Keith Nightingale’s accomplishments in both military and civilian life largely contribute to the excellence of Just Another Day in Vietnam as a memoir of unusual depth as well as breadth.
Uniquely adopting a third-person omniscient point of view, Nightingale eschews the “I” of memoir in favor of multiple perspectives and a larger historical vision that afford equal time and weight to ally and enemy alike. Examples of the many perspectives based on real-life characters include: Hu, a VC “informant” whose false information led the Rangers straight into the jaws of a ferocious ambush; General Tanh, the COSVN commander; Major Nguyen Hiep, the 52d Ranger Commander; and Ranger POWs later returned by the North.
Nightingale moreover offers the point of view of an American advisor to elite Vietnamese troops, a vital perspective regrettably underrepresented in the literature of Vietnam, including Burns’ documentary. Added to this are well-informed conjecture of enemy psychology; insight into the dedication and often misunderstood role of the elite Vietnamese Ranger forces; the intelligence acquired from debriefing captured Rangers, whose captors had told them that the entire battle had been a carefully staged attack planned by COSVN as part of a larger Total War strategy developed by the leadership of the North Vietnamese Army; and an eyewitness account by a gifted author who is a rare survivor of one of the most vicious—and heretofore forgotten—battles of the war.
The Ranger Battalion
A Proper Regiment
The 175 Artillery Battery
The Mortar Gunners
Movement to Contact
The Pickup Zone
Aid to Brothers
Division of Responsibility
The Black Lines
Softly in the Night
The Shoal of Fish
Infantry and Air
Bien Hoa Control
The VC Prisoner
The Ranger Prisoners
The Arc Light
The B-52 Strike—Air
The B-52 Strike—Ground
The General Returns
To The Work
"Just Another Day in Vietnam is destined to be a classic and it is a must read for both those who have experienced battle and those contemplating their first exposure to enemy fire." ~On Point: The Journal of Army History
"Exhilarating and illuminating. A must read by any measure. 'Just Another Day In Vietnam' should be mandatory reading in the army’s and marine’s professional education systems—especially for leaders in the combat arms, for they will learn what their country may ask of them. All schools with war or security studies programs should make Nightingale’s book essential reading, future policy makers will learn of the ultimate effects their decisions may have on those carrying them out in far-away places. 'Just Another Day in Vietnam' will become a classic." ~LTG (Ret) James Dubik
"The account is riveting, heart-pounding and mind-racing—just as the battle was for those who fought it...If I were a battalion commander, I would make this book mandatory reading for all my lieutenants." ~ARMY Magazine
"Nightingale’s writing style differs significantly from most I have read about the Vietnam War. It often contains touches of poetic writing and passion." ~The VVA Veteran
“I wasn’t expecting for it to move me like it did” ~The History Shelf
"An information packed and inherently riveting read from cover to cover, "Just Another Day in Vietnam" by Colonel Keith M. Nightingale (retired) will prove to be an enduringly valued and appreciated addition to the growing library of Vietnam War histories and memoirs." ~Midwest Book Review
“A gripping account of intense close combat on the ground in Vietnam. Colonel (Ret.) Keith Nightingale, at the time a first lieutenant American Ranger advisor, describes in graphic detail the ambush of a highly decorated South Vietnamese Ranger battalion – and the heroic actions that follow as the Rangers fight their way out of the trap into which they had been inserted. Nightingale provides an enthralling, vivid description of the battle – from both enemy and friendly perspectives – that will keep you reading intently until the very end!” ~General (Ret.) David Petraeus, Commander of the Surge in Iraq and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan, Director of the CIA.
“A work of great literary merit and profound human insight. It captures the universal nature and essence of high-intensity infantry warfare; the warfighting skill and valor of Vietnamese soldiers on both sides; and the role and significance of American military advisers from division headquarters down to battalion level. A classic.” ~Robert L. Goldich, former defense analyst and military historian, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 1972-2005.
"The author narrates the thoughts and actions of Communist commanders based upon intelligence gathered by debriefing members of the 52d Rangers that had been captured and repatriated by the Viet Cong. This provides a narrative not often found in Vietnam War memoirs. He also provides the reader with an education on how combat operations are planned, developed, and executed." ~The Journal of America's Military Past
'It provides a good backdrop to the operation, with an intense account of the fighting…'' ~Miniature Wargames
"If you really want to know how modern Special Operations forces began, you must read this book. It is truly a classic of 'Inside baseball' combined with literary skill. I learned things I never knew but were extremely consequential for the Nation. Truly a Must Read. Keith knows this form of combat and was a true warrior in every sense. This is an important work and I don't say that lightly. " ~Gen (Ret) Barry McCaffery
"If you want to know about war, Keith Nightingale is your man." ~Tom Ricks, Pulitzer-Prize winning military correspondent
"It's set in War Zone D Vietnam, but its universal story of men at war could as easily be told at Gettysburg or on the plains of Troy." ~Dennis Murphy, Emmy-winning war correspondent
"Keith is an Infantry warrior whose boots have traveled many grounds and whose pen describes them in marvelous detail. Read this amazing account of combat in Vietnam." ~Gen (Ret) Volney Warner
"Keith Nightingale has written a vivid, passionate book on our nation's combat, infantrymen, and the wars we have asked them to fight. His reflections brim with insights, some sharply drawn, some downright poetic." ~Susan Eisenhower, CEO, The Eisenhower Group, Inc.