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The title of this book is somewhat of an understatement. I picked up this book because I thought it sounded interesting, without realising that John Galvin is not a just an average career soldier but is a high ranking general, who was NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe during the end of the Cold War and the fall of the USSR. The forward is by his friend, David Petraeus, the current Director of the CIA. This is no simple soldier’s story.
The book covers the whole of his military career, from early work in South America, Vietnam all the way through to his work during the latter parts of the 1980’s working through nuclear disarmament just prior to the end of the cold war. Early on he started as a medic, and spent a large part of his career overseeing various training bases. Despite the title, I didn't feel that too much of it was "fighting the cold war", but I guess in a war that is cold there isn't that much direct fighting to be done.
Galvin is a feverous note taker and letter writer and regularly quotes old letter to his father or wife, or notes he wrote, going back decades. The inclusion of these letters and notes serves to give a great understanding of what he was thinking and feeling at the time, rather than just being reflections years after the fact. It adds a great deal to the book.
While Galvin does talk through events of his time in action, and mentions things went wrong in Vietnam there isn’t the same “I can’t believe they are doing this!” though pattern that get from other Vietnam memoirs like Marlantes or O’Brien. He has a more matter-of-fact approach to it all. He will mention how things went wrong and how some decisions made were the wrong ones, but focuses more on the right and how his commanders etc. learned from mistakes.
Tom Lennon does a good job of the reading. He has a very laid back style, with a slight twang, without falling into a monotone or boring voice. It makes the whole thing easy listening, giving the book a feel of calm recollections. It is possible that Lennon’s reading style added to the matter-of-fact impression the book gave me. I found his to be a good match for this book.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to Fighting the Cold War: A Soldier's Memoir again? Why?
Yes, I am amazed at the detailed notes, journal entries and letters that the Author kept and was able to bring to life in a story with all the emotion felt.
What about Tom Lennon’s performance did you like?
Good Paced reading, very clear
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
I did indulge an hour or two at a time but it is far too long and detailed to just gorge.
Any additional comments?
The detail is outstanding and the book is very entertaining, especially if you like military history. If you are not a big fan of the genre, the amount of detail could expand the length of this work a bit further than some would be willing to invest in time. I think the Author and Narrator both did a wonderful job and paint a nice picture in my mind. I received this audiobook for free in exchange for my unbiased review through Audiobook blast. I think it was a great book.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful