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About Face  By  cover art

About Face

By: Colonel David H. Hackworth US Army Ret.,Julie Sherman
Narrated by: John Pruden
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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.

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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.

43 people found this helpful

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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.

13 people found this helpful

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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.

12 people found this helpful

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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.

5 people found this helpful

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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.

4 people found this helpful

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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.

3 people found this helpful

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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.

3 people found this helpful

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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.

3 people found this helpful

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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.

3 people found this helpful

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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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  • gustishmaggi
  • 05-21-20

Try it.

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

2 people found this helpful

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  • chris
  • 08-28-19

excellent

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

2 people found this helpful

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  • Gs Greaves
  • 08-06-19

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.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Andreas Gschwari
  • 07-01-21

outstanding

probably one of the best books I have ever read/listened to and the reader's performance is fantastic.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Johnny
  • 07-27-19

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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  • Alan
  • 09-28-22

Amazing Story, Awesome Narrator!!!!

Seriously this bio is a MUST read! If you're not too into Military stuff the narration alone will keep you entertained!

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  • Jay Marwood
  • 02-27-22

outstanding guide for how to live as well as fight

Asuperb story,about every conceivable angle of leadership from the bottom up. It should be mandatory reading in all war colleges . Simply head and shoulders above the best Audiobooks I've ever listened to.

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  • Jon
  • 08-21-21

excellent

an extraordinary story brilliantly read about a great warrior who also has the ability to think through any problem. A fantastic story, well worth a listen. enjoy

  • Overall
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  • Dionne B.
  • 07-24-21

outstanding

the best 40 hours I have ever spent literally going to start it again now and takes notes hers to Hack

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-06-21

Just buy the book!! Your won’t regret it!!

If you have any interested in military history, leadership or just a collection of great story’s this is the book for you! Hack was a rockstar!

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 05-18-20

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.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Paul
  • 09-03-19

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!

2 people found this helpful

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  • luke
  • 03-04-20

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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Josh
  • 10-26-22

Amazing

I didn't know what to expect but it was certainly worth the read. Very real and informative.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-10-22

Warrior

Excellent book written by one of the Americas best soldiers who rose from the ranks and was mustang commisioned in Korean war . Narrated very well .

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kerry H
  • 07-16-22

Enthralling

I was worried a long book would be boring but each part had me gripped. lessons that should have been learned and how to lead are important takes.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Dale Clark
  • 01-13-22

Not what I was expecting

40 hours of reciting conversations, not what I was expecting but might be exactly what some
people are looking for.

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  • Blackbishop
  • 06-02-21

A must read for the man and the history

an amazing look into the life of fascinating man, who is not afraid to admit to his own feet of clay. More insight into the futility of the Vietnam War, but told by a soldier, who demonstrated it could have been fight differently and more effectively.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-23-21

great story

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

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  • John
  • 03-19-21

Should be a movie

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