
6. “Heroes to the End” is based on Stars and Stripes Aaticles written by Jim Smith when he was a reporter in Vietnam in the early 1970’s. It’s a very interesting read and well worth the time. I’ve never seen the various nuances of the war addressed in such a fashion. Thumbs up!
–Dr. Mark V. Harrison, author of “Guts ‘N’ Gunships”
7. I remember Jim Smith as a dogged observer and reporter who never failed to speak truth to power. I see from “Heroes to the End” that he has maintained his high standards. I am not surprised. –Bob Drury, author of “Last Men Out”
8. I found the author Jim Smith’s accounting of the war to be as realistic as it comes. He wrote this book from his very heart and soul – with notes, articles and memories that he had stored and save all these years after the war. He was a military reporter for “The Stars and Stripes” and had to be careful about how he worded his stories at the time, since he was in the Army and still subject to following orders from above. But he finds ways to blend his feelings and observations in a sharp and sometimes emotional narrative of the personal history that he lived though.
One of the better books written about the war by real veterans and I have read as several hundred of them over the last 20 years. This is a must for your bookshelf and would make a great gift to both veterans and even non-veterans. It is as real and honest of a telling of that time period in our history as it gets! I give this book a FIVE STAR RATING! A truly worthy book!
–Rev. Bill McDonald on Amazon
9. This book offers in stirring detail two absolutely necessary reminders — the courage and sacrifice of many of the men who served in the Vietnam War, and that the same “sand” that flows in these men continues inside those brave men and women who fought and in some cases continue to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. The heroes of the Vietnam War should not be unsung, and Smith’s book minimizes the possibility that that will ever happen.”
–Tom Clavin, co-author with Bob Drury of “Last Men Out”
I am a 1966 graduate of Chaminade High School in Mineola, NY. I graduated from Nassau Community College in 1968 and Hofstra University in 1970. I was a sports reporter at Newsday from 1966-1999, covering 5 Super Bowls and 9 Stanley Cup Finals. I was a features desk copy editor from 2000 to Dec. 31, 2014, when I retired. I am married to Lynn, a social worker, since April 9, 1978, We have one son, Peter, 33, an air traffic controller in Ohio.
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