This portrait of ""The Face of War in Viet-Nam"" comes from an unusual source. The author is Austrian, and he has taken advantage of that fact to get closer to the actual fighting on both sides than any other Western-er so far. He travelled with ""Victor Charlie"" (the GI nickname for the Viet Cong), and also with U.S. Special Forces, Marines, and Infantry. He flew with the Royal Laotian Air Force and covered much of the same territory on foot with the Pathet Lao. Nevertheless this is not a strictly non-partisan account. Herr Knoebl may not count himself a dogmatic anti-Communist, but he does prefer the company of well-equipped professionals to that of persons or parties who necessarily view combat not as a job, but as one minor aspect of a political struggle. This much noted, the book deserves high praise for its vivid treatment of actual conditions during late 1965 and early 1966, and its unequivocal statements on such little-understood factors as the post-Dienbienphu French role (he could and did pass for one) and the position of the montagnard minorities. He also sweeps aside such disputes as the one over the Ho Chi Minh trail (it exists; he saw it) and, while he accepts the theory of China controlling events, he can scarcely be said to depict U.S. policy in a very favorable--or hopeful--light.