Sergeant Clyde Hoch’s Tracks: Memoirs of a Vietnam Veteran is a stunning read. Stunning in its honesty. Stunning in its style. Stunning in its brutality. I am the child of a war veteran, Dad was in the first Gulf War and served in the Northern Ireland conflict, so I have had my fair share of stories involving a soldier’s exploits in war but Sergeant Hoch has made me cry. I was expecting the harrowing imagery, anyone who has been touched by conflict knows this is an everyday thing in times of war, but Sergeant Hoch has a writing style that grips you from the first page so you become immersed in the tale and I found I was weeping at the silliest of things, the small things you don’t get from war books, and the honesty of the prose.
Sergeant Hoch’s time in Parris Island was particularly moving, reading like a script for Full Metal Jacket but splattered with the kind of realism that doesn’t come across on a screen.
Sergeant Hoch then regales us with the next move towards becoming a Marine with Infantry training at Camp Geiger before moving on to Tank training, colleagues losing fingers in the equipment, and a Gunnery Sergeant nearly apologizing. It’s a third of the way into the memoirs before you even set foot in Vietnam and I’m mentally exhausted already, this is not a one sitting read by any stretch of the imagination, but I feel I’m now a Marine with a tank and I’m off to war! Not every part of the book is harrowing and filled with warfare and loss though.
I particularly enjoyed the antics of Al, friend and colleague of Sergeant Hoch’s who obviously provided a lot of light relief with underwear dancing and trading cigarettes with a shepherd for wine. Finally, in Vietnam you get to learn about the controversy of whether Tanks should even be in Vietnam, the black market, and some of stories are quite human especially those involving the local children being fascinated with the Tanks and their crew. There is however a dark side. The conflict was not a pretty war and the body count on both sides was too large to actually calculate in images (I find after a war exceeds a couple of thousand my brain won’t allow me to picture the dead anymore).
The memories shared by Sergeant Hoch are as fascinating as they are harrowing and need no expanding by me in this review. There is no way I could do them justice and the enormity of the Vietnam war only really hit me whilst reading the words and viewing the selection of photographs that accompany the narrative. It’s okay thinking you know because you watched Platoon or the like but when you read the diaries and memoirs of people like Sergeant Hoch you finally grasp what an atrocious world, we often live in.
Throughout the book Sergeant Hoch describes his thoughts and environment with great clarity and very often finds the humor in what is happening around him and it is this lightness that makes Tracks as palatable as it is. I thank Sergeant Hoch for his memoirs and hereby state that this is by far the best personal account of someone’s life I have ever read. I’d also like to make a quick mention of the song lyrics at the start of book by Frank Carr that set the tone very well. ***** 5 Stars!!!
A Man Down was written by Sgt. Clyde Hoch and is the biography of several military heroes. The names may not be familiar to most readers but each of the men lost his life while serving in the military. Ray Ira Haas and the author grew up together; both men joined the military, Sgt. Clyde Hoch chose to be a Marine and Ray chose the Army. Ray had a premonition that he would not survive Vietnam and requested the position of Radio Operator so that he would never be in the position to take a life. Several other brave men are discussed; among them is Lance Corporal Nicholas Rodriguez. Rodriguez served in the Marines in Afghanistan. When he returned home his family saw a change in his personality. Nick had PTSD. He died of a fatal gunshot wound that was ruled a suicide. “In 2012, were more service men died from suicide than in combat.”
Sgt. Clyde Hoch shares what it was like to serve in the jungles of Vietnam. There are numerous photographs of the plentiful dangers in the jungles that were home to the enemy. A Man Down is filled with photographs that breathe life into the stories of the soldiers. The author reminds readers that we should take a few moments of our day and remember the men that fought for our country. Sgt. Clyde Hoch is a talented writer. He successfully gives homage to the heroes in this book but does so with great dignity, never stooping to melodrama. His writing style is conversational. Not only will the families of these heroes appreciate this book, but so will history buffs and those interested in the military. This book is appropriate for readers in middle school through adulthood.
Cheryl Schopen for Readers' Favorite
God Help Me! Cause No One Else Will is written by Sgt. Clyde Hoch, who served in the military and is a Vietnam veteran. He has lived with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and has used his experiences to write this booklet. Hoch discusses his personal life and how TBI and PTSD has affected it in hopes of helping other veterans who are suffering from the same thing, and also helping family members of these veterans understand what their loved ones are going through. There are a high number of veterans who commit suicide, and Hoch hopes to prevent more of an occurrence by reaching out to them through this booklet and encouraging them to seek help.
Like all Americans, I have such respect and compassion for people who serve in the military and also for their family members. And it breaks my heart when I hear about veterans struggling to live their lives because of disorders like PTSD or, even worse, committing suicide because of it. So, I think God Help Me! Cause No One Else Will can actually save lives. Veterans will be able to read about Sgt. Clyde Hoch’s own personal struggle and realize that they are not the only ones, but also hopefully recognize the symptoms and seek help. Along with Hoch’s personal story, there is also helpful information about TBI and PTSD and resources of where to get help. I definitely think that veterans can benefit from this booklet, but I also think that family members of veterans should read this because they will be able to understand something that maybe their loved ones cannot explain themselves. Overall, the content of this booklet is extremely important, so I highly recommend it.
Gina Lamkie for Readers’ Favorite
B. A. R. Man (Browning Automatic Rifle Man) by Sgt. Clyde Hoch is a short story about a GI named Bill during the Korean War. The story follows him from his struggle to enlist,through many of his war time missions, to his eventual capture and time as a prisoner of war. Upon his return home, Bill struggles to find his place in America as a war vet and former POW.
The situation described by Sgt. Hoch (also a war veteran) were heart breakingand eye opening. He described the horrors of war with the discontent of someone who has lived it and can only discuss it with their guard up, so as to not pull themselves back in that dark place. These young men were sent off to fight a war for someone else, most not even understanding why, and then they were reviled and brushed under the rug when they returned home. At one point in the book, Sgt. Hoch says that many prisoners of war were freer in prison camps than when they returned home. I found this utterly heartbreaking. I always associated the war in Vietnam with these circumstances, but never gave much thought to the Korean War.
Reading this book made me want to learn about the Korean War. None of my high school or college courses have ever covered it and I am ashamed to say I have never gone out of my way to learn about it on my own. I will now. B. A. R. Man is an engaging and heartbreaking read.
I think Clyde did an excellent job writing about my brother Ray Ira Haas; his tour of duty in Vietnam and the details about his death. After all these years the family finally found out what actually happened to our brother.
Thank you Clyde for diligent work.
I believe I can speak for the entire Haas family that We will always be grateful to Clyde for this book. His efforts in conducting his research and telling the story of our Brother and the other Heroes in this book have provided some much needed closure and therapy. We have discovered more details regarding Ray's death in the last nine months than we've known about over the past 45 years. Thank you Clyde for a job well done!
Deepak Menon for Readers’ Favorite
A Biography of Linda by Clyde Hoch is an intense biography of a young Chinese girl, La Fong, her family and their struggles during the changing times of the mid-1900s. Came the Chinese revolution and La Fong and her family had to escape from 'Red China' by ship, bribing their way to neighboring Vietnam. Finally settling in Saigon, they subsisted in the lowest strata of society, with the entire family working to survive, including the 8-year-old La Fong, whose name was changed to 'Tran' due to strange reasons prevailing in those troubled times. The travails of her life included merciless beatings at the hands of her mother. The girl child was a burden who had no place in Chinese society, except to serve without demur till she departed after marriage. The son, and also an adopted daughter, were treated well according to custom!
Clyde Hoch has brilliantly emphasized the evolving culture, which certainly makes this book 'a mirror of the times' as all fine literature should. There is too much to mention in this short review, but consider this quote from the book about how she got her third name: "The American Colonel said, 'I don't know your Vietnamese names, and I don't want to know.' He handed each of them a name tag with their new names on them. Tran's new name tag said 'Linda.' She would now be known as Linda from that day." She journeyed on to her amazing life in America, which is a truly inspiring story. I reward this great biography a resounding 5 stars due to its compelling passion and intensity, as well as the wonderful messages of courage, perseverance and philanthropy contained in it. I read it in one sitting! Highly recommended!
I AM A Miracle By Clyde Hoch
‘The biggest barriers people have are the ones they put on themselves.’
As the author states in his introduction his sole purpose in writing this book is to inspire people to continue to plug away and to make their lives better. He would also like to leave the world a better place than when he came into it. He would like people to understand they can endure almost anything that life throws at them.
‘Life is a wonderful combination of difficult experiences that are paradoxically intertwined with experiences of happiness in our lives. The difficult experiences are usually surprising, and we will never be ready for them. However, they make us resilient and make us appreciate what is there. Therefore, even with difficulty, one must not forget to be grateful. Because showing gratitude is a source of power that connects great faith and hope.’
I AM A Miracle by Clyde Hoch is a powerful and inspirational story about a man’s triumph over poverty and adversary. It was a brilliant read that will leave you feeling like a better person for having read it. It’s an impressive work by the founder of a nonprofit organization called Veterans Brotherhood, an international award-winning author, and a highly-decorated United States Marine Corps Veteran who heroically served in Vietnam as a tank commander.
People write memoirs to fixate, analyze, share, or rethink past events. This book refers to important and significant moments in the authors life. I’ll be looking forward to reading more from this author in the future. I would highly recommend this very open, honest and frank autobiography. A well-deserved five stars from me.