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Reviewed by Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite
James Milliken joined the Army in 1968 after graduating from college and working briefly. He was sent to Vietnam and became a member of the Third Platoon, Delta Company, going immediately into battle against the North Vietnam Army (NVA) and the Vietcong. Milliken writes of what he and the men of the Third Platoon faced each day. They learned to watch incessantly for booby traps, bombs, and Vietcong hidden in the dense jungle greenery or in the "hootches", the homes of local Vietnamese. Becoming water soaked was a daily event for them as all too often duty called for them to be submerged in rice paddie waters, waiting and watching for the enemy. Milliken and the men of the Third Platoon, Pete Wood, Clyde Poland, and Larry Boneck, among others, became a "band of brothers" in that day to day experience of the horrors they encountered in the Vietnam War.
"Enter and Die" is an accurate recounting of a soldier's day to day life in the six months he served before being seriously wounded and hospitalized. Author Milliken writes honestly about his own feelings, of not enjoying "kills", and of speaking back to his Army superiors. He writes extraordinarily well of the men he fought with and the readers will feel that they are standing beside Milliken and the men of the Third Platoon through each maneuver. Post traumatic battle stress is well-dealt with in the pages of this book. Milliken makes it quite clear that back in that not so distant time, no one knew how a young man suffered, going from everyday life into that of a hardened soldier, trained to kill. That Vietnam veterans were called losers and often spit upon was not fair to say the least. "Enter and Die" is a thought provoking book and should be widely read by people everywhere.