A powerful work of literary military history from the New York Times best-selling author of In Harm's Way and Horse Soldiers - the harrowing and redemptive account of an American army platoon fighting for survival during the Vietnam War.
On a single night, January 31, 1968, some 100,000 soldiers in the North Vietnamese Army attacked 36 cities throughout South Vietnam, hoping to topple that government and dislodge American forces. The 12 American boys of the recon platoon of the 101st Airborne Division, average age 19, are from small farms, California beach towns, and big cities like Chicago, and they are cast into a war they neither understand nor ultimately feel they can win. The fighting was hand-to-hand, nonstop, and waged in endless small battles that forged this group into a lifelong brotherhood of survivors. The Odyssey of Echo Company is about the young men who survived 60 days on the run from the enemy during the Tet Offensive, at the height of the Vietnam War.
Each young man lived 100 years in these days and came home to a country that did not understand, and didn't try to understand, what they had survived. They came home winners because they were alive but were losers for having fought there. When they arrived, they landed in San Francisco, took off their uniforms, and walked back into America, where they fell silent and realized that not many wanted to hear the remarkable story they had to tell - until now.
Based on hundreds of hours of interviews, dozens of detailed letters written to and from Echo Company soldiers, a huge trove of Pentagon after-action reports, and travel to the scenes of battle with the American soldiers and some of their Vietnamese enemy soldiers, The Odyssey of Echo Company breaks through the wall of time to tell this important story of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.