Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Semper Cool by Barry Fixler

Barry Fixler could be considered a lucky man.

He’s not lucky because he had an easy life growing up in New York or because he survived an armed robbery attempt at his jewelry store. Barry’s lucky because he returned home from Vietnam alive and with all his body parts.

In SEMPER COOL, ONE MARINE’S FOND MEMORIES OF VIETNAM Barry recounts how he came to be a Marine and what it means to be a Marine.

Growing up Barry’s father regaled him with stories of the Marines he encountered while in the Army. When he graduated high school, Barry joined the Marines to honor his father.

Barry tells of how life was during boot camp at Parris Island, SC; combat training at Camp Lejeune, NC; more training at Camp Pendleton, CA; and the eye-opening experiences when he landed in DeNang. The story is told from the view point of a Marine - it’s not toned down or cleaned up. If you’re offended by language be warned this contains explicit language.

Having friends and family that served in Vietnam I’d say SEMPER COOL gives one of the best accounts of what soldiers/Marines faced in the jungles of Southeast Asia. While this is a heart wrenching look back at a time in our history when many lives were lost, it’s also sprinkled with bits of humor.

The story flows back and forth from Barry’s young life to his time in the Marines to his current life. It’s an inspiring and thought provoking read. In addition, the author has included personal photographs from his time in Vietnam and at home.

Barry’s experience in the Marines formed his patriotic views that continue to mold him today. Learning the hardships wounded combat veterans face when returning home from the current wars, Barry has pledged all of the proceeds from SEMPER COOL to help them through his non-profit foundation, The Barry Fixler Foundation.

Normally I don’t read military books but SEMPER COOL is a true-life memoir of a Vietnam combat veteran that gives civilians a clear look at what they faced. This is a gritty, compelling read and each purchase helps benefit wounded veterans.

Author Barry Fixler’s website is

Semper Cool, One Marine‘s Fond Memories of Vietnam by Barry Fixler, Exalt Press, @2010, ISBN: 9780982518403, Hardcover, 320 pages

FTC Full Disclosure - I requested this book and it was sent to me as part of a virtual book tour in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.


  1. Hi Mason .. it is so important these life stories are brought out .. we need to understand what happened - the challenges, the light moments and the outcomes. We all react so differently - we can learn from reading others' experiences .. many thanks for telling us about Semper Cool by Barry Fixler ...

    Have a good week - Hilary

  2. My father served in Vietnam but he never talks about it.

  3. "...each purchase helps benefit wounded veterans."

    I like that. Thank you.

  4. Mason - Thanks for sharing this book with us. I really like "windows on history" like this one, and what a great cause! Thank you :-).

  5. Hilary, you are so right. These stories do need to be told from Barry's experiences in Vietnam to the severe problems returning veterans continue to have today. Hope your week is good too.

    Alex, I know several who returned from Nam that won't say a word about it. I'm guessing the pain and horror they saw and felt will always be something they don't want to share.

    Carol, Barry's giving all the proceeds from his book to help wounded veterans. His goal is $1 million.

    Margot, I like your take on it, "windows on history" that fits perfect. And yes, this is a very worthy cause.

  6. This sounds very interesting, and I think we need these stories to be told before the soldiers are gone. My husband served during the VN time, but was never in VN. He worked the radar on a plane that searched for subs. Even so, I'm thinking he'd like this book.

  7. Cool book! I think the book will be very popular.

  8. This sounds like an awesome book. Not easy to read, I'll bet, but something that probably most of us should read. We need to understand what went on!


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