Philip Caputo, author of "A Rumor of War," was born in 1941. He grew up to be an American author and journalist. Caputo is best known for "A Rumor of War," but has written 14 other books. He attended college at Loyola University of Chicago and after receiving his college education, he went to serve in the Republic of Vietnam as a platoon commander in the United States Marine Corps. He served in combat and also received a number of awards and medals due to his good service. After serving in the war, Caputo took up journalism in 1968 and joined the staff of the Chicago Tribune. From 1968 to 1973, he was a foreign correspondent for the Tribune and covered the fall of Saigon, served in Italy, the Soviet Union and the Middle East.
"A Rumor of War" is divided into three sections. The first part Caputo named "The Splendid Little War," and in this part he explains why he joined the U.S. Marine Corps, describes his training, and tells about his arrival in Vietnam. In the U.S. Marine Corps, Lieutenant Philip Caputo was a part of the ninth Expeditionary Brigade, which was the first group of troops sent into the Vietnam War. His brigade was deployed to Da Nang and they were supposed to set the perimeter for an airstrip that would ensure the arrival and departure of military troops and goods. .
Caputo and the ninth Expeditionary Brigade had clashed with the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong, leading to combat that proved that this war was going to be one they could not lose and would have to fight hard for a victory. The second section of the book is called "The Officer in Charge of the Dead." In this part, Caputo tells about when he was reassigned from engaging in combat with his brigade to sitting at a desk documenting casualties. He was not happy with his enrollment into the Joint Staff of the brigade because he preferred to be out in the battlefield engaging in combat rather than sitting inside at a desk.