A Rumor of War


A Rumor of War , by Philip Caputo Answer all of the questions below in complete detail, using specific examples from the book.


1. Think about Caputo’s journey from a young teenager to a hardened Marine Corps veteran. Choose three
specific examples from the book to highlight what you consider the most important episodes in that journey, and show how they affected Caputo’s development as an officer, a leader, and a human being.


2. Which of Caputo’s experiences in Southeast Asia provide the most insight into the nature of the
Vietnam War, the armed forces in general, and the overall American effort in Southeast Asia. Discuss at least three in detail, and explain why the war effort in Vietnam was so frustrating to soldiers and civilians alike. Be specific.


3. Caputo often compares his experiences in Vietnam to those of veterans in other wars.
Based on the reading and your overall knowledge of military history, do you think the Vietnam war was unique? Choose at least three incidents from A Rumor of War and use them to explain your answer. Fundamentally, do all wars share certain characteristics in common? Why or why not?


4. On a personal level, Caputo often says his feeling about Vietnam are strongly
ambivalent. Using at least three examples from the book, explain why he both
hated and yet in some ways enjoyed the war. Why does he think warfare has such
appeal to young people?




5. Consider Caputo’s conduct as a combat leader, and discuss in detail his evolution as an officer
and the events leading up to his court-martial. From an ethical and moral standpoint, was he guilty of the charges brought against him, or did the special circumstances of war (and especially of the Vietnam War) make his actions understandable and/or excusable? What would you have done if you were Caputo?


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