The Only War We Had

A Platoon Leader’s Journal of Vietnam

978-1-58544-604-9 Paperback
5.5 x 8.5 x 0 in
310 pp. 1 b&w photo. 1 map.
Pub Date: 06/18/2007


  • Paperback $19.95
“In my year in Vietnam, I walked the booby-trapped rice paddies of the Delta, searching for the elusive Viet Cong, and later macheted my way through the triple-canopy jungle, fighting the North Vietnamese Regulars. . . . I sweated, thirsted, hunted, killed. Somewhere in all my experiences, I overlapped the situations of nearly every infantryman and many others who served.”

Michael Lee Lanning’s journal of his first tour of duty in Vietnam provides an unvarnished daily account of life in the field—the blood, fear, camaraderie, and tedium of combat and maneuver. Fleshed out with narrative and detail years later, the pages of this memorable book, first published in 1987, show an eager young recruit growing before the reader’s eyes into a proud but bloodied combat veteran.

Subsequent volumes in his Vietnam Trilogy will detail Lanning’s tour as a company commander and his post-war investigation into the mind of the enemy. Through his eyes, readers see the reality of a war that did not always receive glory but was, in his words, “the only war we had.”

Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History Series

Published by Texas A&M University Press