December 4, 2017 – This week, our time machine travels back 50 years to one of the Vietnam War’s massive set pieces: The Tet Offensive. This series of simultaneous attacks by the communist North on 36 cities, aimed to weaken support both within the Vietnamese republic in the South and across the Pacific in the United States.
Our guest, Doug Stanton, embeds his readers with 46 fresh, young American soldiers in Echo Company: An Army reconnaissance platoon of the 101st Airborne Division. Some of those men had only been in country for a few weeks when they found themselves facing waves of battle-hardened Viet Cong guerrillas, often in hand-to-hand combat, at the point of a bayonet.
Doug Stanton captures their story through the eyes of 20-year-old Stanley Parker in The Odyssey of Echo Company: The 1968 Tet Offensive and the Epic Battle to Survive the Vietnam War. Mr. Stanton is a journalist, lecturer, screenwriter, and the author of New York Times bestsellers In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors. He also brought us Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of US Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan, which is the basis for a Jerry Bruckheimer film coming in 2018.
Doug Stanton’s work has appeared in a wide number of top publications, and he’s been a contributing editor at Outside. He’s also a founder of the National Writers Series. For more, visit DougStanton.com or follow him on Twitter @DougStantonBook.
Also mentioned in this episode is author/illustrator Marcelino Truong’s graphic memoir on growing up in the ultimately doomed Republic of Vietnam: Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63.