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This book tells the story of Father Vincent Robert Capodanno, a Catholic preist and US Marines chaplain. It covers his time with the marines, as well has his story preceding that time (what brought him to both being a priest and to being a Vietnam chaplain), and finally his legacy.
It is not a war book, with details of troops movements or battles (although they are discussed where relating to the story. It is not a book about the errors of the Vietnam war. It is a story of one man's faith and his work to help encourage and engage those going through a hard time.
The story is an interesting and personal one, going into detail on Capodanno's beliefs, thoughts and why he performed the actions he did. It quotes from family and friends who knew him, highlighting the great man of character he was.
I am not Catholic, so was a little apprehensive at how overt the Catholic message in this book might be. I did not find it overbearing. It did not shy away from his faith and how that impacted him. It did hot shy away from explaining what his beliefs were and presenting a clear "gospel picture". But it was not preachy.
The information about his legacy - with many buildings, chapels and a warship or two named after him is also interesting, showing the ongoing impact this one man had.
Narration by Kevin Spalding is very good. Other works that i have heard read by him have been more traditional "war books" detailing the battles and actions of soldiers. So this is in the same vein but a bit of a departure.
Spalding reads consistently and clearly. while this is a non-fiction work, where there is quotes or people speaking (via written records etc) he changes his voice to help differentiate them from the main narration. This is a fine line to tread with non-fiction as these are not characters but the words of real people. Spalding treads this line perfectly adding the right level of differentiation without making the people into 'characters'.
This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of audiobookboom dot com.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up The Grunt Padre in three words, what would they be?
Vince is a saint.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Which character – as performed by CAPT Kevin F Spalding USNR-Ret – was your favorite?
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Any additional comments?
Though the events are not exactly the way I recall them, they are close enough. Fr. Vince was my friend. We struggled with the same command idiocy.Lt. Col Hilgardner demanded his priest and doctor accompany him to the field. (Read his book "Highpockets" to learn why. For a hint his formulative years were significantly altered by priests and physicians and usually not to his liking). Fr, Vince motives were pure. This was not a "suicide by combat". Vince was at 1/5 the day before he died saying Mass. I will never forget that Mass. He left with a shirt of mine. His was dirty trying to get on a chopper going to Operation Swift. Delta company had been ambushed. Bravo company went to help. Then it turned into a regimental expansion. Vince was fearless. Tried all afternoon to get on a chopper but they were taking only combatants. Ultimately they took him. I would not have gone where he went. God rest his soul.
Lt. J. E. Pilon, MD USNR (Ret)
2 of 2 people found this review helpful