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Publisher's Summary

In October 1969, Captain William Albracht, the youngest Green Beret in Vietnam, took command of a remote hilltop outpost called Fire Base Kate, held by only 27 American soldiers and 150 Montagnard militiamen. He found their defenses woefully unprepared. At dawn the next morning, three North Vietnamese Army regiments - some 6,000 men - crossed the Cambodian border and attacked. Outnumbered three dozen to one, Albracht's men held off repeated ground assaults by communist forces with fierce hand-to-hand fighting, air support, and a dangerously close B-52 strike. For days, the NVA blanketed Kate in a rain of rockets, mortars, artillery, machineguns, and small arms, blocking efforts to resupply, reinforce, or evacuate the outpost. Albracht continually exposed himself to enemy fire to direct air strikes, to guide re-supply helicopters, to distribute ammunition and water to his men, to retrieve the dead and to rescue the wounded, often shielding men with his own body. Wounded by rocket shrapnel, he refused medical attention or evacuation. Exhausted from days without sleep, he continued to rally his men to beat off each new enemy attack.

After five days, Kate's defenders were out of ammo and water. Aerial resupply was suicidal, and reinforcements were denied by military commanders who had written off Kate. Albracht refused to surrender or die in place. Refusing to allow his men to surrender, Albracht led his troops, including many wounded, off the hill and on a daring night march through enemy lines.

Abandoned in Hell is an astonishing memoir of leadership, sacrifice, and brutal violence, a riveting journey into Vietnam's heart of darkness, and a compelling reminder of the transformational power of individual heroism. Not since Lone Survivor and We Were Soldiers Once, and Young has there been such a gripping and authentic account of battlefield courage.

©2015 William Albracht and Marvin Wolf (P)2015 Recorded Books

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What listeners say about Abandoned in Hell

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing story

Any additional comments?

Once you finally get to the story, its a great book. But there's actually only about 3 hours worth of "story". The first 5 hours of this book is setting up for the story. But it's worth getting to the good stuff.

3 people found this helpful

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The Best Read about Vietnam Combat Bases!

Would you listen to Abandoned in Hell again? Why?

I most certainly will!. This is how a good writer can take a story right to your heart! This is a must read for those interested in the Vietnam War and a prime example how a narator can hold your attention to such a deree you hate to stop the listen!

What was one of the most memorable moments of Abandoned in Hell?

When the Fire Base Leader began to lead his troops to safety under such hopeless odds. Never give up was my leason!

What does Brian O'Neill bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His voice rises, falls & pauses at all of the right times. I"d love to have a beer with him! Great job.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, but time constraints would not allow it in one go.

Any additional comments?

This is just how all Books should be written & read! Perfect for me.ND John

3 people found this helpful

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Military/Political stupidity hasn't changed

What did you love best about Abandoned in Hell?

The story was amazing. It somehow captures the chaotic nature of combat very clearly. It also hints at the amazingly stupid beuarcracy in the DoD, that would sacrifice men's lives to prove a policy theory. Its one thing to die for ground or an objective, but this book highlights the stupidity of letting men die to promote your career or silly ideology.

2 people found this helpful

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A great read

Well researched, written, and narrated, Abandoned in Hell is an incredible account of the struggle for Firebase Kate and one I knew little about prior to this. Highly recommended.

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Name pronunciations

I think the narrator could have did a better job of pronoincing names of Vietnamese villages & towns with a little help.

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A Remarkable True Story of Beating the Odds

An intense tale of soldiers who found themselves surrounded by superior NVA forces at a fire support base in the Central Highlands of Viet Nam. The author documents the heroic actions and leadership of those who stepped up and stuck their necks out to take charge, making it possible to hold back recurring artillery and ground attacks until withdrawal by night time escape became necessary. Also documented were the heroic airmen who risked life and limb to deliver ammo, water, and supplies to those under siege, as well as the FOs and attack pilots who helped to hold back the hoards of attacking NVA. I sensed the author 's bitterness at being denied the support of the upper echelons of both the South Vietnamese and US Army commands, at a time when "Vietnamization" was supposed to be taking place. The writing style of the book was engaging and the narration was excellent. As one who has had virtually no contact with the men with whom I served, I found the author's post-war biographies of the men he served with at Fire Support Base Kate most heartening. Despite the hardships they had endured, most went on to enjoy rewarding relationships and careers.

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  • MK
  • 02-17-21

Fantastic Read.

One of the best books out there. Capt. Albracht writes about fire base Kate in such a way that you are there with him during his time there. Exhilarating, and horrified of the many dangers he and his men faced each day. The camaraderie and brotherhood that was exhibited during their war time battles is a thing of beauty that most do not understand unless one was in the Military or L.E. As an American, whether you believe in war or not, we should be thankful everyday for the sacrifices these men gave in a cause they themselves they may or may not have believed in, but honor them for the courage they exhibited and the sacrifices they made during their time of combat. Captain Albracht style of writing is honest and captures the frantic moments of battle but also acknowledges the heroism of each man while under combat. The other wonderful thing Captain Albracht did at the end of his book (Story) was to give an update of their personal lives of the men he served with which is a touching way to end the book. Captain Albracht and all the men and women who serve in our military, thank you for your service and welcome home......

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wow

You don't fully understand what our soldiers went through until you hear 1st hand accounts like this. This is a book you could listen beginning to end without stop.

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Amazing and captivating

This story gives great insight into the life of Soldiers during Vietnam during a short but decisive battle. It also tells the story of post war life for many of the Soldiers involved. There are leadership lessons to be taken away from this story, as well as history to be learned.

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Another fucking courtesy of the US military

Here's yet another example of the US military fucking its soldiers and getting away with it. I'll never understand why the "commanders" seem to think they know everything when even a nonmilitary person, with no military training, can see the situation is FUBAR. The book itself is really good. Make you laugh, cry, and piss you off! Well it did for me anyhow. Narration is pretty good, although some accents seemed to be off.