The Book Steel my Soldiers Hearts
The book steels my soldiers hearts is the embodiment of military genius. It is the personification of military prowess at work and the perfect combination of military strategy and art. In other words the book involves military strategy being combined with art and a genius to provide the best available military team at a time of war. The setting of the book is during the Vietnam War, one of the most brutal wars in the history of modern warfare. The book is about Lieutenant David Hackworth. David Hackworth had just written a tactical masterpiece for the pentagon in terms of well thought out military strategies that would see the forces of the United States defeat any enemy. Thus in January 1969 David Hackworth was sent to Vietnam to apply his military prowess and strategic genius in the frontlines of the Vietnam War. There is however a twist to the book. Hackworth is sent to Vietnam to work with the 4/39th battalion. This was so far the most unsuccessful battalion in all the battalions of the United States that were at war in Vietnam. This battalion had the highest casualty rate and also recorded the largest number of failures in terms of botched missions and failure to stop the enemy or even successfully intersect the enemy and affect any substantial damage. Though a military genius and a strategic guru, David Hackworth was not given a lot to work with in terms of manpower and skills. The book therefore delves into the story of David Hackworth and the 4/39th battalion. It tells the story about how David Hackworth took this seemingly useless battalion and made it the fiercest and the most successful military battalion in Vietnam. He transformed this battalion from the laughing stalk of the united states army into a five star covert battalion that embodied exactly what it was to be a united states soldier and to fight for your country, laying it all on the line for the flag but at the same time using brains so as to ensure the preservation of life and nothing less than maximum damage to the enemy.
Leadership comes out very strongly as a theme in this book. David Hackworth is the perfect embodiment of a leader. This can clearly be seen through his level of interaction with his men and the various strategies he comes up with in order to ensure success of his battalion. The minute David Hackworth has a firm grip of this battalion he changes the name of the battalion. This is because the previous name of the battalion was one associated with failure and defeat. David Hackworth knows that in order to be a true leader one has to be able to motivate the masses to the very steps of greatness. He changes the name of the battalion to a more fulfilling name in terms of success. This is a strategy aimed at raising the self-esteem of the men in the battalion. David Hackworth clearly knows that self-esteem is pivotal to success. The main aspects behind the failure of the battalion prior to the arrival of David Hackworth were the self-esteem of the battalion. The battalion had been branded a group of failures and as such their very name embodied failure. This truly took a toll on the men in the battalion in terms of their morale and fighting spirit. These men had seen a very large number of their colleagues get injured in war and even die and their name was associated with failure and death. They needed a leader who would erase all the scars of the past and give then a new beginning as far as their military life was concerned. David Hackworth proved to be exactly the man that this battalion needed.
David Hackworth also embodied exemplary leadership through interaction with his men. He was a selfless man who took time to be with his men and motivate them even as they went into war. This is proof that even the best strategies thought out by the leading strategists in the world are only as good as the leaders tasked with carrying out those strategies. David Hackworth proves to be selfless in his leadership. This is because as a lieutenant he could have easily led from the back. He could have given the men the best strategies in the world and sent them to war commanding the action from the comfort of his tent. David Hackworth does the exact opposite. Instead of commanding his men from the back he commands them from the front. He goes to war with his men and is at the front line of every battle laying his own life on the line just like his brave men are laying theirs for flag and for country. What David Hackworth does is giving the perfect embodiment of leading by example. His presence in the battle field serves a very big purpose as far as the men of the battalion are concerned. Seeing their commanding officer in the field with them also laying his life on the line leads to skyrocketing of the morale of the men. As a result their resolve to fight grows with each passing battle. This leads to the 4/39th battalion becoming the most revered and feared battalion in the Vietnam war and also the most successful battalion in the war in terms of military expeditions and combat.
Hope also comes out very strongly as a theme in the book. According to the book even the worst members of society can be transformed into the most productive members of society. All it takes is solid leadership and strategic leadership. This is evident in the 4/39th battalion and the extreme makeover that this battalion underwent. Before the arrival of Hackworth this battalion was hopeless to say the least. No one had any hope as far as this battalion was concerned. Through the help of Hackworth this battalion was transformed from an epic military failure to one of the greatest military successes in the entire Vietnam War. Clearly this battalion was not beyond redemption and all that it needed was the right leader at the right time and it would rise from the ashes and by all means dominate the Vietnam War and still fear in all the enemies of the United States in the war. Thus according to the novel though seemingly hopeless this battalion had the greatest potential of all the battalion sent to Vietnam by the United States of America. All they needed was a guide to help them unlock that potential and discover just how truly great they are.