History we need to know, told in an utterly riveting way.
That's how I'd describe "Legend."
If you read James Bradley's "Flags of our Fathers" and "Flyboys" for World War II, then you should read "Legend" for the Vietnam War... and Karl Marlantes novel "Matterhorn" also.
This book focuses on Special Forces staff sergeant Roy Benavidez, who willingly placed himself in grave danger on behalf of his fellow soldiers, and who saved multiple lives while sustaining terrible injuries. Ultimately, he was recognized with the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Eric Blehm mined never-before-released documents and made use of extensive personal testimonies to create as full a picture as possible of the May 2, 1968 Special Forces mission and all what led up to it. As an author, he puts the facts together coherently, but he also tells compelling personal stories.
We get to read excerpts of letters and transcripts of audio tapes sent home by these these soldiers to their families. We see their character, their fortitude, their fidelity. We see young men (ordinary young men- who never expected to be called heroes) who knew what it was like to stare death in the face daily, to eat and drink war, and who did what was necessary to protect their brothers in arms. They made the hard choices. They spent themselves in the name of serving their country. We see "greater love has no man than this- to lay down his life for his friends" in all its original rawness.
I'd put this book on a required-reading for high school students.
Now I'm off to wrap and mail my copy down to a college age cousin who's minoring in Military History.
I thank Crown Publishers for providing me with a review copy through Blogging for Books.