Continuing in the Echo Company series by the nom de plume “Zack Emerson,” this second book is little more than a continuance of the first. Unlike most sequels, which fail to build upon any of the character development of their predecessors, Hill 568 is as much a character study as it is a book about war.
We open with the main character, Michael (Meat) being asked to walk point for his squad, a job that carries with it not only extraordinary responsibility, but extraordinary risk, as well. Like chopper pilots, point men ranked at the very bottom of the life expectancy ladder.
The only real action (read: warfare) takes place at the end of the book, in a battle from which the work takes its title. The rest of it is, as you might have guess, character development. I’m a little disappointed that these books are split up so, because it is less like a series and more like a serial novel.
My personal recollection of reading Hill 568 for the first time requires thinking back to the 6th grade again: I had read #1 in the series, and then #3 (more on that later) because #2 (this book) was mysterious “out.” I would later learn that the book had been damaged beyond repair, and was being held captive in a back room with other poor tome withs broken spines and eviscerated covers. After much begging and pleading (and sucking up to the librarian), they gave me the copy instead of throwing it out. I have since replaced that Oliver Twist of a copy with a much better one from a small book store in—I think it was—Kansas.
Stylistically or technically, there’s nothing to distinguish this from the first in the series, but if you liked Welcome to Vietnam, you’ll like Hill 568