Too Young To Die

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Too Young to Die: Memories of Tommy and the Vietnam War is an interesting memoir of a Special Operations sniper during the Vietnam War and his friendship and loss of his partner during the war. While author Mark Mayerstein says he wrote this book mostly for his family to understand his history and life, but, like any good memoir, it also provides an interesting view of a critical moment in history. And in Too Young to Die, that moment is the off-the-books war that the US government waged in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.

Mayerstein was an FBI-trained sniper, assigned to 5th Special Forces, Command and Control Central, and worked on gathering information and sniping high-value targets in South Vietnam, but also went across local borders into Laos for more of the same activities. Laos was outside the theater of operations approved for U.S. involvement in the region, but multiple military operations were waged there. Mayerstein says he’d filed FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests about some of the facts about his service and recruitment but was told no records exist of those activities. There is a great deal of military jargon used throughout the book, but Mayerstein provides often humorous explanations about what they mean and sometimes where the jargon came from.

The beginning of the book is a brief introduction to Mayerstein’s life and his recruitment by a Mr. Smith, who was interested in Mayerstein’s hunting and shooting skills. Brought into a clandestine FBI unit for training as a sniper, the reader follows along as Mayerstein has a crash course on military training and lifestyle. But the core of the book is both his activities during his tour of Vietnam and his relationship with the 10-years-older Thomas (Tommy) Baker. The two bonded during training, with Tommy being Mayerstein’s mentor and partner on their active patrols. While each person serving during Vietnam has their own unique experiences, each new memoir provides another piece in the overall story of what happened there.

Author Mark Mayerstein admits in his introduction that his memories may be fuzzy from PTSD, the amount of time that has gone by, and medications that may have also affected his memory. But his recollections seem clear on the page, and he provides an entertaining look at his experiences—even the harsh ones that provided the title of the book.

Reviewed By:

Author LTC Mark A Mayerstein
Star Count 4/5
Format eBook
Page Count 304 pages
Publisher CreateSpace and Amazon Company
Publish Date 2018-Apr-01
ISBN 9781981146963
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue May 2018
Category Biographies & Memoirs


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