American History, Period 1
Fields of Fire
2013 February 22
Review of Fields of Fire
Fields of Fire by James Webb is a historical novel first published in 1978 that takes place in the year 1969 during the Vietnam War. Although there are many characters that are significant to the story, the novel focuses mainly on three marines who find themselves in a platoon with each other; Robert E. Lee Hodges, “Snake,” and Will “Senator” Goodrich. Webb gives the reader a great, detailed background of each of these characters through a combination of both direct and indirect characterization. As the novel progresses, major events that occur include battle and violence, loss and coping, and learning. The themes that naturally accompany these events, given the setting, are leadership, a loss of purpose, and the effects of war on people. Being a veteran of the Vietnam War himself, Webb wrote this novel to demonstrate the real gruesomeness of war, in addition to showing that many soldiers involved did not even have a true reason for fighting.
Before writing this novel, James Webb was an officer in the Vietnam War. Webb served as a Platoon Commander in the United States Marine Corps from 1968 to 1972. He retired after earning an exceptional range of awards as a 1st Lieutenant Officer. Webb has been awarded the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts, in addition to a Navy Cross, which is the second highest decoration in the Navy and Marine Corps. Webb’s highly decorated military profile and experience easily gives him authority to write on subjects dealing with war, especially those dealing with the Vietnam War.
In addition to his military history, Webb has a respectable background in education. Webb graduated from a high school located in Bellevue, Nebraska. While attending the United States Naval Academy, where he graduated from in 1968, Webb was a member of the Brigade Honor Committee. After serving time in Vietnam, he returned to...