Becoming a man is difficult—even in the best of circumstances—but when it must be done in 1968 with the Year of the Monkey set to explode onto the cities and battlefields of a war-torn Vietnam, it is only the very best who make the grade.
A Common Virtue has the immediacy and punch of today’s fears as it draws on yesterday’s headlines. When the armies of Ho Chi Mihn push across the demilitarized zone on a scale never thought possible and simultaneously strike at hundreds of targets, American Marines are at the forefront—dependent on information from a special reconnaissance force that is the only thing that can stop Hanoi from using a New Year’s opportunity to seize the country.
Unfolding against this background is the story of Marine Paul Jackson, the sole survivor of a hillside massacre. A sniper and reconnaissance innovator, his epic march through the annals of the horrific bureaucracy that is the U.S. military in 1968 is the heart of this story. As an eighteen-year-old Marine he learns at an early age what he must do to survive; what he must do to excel; and what he must do to fit into the most exclusive military fraternity in the world.
A Common Virtue is about the other half of heroism, the part that pits a warrior against an American public that despises his uniform, against internal factions that brand him a “coward,” and against a beautiful woman who wants nothing more than for him to stay home and love her. It is about growing into manhood in a toxic America and a world gone mad. Tough choices, painful experiences, and an instinct for survival work to create a leader of legend. Exciting, historical, and far reaching, A Common Virtue is an ambitious and explosive creation; one that could only have been written by one who was there.