"Back in the mid- to late-1950s, Jack Flowers and I met in a small Midwestern town where his Dad, a former tail-gunner in World War II, was building a huge house for his young but growing family. Jack Jr., whom we all called 'Rick,' was truly his father's son – strong, independent, smart, and, without a doubt, brave. A few years after Rick came home from Vietnam he handed me a manuscript for a novel he'd written about his time 'in country.' Rick and I had been drafted in the same month (December, 1966), but Rick went to war while I stayed home, failing two attempts to enlist because of extremely poor eyesight.
As I read his manuscript some forty-plus years ago, the impact was immediately dramatic: I was reading a story about someone I knew extremely well, caught up in a situation I had no experience with … being in a war, in a jungle, in the middle of conflicting forces – personal yet universal. This wasn't Stephen Crane's Red Badge of Courage. This was real! And Rick's voice permeates the narrative throughout with self-doubt, fear, courage, occasional humor, but most of all, truth.
As you read Rat Six, you will be caught in a paradoxical world most of us cannot imagine, a world so seemingly normal yet so terrifying it's hard to believe anyone could have survived without some sort of serious damage. That Rick did survive and was able to tell his story is a tribute to all those who fought in 'his war' and especially to those who did not return."
"Jack Flowers has distilled his harrowing experience of war into a story of stark realism, authenticity and psychological insight. His narrator, Cliff Price, volunteers (as did the author) for, in his words, 'perhaps the worst job in Vietnam.' Only a few men could handle the terrors of fighting the Viet Cong in their tunnels, and we are forced to appreciate the exceptional courage and steadiness a 'tunnel rat' needed. Price's squad's underground encounters with the enemy have the ring of truth. But what also marks this novel is its humanity: a conscientious young officer, negotiating with his seniors, working with an intimidating sergeant, and always fearful for the lives of the men he led."
"Perchance I suffer only mildly from claustrophobia but when I learned of the horrors and scarcely imaginable dangers of the tunnels of Cu Chi under the Iron Triangle of Vietnam all those years back, I was one big goose bump. Then I met and talked with Tunnel Rat Six, aka Jack Flowers. Now he has written his memoir, telling us the way it was. So if you are prepared to be really frightened (by proxy) read it.
"History can make modern warfare seem increasingly remote, as if the full horror is in some way muted by the sophistication of the weapons deployed. Rat Six is a timely and visceral reminder of the immense terrors of combat, focusing on the specific experiences of the tunnel rats in Vietnam. This was a war stripped down to its bare bones in which US servicemen were forced to stand alone as they stared into the darkness."
"Fortunately, I was too tall - or maybe just plain lucky - and I never got singled out in Vietnam to crawl into a dark, dank, enemy-infested tunnel, a thing the legendary Tunnel Rats did every day. I've watched them go in and never failed to wonder what was going on in their minds. Now I know. Jack Flowers explains it all in his masterful work on the 1st Infantry Division Tunnel Rats. He tells the fascinating and hard-hitting tale from the perspective of the young officer who became 'Rat Six' or the man detailed to task, train and try to control an unruly band of solid, courageous men who crawled into the dark depths of enemy underground strongholds armed with nothing but a pistol, a flashlight... and a ton of guts. If you've ever wondered what it takes to do the unimaginable in combat, read Rat Six."
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