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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.

What listeners say about About Face

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OUTSTANDING!!

This is one of the best books I've listened to so far. Since Col. Hackworth Rt. Left before he received his stars, allow me to give him 5. I must tell you that the narrator was also outstanding...he made the book come alive...a superb job of reading.
David

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Best book I’ve listened to so far

Col hackworth was one of America’s greatest leaders and it was inspiring to hear his story. Totally worth the length of content though I wish he would have spent more time on his epilogue and gone through strategy a bit more in depth. Highly recommended.

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Must read For Leadership, and Discipline

This book will keep you hooked. From childhood deviant to trying to save the lives of all his men and the lives of all those who serve. His lessons on leadership, discipline, are extremely valuable and easy to listen to

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outstanding

loved the book it was interesting and well read. book got a bit dry in the middle but finished strong.

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One Of The Best

An incredible work by Col. Hackworth. Wildly entertaining, thought provoking, and massively insightful. This book taught me far more than I expected, and gave me an insight into the US military I never expected. I think this is a valuable read not just for those interested in military history, but those interested in politics, psychology, and the human nature. 10/10

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Extraordinary

This book, both in content, and in its execution as an unabridged audiobook is an absolute masterpiece. It is, without question, one of the finest examples of autobiographical-style personal and military histories ever to have been written. While not every piece of Col. Hackworth's character is commendable, nobody will disagree with his honesty. This book shows the bumps and all. The book is masterfully researched, and the preface goes into great detail on the exhaustive work done to verify some of the incredible events detailed throughout the book.

Some of the quotes that start each chapter (especially if you're a military buff) will tug on your emotional wires.

Regardless of if you are a history buff, captain of a sports team, a student, a military officer, a business owner, a professional or "regular person", you will find something in this book. It is packed full of very subtle yet clever tricks and tactics for exceptional leadership. It also shows a remarkable transformation of Hackworth as a person, from a naive young man, to hard-as-rocks infantry combat veteran, to leader, to pacifist (although his transition to peacetime, and his work as an award-winning journalist and his family life post-war is not detailed, which is a shame, because I'm sure it is equally as fascinating)

John Pruden, the narrator, is the perfect voice - his gravelly, expressive and rich voice makes this book an absolute pleasure to listen to.

You likely wont (and probably shouldn't, by hackworths own account) agree with every decision he made, but that is part of the allure of this book. Hackworth is full of bravado and brazeness, but is also equal part humble, and you can take a lot of lessons learned from his mistakes as well.

This book should be mandatory reading for anyone seriously considering taking on a leadership role.

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Excellent book!

I came in expecting to get one thing from this book and ended up with something different, I feel that at the heart of his book it gives you a perspective of life and how to live free with integrity and being a good person to all that cross your path.

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awesome

what a great look at what it means to be a man and leader.

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Eye opening story

A perspective on the Korean and Vietnam wars that I’ve never heard before. A fantastic life story as well.

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I had very mixed feelings about the book and auth

Some parts were informative. Some made me think. I felt at times Hackworth had a bit of an ego problem. Especially in the earlier part of the book. He seemed to mature as he progressed. The whole book is enough to make a person wonder.

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  • Tom Rogneby
  • 2019-07-18

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.

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  • DesmoProfundis
  • 2019-10-22

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.

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  • Jacob Smith
  • 2020-01-02

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.

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  • Joe
  • 2019-09-13

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.

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  • NYHikerJohn
  • 2020-08-23

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.

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  • Aaron Fidler
  • 2020-02-10

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.

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  • tbrooks302
  • 2019-11-24

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.

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  • Kaylese
  • 2019-11-14

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!

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  • Alex
  • 2020-01-19

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.

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  • Ian H.
  • 2019-12-11

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.

2 people found this helpful