Steel My Soldiers’ Hearts is the account of retired Colonel David Hackworth’s second tour in Vietnam as the commander of the 9th Infantry Division (Edwards). Before he was assigned to take over the battalion, his predecessor left the soldiers in a poor condition—there was appoint when the whole command was left in the middle of a minefield and it registered to have one of the highest percentage in casualties—and thus, the group became demoralized. Armed with mighty heart, wisdom for combating and the perseverance of a soldier, he transformed the battalion into one of the most hardworking group during the Vietnam War (Hackworth).
The book is primarily written with Eilhys England but once you start reading it, you can feel as if that it Hackworth is talking to you. He used very vivid tone and language that sets an incredibly detailed set-up of his camp. Upon reading, you can thoroughly picture the scenario of the camp and he was also able to describe the aspirations and angst of his infantrymen. Hackworth was also very open about the fact that he used his tough personality to turn the battalion into a very effective and efficient fighting force during the war.
Furthermore, he was also very strong-willed and courageous because he was not afraid to name names in the book. He named the people that stood in his way to have that battalion. The result was a very comprehensible and gritty tale that is pinched with smart epigrammatic prose that was pouring with reconstructed dialogue (Edwards). In the end, with the author’s commanding tone and sense of self-worth, he created a portrait of himself as a commander who is full of honesty, guts, commanding and leadership; that consequently turned himself into someone who is more concerned for the welfare for his man.
Moreover, Hackworth is someone who had enough experience of the terrain; which in return, is one of the reasons why he was able to lead the battalion as if he had been there before—it seemed as if he knows the ins and out of the place that is why, he was able to come up with brilliant strategies. It was also obviuos by the way Hackworth illustrated his experiences as if that he is still trying to promote himself and as the savior of the said battalion. He was also very detailed when he was telling about his planned strategies against the Guerillas.
His almost illustrated account of the whole scenario makes the book as a simple guide for future commanders. With all the knowledge about military training and fierce combat strategies that Hackworth was able to provide for Eilhys, they were able to make a handbook for any succeeding military operations that we may encounter. As a whole, it was a very informative and impressive work of story-telling. After writing a couple of books before this one, Hackworth still never dissapoints his avid readers.
He already knew what the right formula for his target audience is—and that is substancial amount of information and facts, detailed recollection of his mastered events (in this case, the war in Vietnam), and a knack for the appropriate words to use. Honestly, Hackworth was very effective in using his abilities and charms. He gave a very picturesque account of his experience. With this in mind, we had the chance to have a part of Hackworth’s experience as one of the greastest commander in the Vietnam War.
And to be able to have read his book is truly a wonderful experience—I appreciated more thewar veterans because of Hackworth’s experiences and the battles they’ve been through. He makes the reader feel as if that he is actually the one experiencing it eventhough they are only reading his book.
Edwards, Harry C. (2002). December 13, 2007 <http://www. amazon. com/Steel-Soldiers-Hearts-Transformation-Battalion/dp/1590710029>. Hackworth, David H. Steel My Soldiers’ Hearts: The Hopeless to Hardcore Transformation of the U. S. Army, 4th Battalion, 39th Infantry, Vietnam 1st ed: Rugged Land, 2002.