Item description for PRODIGALS: A Vietnam Story by Richard Taylor...
During his first tour in Vietnam - 1967-68 - Dick Taylor was a well trained and highly motivated amateur assigned to advise a hard-bitten ARVN infantry battalion working in the mud and streams of IV Corps. He became savvy in a hurry and found that he was both brave and resourceful. He barely survived Tet 1968, then served on an advisory team staff.
For the next two years, Taylor earned a Ranger tab, served on a division staff, and schooled on. He met his wife, and married her days before he returned to Vietnam.
Taylor's second tour - 1970-71 - was altogether different. He immediately assumed command of Bravo Company, 1/7 Cav, and excelled as a commander and a leader. He was aggressive in the field, confident in his command, and assertive with his superiors. He fought a good war, a successful war, and when he was forced to take a staff job it was as his battalion's intelligence officer. But the war was winding down, its purpose lost. Taylor's spirit's flagged, but not his fidelity.
This well-written combat memoir is heartfelt, earnest, honest and just a little melancholy.
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Reviews - What do customers think about PRODIGALS: A Vietnam Story?
Outstanding new Vietnam Memoir Dec 5, 2003
I read this in advance galley and submitted a review to a periodical. This is an outstanding book about a young lieutenant (Richard Taylor) who traveled to Vietnam as a boy and became a man very quickly. As he notes, he was looking for an adventure of a lifetime and he found it. Prodigal is a remarkably moving story. It is naturally enough a combat memoir, but it is a heartfelt and at times (almost too) personal autobiography detailing Taylor's pair of tours to Nam.
His first was 1967, when Taylor was assigned to a veteran Army of the Republic of Vietnam outfit. Taylor details the patrols and enemy action, and the boredom and yearning for home very well. His tour ended with his involvement in the middle of the 1968 Tet Offensive, in which he was almost killed. The book is just starting. Taylor meets and falls for Sandy and the second half of the book is about his second tour and his long distance relationship (very sad, very moving). He returned in 1970 to lead Bravo Company (1/7 Cavalry). Without doubt Taylor was a good combat officer. He mentions a lot of other men and officers, offers assessments, is pretty straightforward about the whole affair.
The book includes maps (which are good) and photos (which I have not seen as they were not in the advance galley). Prodigal is a fine story, and one of many finally coming from the pens of a generation of soldiers who gave everything they had and have yet to be fully thanked.