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Publisher's Summary

Called "everything a 20th-century war memoir could possibly be" by the New York Times, this national best seller by Colonel David H. Hackworth presents a vivid and powerful portrait of a life of patriotism.

From age 15 to 40, David Hackworth devoted himself to the US Army and fast became a living legend. In 1971, however, he appeared on television to decry the doomed war effort in Vietnam. With About Face, he has written what many Vietnam veterans have called the most important book of their generation. 

From Korea to Berlin, from the Cuban missile crisis to Vietnam, Hackworth's story is that of an exemplary patriot, played out against the backdrop of the changing fortunes of America and the American military. It is also a stunning indictment of the Pentagon's fundamental misunderstanding of the Vietnam conflict and of the bureaucracy of self-interest that fueled the war.

New York Times best seller. A Military Book Club Main Selection. A number-one Amazon.com best seller in Korean War Personal Narratives.

©2019 Colonel David H. Hackworth (P)2019 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about About Face

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Tells it like it happened, an amazing soldier

I was actually lucky enough to read this years ago and the audio version did not disappoint. Told without the glory or politics, just as it happened. Gritty, funny, sad, surprising.......very interesting to see it from an insiders view on how the US Army changed and evolved during time of war from Korea until after Vietnam. How the phonies prospered and the warriors were pushed out and not listened to.
A must have audio book!

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An excellent insight into the yank army mind.

I am impressed at how well the authors views, understandings and attitudes toward so many people types and almost everything encountered by army. At the same time the stories and examples used to plot a story line, his life in the USA army, were used well. I think anyone looking for a “hints and tips” and “things to watch out for” in leadership, would be well served by soaking this book up.
The language is often a drawback, I understand it deepens the view of how these men act and the covering of deficiencies but often the language left me recoiling and embarrassed by what I was listening to. Over all I’m glad to have listened to it and intend to periodically re-listen for reminders.

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great story

loved it fantastic story of his army life and a insight into the Korean war

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Should be a movie

Well narrated. Engaging story. The 40 hours seem to tick over effortlessly. Highly recommended. Thanks

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A Vital Book For Our Times

This is a vital work of history explaining much of the erosion of US military power over the past 70 years, and the effects of leadership choices on not just the army but the country itself and indeed the whole world. You can see the evolution of these trends in modern western society, and it points to a decay that shows little sign of slowing down.
Even though it's a big book and some parts are a bit dry, I found the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, slowly giving the reader deeper insights into leadership.

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fantastic book

great insight into 2 wars and the leadership skill employed to be a great military leader

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Absolute Classic read, you won’t be disappointed

Loved this book so much I listened to it twice.
Colonel Hackworths story from Korea to Vietnam is by far the best memoir from a Career Military man. You will be gripped as he becomes more disillusioned with the Military and Vietnam war. Must read

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Excellent Military History

Probably the most comprehensive and thoughtful history of a military career that I have ever read. While a little bit self-serving, this book is frank and honest about the author, his career, and the army he served in. I highlyrecommend tjis book to anyone with an interest in the wars involving the U.S.A. in the 20th Century.

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Leadership....in 40 short hours.

Read it....re-read it and listen to it again...you won't go wrong. This book tipifies a old school stud that loves his men.

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  • Tom Rogneby
  • 18-07-2019

An excellent adaptation of an excellent book

I discovered About Face: The Odyssey of an American Warrior as a private in 1990. I saw Colonel Hackworth do an interview to support the book, and I was fascinated by his quiet demeanor as he talked about a lifetime of service and combat. When I saw the book on display at the PX, I scooped it up and devoured it. It's been on my "Read This Often" reading list ever since.

About Face is a memoir, but it's one that's been tempered with the viewpoints of many of the people it talks about. Colonel Hackworth and Julie Sherman did a good job of coordinating his recollections with those of his friends and comrades from 3 decades of Army life. The book is made up of in-depth discussions of Hackworth's views on politics, the military, and leadership, all punctuated by mesmerizing tales of combat and the men he served with.

The final chapter, in which Hackworth talked about his views of the United States and her military circa 1988, is, to me, the most interesting of all. When the authors wrote those words, we were on the brink of the Berlin Wall falling, but were still poised for World War III starting somewhere in the Fulda Gap. The First Gulf War, Somalia, the Balkan War, 9/11, and the War on Terror were still in the future. Hackworth's insights are a remarkable look back at where we were. They lead me to look at where we've come and how the Reagan military he discusses were and were not prepared for the world we fell into in the years after his writing.

The narration by John Pruden is spot on. The book is liberally salted with military jargon, and it was very rare that it wasn't used or pronounced correctly. Pruden paced the story, over 40 hours long, very well. You could hear the emotion come through where it was appropriate, and his characterizations during the combat sequences painted a vivid picture.

If you already know Hackworth and Sherman, you'll enjoy this opportunity to experience this seminal work again. If you haven't read About Face or any of Colonel Hackworth and Ms. Sherman's other works and you enjoy good living history, you're in for a treat.

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  • DesmoProfundis
  • 22-10-2019

Wish I read it when I was a Pvt.

About Face: Odyssey Of An American Warrior -by Col. David Hackworth was an eye opener. Having been a Soldier my entire life, this book was a hard pill to swallow. Like most good medications however, it was necessary. If you were against the Vietnam War, please read this book. If you defend our actions in that war, please read this book. Either way... my God... either way it will touch you.

Hack was a warrior, a superhero on the battlefield, a force of nature. He was also an outspoken, down to earth NCO made Colonel that took no shit, nor put up with less than perfection from his subordinates or his leaders.

He was a whistle blower on the institution he loved so dearly. Was he wrong for that? Maybe. Is it a Hell of a story and a shit ton of lessons learned in the reading? Ab-so-lutely !

I thought about conversation I've had with Margaret Helveston, and with Susan Emshwiller 's husband Chris while I read this. I recommend this book to every American that is interested in what their military is doing with their sons, their daughters, and their taxes.

Having served in two wars after Hack's time, I can't say much has changed. I wonder if, in hindsight, the best lesson here is the futility of it all.

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  • Jacob Smith
  • 02-01-2020

This is by far the best book I have ever read/heard

This book is both an amazing leadership guide for civilians and military. The stories within this book are relatable and can be seen in the evolution of the US Army. Thank you Col. David H. Hackworth for your contributions to the Army, our great nation, and the world. Rest In Peace in Heaven where you will remain a warrior in our hearts.

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  • Jojo
  • 13-09-2019

Eye opening take from the front lines

Hackworth's story of his time in the military teaches you about many things. Leadership, courage and how to think for yourself inside a burocracy. Required reading for anyone who cares about being a leader.

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  • NYHikerJohn
  • 23-08-2020

Very interesting but just too long.

This book details the author's experiences in WW2, Korea and Vietnam. He is a true American hero. I'm a fan of military history books but this one taxed even me. The author describes seemingly every experience he had in the military from the time of his enlistment to his retirement. It is quite interesting but just too long.

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  • Aaron Fidler
  • 10-02-2020

Overrated and Boring

I asked for this book based on Jocko Willink’s mentioning in each of his books. The message could have been relayed in half the hours.

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  • tbrooks302
  • 24-11-2019

Great book

I enjoyed every minute of this book. It was entertaining and informative. Col Hackworth is a true American hero and a brave man. The narration is the best I’ve heard and I have an extensive library of audiobooks.

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  • Kaylese
  • 14-11-2019

Exceptional guide to Leadership and the US Army

This was written by a warrior, about warriors, but is meant for a much larger audience. it'll appeal to military men and women since they'll be able to glean a multitude of leadership principles herein, already tailored for those in uniform. while the author is a self-apologist, history certainly has backed many of his claims and ideas. a very worthy read for those who wish to understand the Army as well. hopefully the nation, or politics and military have come a long way since this was written!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Alex
  • 19-01-2020

Very long, but worth it!

About face can be an expression that means to take the opposite opinion. Very true with this book. Recommended by Jocko, approved by thousands of happy listeners. Many lessons, war stories, and critiques throughout the book.

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  • Ian H.
  • 11-12-2019

Amazing story

The story of David Hackworth is an amazing story. The reader does an awesome job. Just have a large amount of time to hear the full story.

2 people found this helpful

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  • gustishmaggi
  • 21-05-2020

Try it.

Very interesting. Worth the time. But this 15 word review nonsense is tiresome don't you think.

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  • Gs Greaves
  • 06-08-2019

The best war memoir I've read. An important book.

This is a true epic but doesn't feel too long, I blasted through this pretty quickly. It reveals what combat was like through the ranks and through the decades, it also has some warnings for the future which since publication we have seen begin to come to fruition. The book really does have everything and I recommend it to all, especially action fans and history buffs and anyone wanting to be inspired by this true legend and hero.

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  • chris
  • 28-08-2019

excellent

great true accurate , compelling
you will not be disappointed with this epic story , value for money

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  • Johnny
  • 27-07-2019

Real insight

Great historic accounting of the USA war middle management political ladder climbers that seemed not to care about the average soldier an arrogant viewpoint looking at personal glory in a political power hunger country bordering on facist state pretending to be a democratic one

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sam Brown
  • 09-01-2021

Best book I’ve ever read.

It’s not just a chronicle of Hackworth’s military career but a constant bombardment of tales of courage with a conclusive ending of standing up for what one believes in despite the costs.

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  • supersix
  • 16-12-2020

truley studdley

you must read this if you want to have a rounded insight into the vietnam war.. also too note the still unresolved korean conflict.
a true soldier.. and a great leader of men, hack is up there with the pantheon of patriots. . get it done..

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  • Murty37
  • 22-11-2020

attitude changing for the better

could be the best film ever made, if they made it.
so much honesty, humour, excitement, life skills and leadership out of it. somehow its matured me as a person by reading it

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 21-09-2020

About Trust

About Face is all about the trust. Trust is the highest form of capital that we know about. When all other capitals are gone you can always use trust. In short always use trust. Highly recommended book

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  • Christian Hansson
  • 16-09-2020

An important introspect on leadership

An honest, insightful and at sometimes slightly but refreshingly boastful take on leadership and the American military post WWII, experienced from the point of view of a true warrior, Colonel Hackworth.

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  • M Thomas
  • 02-07-2020

Definitely recommend

Long but well worth the time. Invaluable lessons in leadership that can be applied to any situation.

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