“Readers will never again be able to delude themselves that men who go to war can walk away from it unscarred, even if those scars take years to surface.”Robert Timberg, author of Blue-Eyed Boy and The Nightingale’s Song, a NY Times Notable Book of the Year
“As a veteran of that era, I felt every word of every page. Putzel has delivered a gripping and touching work of art.”W. Craig Reed, New York Times bestselling author of Cold War III: How the U.S. Navy can Defeat Putin and Halt Climate Change
"A great story...that needs to be told"Bob Schieffer, CBS News

The Price They Paid is the stunning and dramatic true story of a legendary air cavalry commander in Vietnam and the soldiers who followed him into the most intensive helicopter warfare ever—and how that brutal experience has changed their lives in the forty years since the war ended.

Read a sample chapter

Michael's Blog

Memorial Day

Posted by Michael Putzel • May 25, 2015


“One of the things that Vietnam taught me, and the reporting I did subsequently after the war, was that wars don`t end. They come home, and it`s the women and the children who fight them.

There is a war to find beauty and meaning in life again. There is sometimes a war to learn how to pick up a fork, how to tie a shoe, how to reconnect with a world that sent you to do something you never really thought you were going to do. And the aftermath of war is something that is profound.

And I think — while, we didn’t recognize the soldiers enough after Vietnam, I think one of the outrages was we blamed the war on the people who fought and we in time learned to separate […] READ MORE

A Sad Man Left Behind

Posted by Michael Putzel • May 18, 2015

It was bitter cold at Arlington National Cemetery on February 18, 2009, as mourners gathered in the warmth of a waiting room in the administration building before walking out into wet snow to join the funeral procession.

A middle-aged man whose features looked vaguely familiar approached me and spoke.

“You don’t know who I am, but I know who you are,” he said, “and I want to tell you that not everyone here is pleased with the way this service is being conducted.”

I was there, at the request of the family I knew, to eulogize a military officer I had written about as a remarkable and storied leader of an air cavalry troop in Vietnam thirty-eight years earlier. Twice nominated for the Medal of Honor, Army Major James T. Newman wore the […] READ MORE