<b>The general's story</b>The year is 1971. Army Lieutenant Ezell "EZ" Ware Jr. is the copilot of a Huey Cobra gunship, assigned to do covert missions in Vietnam. His captain is a white man from West Virginia who hates him not because of anything Ware has said or done, but because Ware is black. Returning from a mission, their chopper is hit. They crash in the Vietnamese jungle, with little more than two pistols, a handful of snacks and one canteen. The captain is seriously injured, but together the men must survive tigers, leeches, disease, starvation and Vietcong guerrillas. To do it, they must overcome their hatred for each other.
This is not a Hollywood thriller; it is a true story from Ware's remarkable life. <b>By Duty Bound: Survival and Redemption in a Time of War</b> tells the story of that life, which begins with a boy born into abject poverty, abandoned by his parents, surrounded by a society that hates him. Despite these obstacles Ware not only survives, but thrives, becoming a decorated Army officer and eventually a general in the California National Guard.
Switching easily back and forth between Ware's experiences growing up in Jim Crow Mississippi and his harrowing trek through enemy territory, By Duty Bound is a portrait of a man following the vaguest hints of hope for escape, for a better life, for freedom whether from Vietcong guerrillas or the violent racism of his own countrymen. In the end, his story is as much about America's struggles as it is about Ware himself. It is a story worth the telling, and worth the reading.
<i> HOWARD SHIRLEY</i>