Then A Soldier is a complex blend of the author's experiences in an American-Jewish culture that did not favor the military as a career choice, and his experiences in combat, having made the choice, contrary to those cultural norms, to become a career Army officer. In this regard, the author presents an honest self appraisal of how the history of the Holocaust affected his thoughts on the need for today's Jews to be strong.
Furthermore, his muted and understated description of his participation in three full-up battles might disappoint some readers seeking a more glorious view of combat. In short, as written, this book was not designed to serve as a script for a war movie. Other readers searching for revelations of how his "Jewish values" accorded with Army values will learn they were congruent.
Thus, Kurtz places himself in problematic position, straddling the expectations of two vastly different readership groups. Nonetheless, his writing is an accurate, factual, and honest representation that blends two seemingly unrelated topics - Jewish history and cultural norms, and life in a combat unit, in time of war.
A fine, honest account of close combat in Vietnam. This is a clearly written, tough-minded memoir of the grunt's war, the brutal, exhausting and morally challenging long patrols and lightning-quick collisions with death at the muddy, bloody bottom of the chain of command, strategy and politics. Every veteran of the era, as well as today's soldiers and civilian readers, will find each moment spent with this book worthwhile.
- Ralph Peters, Retired U.S. Army officer, Fox News strategic analyst, Author of Endless War
With understated passion and rich detail, Colonel Kurtz marches readers through the lethal, sweltering jungles of Vietnam, 1966. No reader will turn the last page of this memoir untouched by the unique complications of this war and by the valor of the soldiers who struggled through it. The author's authentic voice will echo long after the cover is closed. All who suffered the loss of a soldier in this distant war will experience empathy and, perhaps, closure in this work.
- Janice DeLong, Associate Professor of English, Liberty University, 1968 Vietnam Widow