Casualties of War: Incident On Hill 192

Book Title: Casualties of War: Incident on Hill 192
Author: Daniel Lang
Genres: Nonfiction, True Crime.
In 1969, the New Yorker published a report by Daniel Lang about the court martial of a group of men who had served in Vietnam. The five-man squad, led by a 20-year-old sergeant, Tony Meserve, had been sent on patrol. At the outset, Meserve had declared his intention to kidnap a girl from a local village, gang rape her "for the morale of the squad", and then murder her. Private Sven Eriksson initially thought Meserve must be joking. He was not. It was Eriksson's testimony that informed both the trial and the New Yorker.

This was also made into the 1989 film "Casualties of War" with Michael J Fox as Sven Eriksson and Sean Penn as Sgt Tony Meserve. I don't remember which came first to me but I have a feeling I viewed the film and upon reading it was a true story had to go find the book also to see how far apart was the film adaptation to the book and I have to say, there isn't much that's different at all.

My Thoughts
This book isn't going to be for everyone, it was pretty gut wrenching and can be a hard read, considering this is a true story that happened during the Vietnam war. Published in the late 60s it's not the best or well written publication but it's thought provoking. A short book with large print making it easier to get through in one or two sittings. The book made me think how often this kind of intrusion happens while wars are going on? A young woman taken from her hut where she laid, asleep with her family by her side, she's taken away by an American platoon on patrol without a second thought about their consequences, it was planned from the night before when they were not given extensive leave, where a lot of the soldiers would go and be temporarily relieved of duty to have fun on the streets of Vietnam and mostly getting that sexual edge taken off. The plan was to help the morale of the squad & ' sexual fun'. Basically they won't be so uptight if they got that edge off.

With one soldier on the patrol unit who did not participate in the rape and murder, he faced guilt for what had happened and he decided to report the incident to his superior but it's the obstacles he faced after this. It seems because there isn't much morals - whatever your view on war may be - the fact they can do something like this to a woman and be protected and it's not seen as something demoralising, says a lot about the mindset to me. The outcome is a positive but a sad one in the end because you can't help but think of the torture this poor woman went through and also the soldier who felt helpless to witness all this but he also had the courage to speak up, which was admirable.

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54 comments

  1. I love books to do with the war - my Dad used to watch loads of programmes on it so I've always been interested x

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    1. As much as I love history, I've not got into wars as much but this book really gripped me to know even more damage that goes on besides the wars. x

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  2. What an awful story! That poor girl and her family.

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    1. I know, it's heartbreaking. It's definitely not one for everyone but these harsh realities.

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  3. Goodness me! An awful story but it sounds like a very deep and motive read,I love books and have only recently signed up to goodreads. I'll pop over to see what else you have in your recents! (I Love a good book natter)

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    1. I really need to sort out my Goodreads properly lol but thank you. It truly is a deep read, reviewing them has given me a reason to get through my books I keep buying!

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  4. Never read this book but watched the film and found it truly amazing.

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    1. The film was amazing, the actors did so well and I could only imagine the head space they had to get into for those roles but I had to read more!

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  5. I've not heard of this story before, but its not surprising considering most of the stories that have emerged from the Vietnam War. There's always something about that war having taken place in a tropical environment/climate that adds to its mystique...that somehow 'allowed' the atrocities which took place to be 'ok' with their time and place in history. People sometimes distance themselves from what their husbands, fathers and sons did when they were over there. Horrible things. And so many of these men are still alive today. So its nice to hear a story about someone who spoke up and stood their moral ground. But otherwise, its actually pretty horrible and I'm not certain that I'm in an emotional place to read it right now, but I did enjoy reading your synopsis.

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    1. I've not looked into the Vietnam War much but you hear the odd comments in programmes that make you think of the horror that occurred over there. This is true, as to say the heat made them lose their senses even more and contributed to their behaviour. Wow, that's crazy, I will most likely go and seek some things out and be horrified but history and these world events do make me think. Yeah I think you have to be in a certain mind space for a book like this as it's not an easy read. Thanks so much for your comment x

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  6. i've not read much on the vietnam war but i do find history interesting read and a lot of it is a hard read. ill have to look into this

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    1. I agree, a lot of history is a hard read. Definitely have to be in that mind frame to soak it all in.

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  7. Not for me but my dad would enjoy it. It sounds a hard hitting read

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  8. I love reading true stories I think they help raise awareness so i may have to check this one out x

    Miss Kitty Kaos - Adventures Of A Riot Grrrl

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    1. Me too! They do a lot of my books are fiction. x

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  9. Sounds very thought provoking for sure!! What an awful thing she went through! I'm really unsure if I should read this, I'm so over emotional and this seems like ones of those books that will stay with me! I think I need to prepare myself for it first!

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    1. Oh I wouldn't lie and say you'd forget. I've read it once and I think only watched the film once. It's just one of those shockers as you realise what could be going on during these traumatising times as it is.

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  10. I don't read a lot of books like this, but thought provoking books are different from my norm so maybe I should give something like this a try sometime x

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    1. Yeah it's certainly something that gets the mind thinking and gives some awareness x

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  11. I remember seeing the movie that came from this story. It was very disturbing but it's important to learn about the good and bad parts of history.

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    1. Very true Liz, the film I've only been able to watch once, it's just stuck with me.

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  12. Sounds like a very thought provoking book - everything about war saddens me :-(

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  13. Thought provoking but definitely not for me, I like my Crime Thrillers as they never tend to be real life stories which I can just about cope with x

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    1. Aw, I understand that. Yeah I tend to always go for real life stories. Thanks for the comment x

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  14. A thought provoking book. This look really interesting to read and something I will pick up. xx

    www.annanuttall.com

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    1. Truly is. Yes it's one to read if you're interested in true crime xo

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  15. This sounds like a truly interesting read but definitely one for a strong stomach for true crime and atrocities that take place in our world. H x

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    1. Very true, it does stay with you for quite a while x

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  16. This sounds like one of those books that I need to read as a feminist, but won't enjoy the subject-I think there's definitely a reason to inform ourselves about these things and based on your review I'll be picking this up. Thanks for sharing this one.

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    1. Oh I know what you mean. Yeah it's a sensitive subject, it's not a book I feel you would enjoy the subject but raising awareness and noticing more the ill treatment of women is something of importance.

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  17. This is something my Grandad would read, thanks for the idea for Christmas!

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    1. Ah amazing, you're welcome. Hope you find a copy!

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  18. Your reviews of true crime books are really making me want to read some, or at least pick up one of my non-fiction books. I don't read enough non-fiction!

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    1. Thank you Kira, I appreciate that. Haha and I'm the total opposite, I don't read enough fiction!

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  19. I don't think I am brave enough to read this but I enjoyed reading your review!

    xoxo, Candice
    http://www.candicenikeia.com

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    1. Thanks Candice, for your comment, yeah not for everyone xo

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  20. I've never read a look like this before - maybe I need to soon X

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    1. It's definitely not for everyone, but I do love me some true crime lol x

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  21. It sounds like it's a difficult read but thought provoking.

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    1. Very much so, it's not an easy read and I've only read it once.

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  22. Great review, I don't really read books about war as I find them too sad. I think my friend however will love this.

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    1. Thank you Melanie, this has been the first book I've ever read about war it's not too focused on the war itself more so the crime and aftermath.

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  23. My daddy would like the sound of this! Perfect for his birthday next month! Sounds too harrowing for my mummy!

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    1. Aw, I hope daddy get's this book for his birthday.

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  24. I don't tend to read books like this but my next door neighbour does. She's always telling me about them over the fence! Perhaps I should try one xxx

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    1. Ha, I love that. Book club over the fence! Yeah it's different for me due to where it's set within a war but the true crime aspect gets me xo

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  25. This sounds like a great read, gut wrenching but a really informative one.

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    1. It is, it is, really informative to give you an inside of what could be going on regularly during wars and just how far the cover up could go.

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  26. This seems like a serious book. I'd love to have a read too.

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    1. Serious and gut wrenching but it's a good insight into other crimes during wars.

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  27. I don't read books but this does sound worth reading but a hard read to

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    1. Definitely is a hard read but I'm glad I've had an insight.

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