This memoir’s value is more that of a historical document than a great work of nonfiction, given its narrow scope and rather prosaic content. However, there is an admirable simplicity in the portrayal of one man’s dedication to do the best he could in a messy scenario – providing what was often unwelcome assistance against the idealistic Vietcong to a corrupt South Vietnamese government. Herrington’s point of view is both valuable and unusual in that it is in touch with the attitudes of the South Vietnamese villagers, many of whom he portrays as more willing to live in peace under Communism than suffer through an American-assisted war. I was surprised to learn that, in general, the North Vietnamese soldiers were well-motivated and idealistic, honestly eager to free their southern brothers from an “evil puppet government” and fully convinced of the merits of Communism.
This book is at its best in its portrayals of POWs, turned informants through Herrington’s strategic insistence that they be treated as human beings and won over gently. His methods of exhaustively documenting all the information he gleaned, to be used later to crosscheck new information and build profiles on suspected Vietcong, were truly impressive.
[Why I read it: recommended by my brother.]