The Vietnam War. Just the very mention of the name stirs up so much emotion. Countless books and movies have been made about one of the most controversial wars in American history, and yet still it remains a mystery of sorts. The soldiers, the politicians, the civilians viewing the war from back home, all have their own interpretations of the Vietnam War. In Lion Killer: Memoir of a Vietnam War Veteran, Aaron Battlestein tells his side of the story- that of an elite operative deep undercover.
Bound to be wildly controversial, Battlestein’s book conveys a sense of fervor and vivid imagery that drives his points home with a brutal finish. The astounding sense realism that Battlestein imbues the book with makes the reader feel as though he were actually there, in the dangerous jungles. In fact, it can occasionally seem too real, too hard-hitting, to a point where it shocks the reader with the truths of what actually went on in that terrible war. Occasionally, this reviewer was tempted to stop reading a particular passage, but the necessity of the negative aspects included is the driving force behind the book. While truly shocking what Battlestein endured, his manuscript is counter balanced with a thread of hope that can be seen throughout the narrative. Battlestein, through it all, holds faith for humanity, yet also pulls no punches in revealing the truly awful things people are capable of. The unwavering commitment to the truth is what makes Lion Killer succeed the most, and conveys to the reader what the war was actually like.
If you want to know exactly what the Vietnam War was like, read this book.
8.9 out of 10
Disclaimer: The following excerpt contains graphic content that some readers may find disturbing.
I Kick Ass Part XIV
“Sergeant! I’m so glad to see you!” the wide-eyed limp-dick Private Jones whimpered at me. “Charlie’s taken over the whole building, and captured the rest of my squad! I’m all alone out here! I wouldn’t have any idea what to do if you hadn’t showed up!”
I gave Jones a hard ass stare that could have Medusaed his ass if I had wanted it to. He shut up. This was the kind of shit I had to deal with on a daily basis. Pussy wet Privates without a goddamn sense of self-direction. They find themselves alone in the lion-infested Vietnam jungles and sit down to cry instead of doing a damn thing about it. Me, I’m a lone wolf (there were those in the jungle too). I’ve done more without a squad than those Egyptians did with thousands of them Jew slaves they had themselves. In high school I won a synchronized swimming competition and I was the only one on my team. I’m a lone wolf.
But the situation I was in now required me to exercise my leadership abilities. I felt a kinship with all my brothers in arms. They were what kept me going. So I handed Jones a towel to sop up the urine from his pants and got to business. I pulled out the Velociraptor claw fossil I always keep with me and used it to draw a plan in the dirt. Once I finished, I looked at Jones.
“You got that?” I asked.
“Is..is that a lion skin you’re wearing?” He asked.
“No,” I responded. “It’s two.”
We waited until dusk to make our move. Private Jones covered himself in dark foliage to conceal himself. I was naked, my only covering the mud and herb pigment I had earlier coated myself in. We had already surveyed the camp. It was small; we counted only twelve Vietcong. Three on lookout, and the rest inside the building with the hostages.
“How many bullets you got in that there fancy gun of yours?” I asked.
He looked at his M14. “Little over half, sir. Eleven shots.”
We were going to have to do some improvising.
“All right, give that shit to me,” I said.
He hesitated, then handed me the gun. “But sir, what am I going to do without it?”
“Stay right here,” I said, and sprinted into the compound.
While in a full run, I sighted down the scope and shot one of the lookouts. The other turned around and I put a bullet into him as well. I flattened myself against the building. Right as the third lookout came around the corner, I threw my combat knife into his chest. He gurgled, and fell to the ground.
I found the door and prepared myself. I knew the hostages were being held in the middle of the room, with the Vietcong soldiers spread out around them. I was in good shape. Nine hostiles, nine bullets. You’d have to be an idiot to fuck that up.
I broke the door down and immediately fired eight shots into the first Vietcong soldier I saw. Maintaining my momentum, I fired another bullet at a soldier to my left, missed, and shot a potted plant.
The soldiers were reacting at this point, but everything was slow motion for me, so it didn’t matter. I grabbed a rib bone out of the bullet-torn chest of the first soldier (who was still in mid-fall), shifted my direction with a back-spin and stabbed a soldier in the eye with the bone. I punched the next soldier so hard it simultaneously taught him English and killed him instantly. Diving forward, I spun, aimed my Johnson, and peed on another soldier, who immediately committed hari-kari out of shame, as is traditional. Recovering from my dive, I grabbed a piece of the broken pot and slashed the throat of a Vietcong so hard it drowned another one in his blood. Another soldier came at me with an energy sword that I quickly disarmed from him. I then shattered his spine with a kick that launched me into a front flip, which I used the momentum of to grab a soldier’s head and completely detach it from his body before landing on my feet. To the final Vietcong I delivered a vicious uppercut to the torso that launched his heart up into his head where it merged with his brain and gained brief sentience as a super organ before promptly exploding out the top of his skull and splattering all over the chandelier.
The hostages all applauded me, even with their hands tied. Private Jones came in right after I untied everybody, and thoroughly congratulated me while he wet himself again. A couple of the more buxom female hostages latched onto my arm as I drank the blood of my fallen enemies for sustenance. Did I mention that I was naked while I did all this? Awesome.