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The Killing Zone

My Life in the Vietnam War
Written by: Frederick Downs
Narrated by: Barry Press
Length: 9 hrs and 29 mins
5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 31.27
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Publisher's Summary

Among the best books ever written about men in combat, The Killing Zone tells the story of the platoon of Delta One-six, capturing what it meant to face lethal danger, to follow orders, and to search for the conviction and then the hope that this war was worth the sacrifice. The book includes a new chapter on what happened to the platoon members when they came home.

©2007 Frederick Downs (P)2017 Tantor

What the critics say

"The best damned book from the point of view of the infantrymen who fought there." ( Army Times)

What members say

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • John OBrien
  • 2017-06-21

It dont mean nuthin.

As a Marine Corps infantryman who served in Vietnam as a machine gunner, this author brings home to the uninitiated the horrors of combat. I highly recommend this book if you want a full understanding of what the Grunts endured in a war that our government had no intention of ever winning due to political unwillingness. There was no plan to win, when you fight for the same real estate time and time again, all our government did was lead patriotic young men to the slaughter and kept the fat cat businessmen wealthy. The Brave soldiers in this book are my Brothers, I know first hand what they went thru. We were mistreated by our countrymen when we returned home and blamed for this Foley and total waste of lives for nothing. Worse yet, our own government who sent us turned their backs on us , but had no problem sending us. I feel a bond with these men, I salute them and think of all the killed in action and the maimed for life and pray for them and their families. God Bless them all. Semper Fidelis.

Jack O'Brien
Charlie Company 1st bn 3rd Marines
March 1968- Feb 1969
Dai Do Survivor.

35 of 36 people found this review helpful

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  • Nick H.
  • 2017-10-05

Vietnam experience

H
adn't read a Vietnam era book in ages and this one will take you for a brutal and unrelenting ride. brutality of war abounds in this book and demonstrates the bravery of the Americans who served and died in that conflict. Highly recommended

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2017-05-04

One of a kind story.

A remarkable book, and author. A true story of selflessness, realism, and bravery. No facts of the difficult lives these men faced were spared.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Steve Hillman MD
  • 2017-09-06

A great record of "Nam"

Lt Downs leads us down the jungle trail to manhood. From the wide eyed sweat soaked FNG to seemingly invulnerable platoon leader, to international emissary, he takes us along. This is a must read for warriors, past, present and future; as well as those hoping to avoid war at all costs.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • R. Denton
  • 2017-08-18

Maybe good story, but horrible narration

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Either give the narrator some coffee, or make him listen to how professionals do this. I'm having to return this though only in Chapter 3. The bizarre enunciation of every, single, word, regardless of whether it is a firefight or filling a canteen is insane. It is so distracting that the story cannot compete. I sampled later chapters to see if the pace picked up as the author's experience increased during his tour, but it's the same plodding narration throughout.

What other book might you compare The Killing Zone to and why?

n/a

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Barry Press?

Anyone else who can read and speak English in a conversational or storytelling manner.

What else would you have wanted to know about Frederick Downs’s life?

Could not finish the book.

Any additional comments?

From the review I have read here and for printed version it sounds like an excellent piece, but desperately needs a new narrator.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2017-12-07

A solid and honest POV

Really enjoyed this book. some great gripping moments and a book to give to you good insight into what it was really like for a soldier in the Vietnam war.

the voice was a little bland to start with but you get used to it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Chris
  • 2017-07-02

Ugh

The narrator's insistence on over pronouncing every hard consonant it so annoying, I stopped after a few chapters. Unlistenable, which is unfortunate.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • mark
  • 2017-05-19

Unlistenable - The author speaks too slowly

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The author speaks unreasonably slowly, choppy, and deliberately. It is very unnatural, and is so distracting that I can't get through this book.

7 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Lawrence J. Kelley
  • 2019-04-07

Airborne Infantry Platoon Leader

Great Job. Best account of describing the difficulty of moving an Infantry Platoon through areas with challenging terrain while being either very hot or very wet. The dates of your tour were the dates I was in OCS at Ft. Benning. We were commisoned 11 Dec 67 OC 69/67, many wert to flight school or got Branch Transfers. After Jungle Warfare school in Panama I went to Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division in Nov 1968, and made it to July 69 was wounded and ended up at Ft, Sam Houston. We were in a free fire zone and did not experience the VC & VCS, After reading your accounts it does not justify what Lt. Calley did, but it explains why he did what he did. Good job writing and great job working with the VA. The VA in Houston gives excellent service, you just need to learn the system.
I have recommended your book to many of my friends - Veterans and non-veterans.
Larry Kelley - Texas

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  • David H.
  • 2019-02-25

Nothing wrong with narration

I saw several people complaining about the guy reading the story. I found nothing of the sort. He did a fine job and it was pleasant to listen to Him speak. The book itself was another good example of a mans first hand account in the Vietnam war. The very beginning of the book describes the veteran with a prosthetic arm being disrespected by an American civilian here in the states. Examples like this make my stomach turn. I’m ashamed scum like that treatment of our country’s troops. I wish I could have been there to defend his honor. I would like to find a book filled with stories of vigilantes beating up hippies. Vile cowards that they were and are.