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Inside the Green Berets

Charles M. Simpson III
Out of Print
Berkley Books (1983)

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This entry created 26 May 2023. Last revised on 26 May 2023.

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©1994-2024 Bill Armintrout
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Inside the Green Berets

The First Thirty Years - The Story of the U.S. Army Special Forces

Rating: gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star no star no star (8.00)

259 pages. Foreword, preface, epilogue, index.

There is a considerable advantage in having a history of this branch of the military written by someone who involved at the time. "I was there," writes the author, who spent nine years in Special Forces, leading troops in Germany and Vietnam.

The problem would be if the author is too laudatory about Special Forces, or avoids issues. "Mistakes have been made," writes the author, "and I have tried to identify them without bias."

What you get in this volume, therefore, is an overview of the first three decades of U.S. Special Forces. How the concept was experimented with during WWII and the Korean War, how it was institutionalized during the Cold War for guerilla warfare, and how it transitioned into a counterinsurgency emphasis during the Vietnam War. Also describes the many ways in which Special Forces were used during the Vietnam War.

The author drives home basic concepts about what makes Special Forces unique, what their core military doctrines are, and how the organization has adapted over time.

Because there is so much ground to cover, this is necessarily an overview, with only brief mentions of specific military engagements. For the gamer looking for scenario information, further research is required.

I found the book to be quite readable, and remains relevant to its period and subject matter. It is out of print, but easily available secondhand.

Note that there are several books and films with the same or similar titles. This review is specifically about the non-fiction book from 1983.

Reviewed by Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian.