Book Reviews

Reviews of books by MWSA members. Reviews appear in reverse chronological order, with the most recent review posted appearing first.
Note: Some older reviews are being reposted to this site and those will appear out of order.

Born in Brooklyn...raised in the CAV

Title: Born in Brooklyn...raised in the CAV
Author: John Flanagan
Genre: Non-fiction, History
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1401040128

In 1966 John Flanagan was drafted into the Army at the age of nineteen. Upon graduating from flight school he went to Vietnam and served as a pilot and aircraft commander with the famous 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). This book is his personal account of that time. Retiring from the Army in 1986 as a Major, his awards and decorations include the Bronze Star (2 Awards), Distinguished Flying Cross (2 awards), Meritorious Service Medal (2 Awards), 54 Air Medals, and the Purple Heart. He is a Master Army Aviator and has logged over 3000 flight hours. John Flanagan is proud to be associated with USACares (www.usacares.org) as a virtual committee member since its inception in March 2003. USACares provides direct assistance to servicemembers and their families involved in the Global War on Terror. You are invited to view the web site and help these true American Heroes.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Flanagan, John

Buffalo's Revenge, A

Title: A Buffalo's Revenge
Author: Bob Lupo
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0595259855

A Buffalo's Revenge, a Vietnam negative, explores the limits of a nation engaged in a struggle for freedom when the mirror reveals a fractured image. Racism is bundled in an interlocking grid of white and black and oriental hatred. The backdrop of the home front, the plague of assassinations, a spiraling anti-war movement, a sandwiched Media, and politicians and a military caught in the glare of appeasing conflicting demands underscores the plight of individuals fighting for their lives and their loves. Doc Lusane must overcome his need to die; James Jaggers his need to kill; Pee Wee Anson to hate.The home front explodes in a frenzy of hate and violence.The boys discover love beyond the peculiar cadence of language and dialect. They discover life beyond race or color. They discover themselves.America was at war thirty-five years ago and we are at war today. A Buffalo's Revenge is a snapshot of America, then and now.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Lupo, Bob

Highest Traditions

Title: Highest Traditions
Author: Tony Lazzarini
Genre: Non-fiction, History
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1891555022

Fly in a UH-1D (Huey) helicopter in Vietnam as a door gunner when the average life span was an expected 20 seconds in combat. Learn about the equipment, men and missions. A different kind of war story takes the reader inside the author's mind during his 21 month tour of duty. Read how helicopter missions were flown and why. Fly with the 25th Aviation "A" Company "Little Bears", one of the most decorated helicopter units of the Vietnam War. Twelve full color pictures.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Lazzarini, Tony

Stealth Patrol

Title: Stealth Patrol
Author: Bill Shanahan, Bill P. Bracken
Genre: Non-fiction, History
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0306813858

From Stealth Patrol:"He spoke in a sort of clipped cadence, his words tumbling out quickly, one on top of the other; and his voice was deep and throaty, the way a bear might sound, if he could talk, after a night of drinking. 'Basically I'm here recruiting guys for the Lurps.... We operate in teams of five, maybe six, members apiece. In the Lurps, every man counts-and that's why we only take the best.'"Just four months after he arrived in Vietnam in 1968, Bill Shanahan joined the LRPs (Long Range Patrol). The mission of the Lurps, as they were called, was dangerous: Five- or six-man teams were dropped into the dense forest behind enemy lines. With quiet stealth, they observed enemy troop movements and staged ambushes that often ended in fierce firefights. When their mission was accomplished, they called for quick helicopter extraction. Back on base, they debriefed and tried to sleep off the adrenaline. Two days later they were back in the brush. The missions changed from week to week, but every day the goal was the same-stay alive.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Shanahan, Bill
Bracken, John P.

Rattler One-Seven

Title: Rattler One-Seven
Author: Chuck Gross
Genre: Non-fiction, History
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1574411780

Rattler One-Seven puts you in the helicopter seat, to see the war in Vietnam through the eyes of an inexperienced pilot as he transforms himself into a seasoned combat veteran.
When Chuck Gross left for Vietnam in 1970, he was a nineteen-year-old army helicopter pilot fresh out of flight school. He spent his entire Vietnam tour with the 71st Assault Helicopter Company flying UH-1 Huey helicopters. Soon after the war he wrote down his adventures, while his memory was still fresh with the events. Rattler One-Seven (his call sign) is written as Gross experienced it, using these notes along with letters written home to accurately preserve the mindset he had while in Vietnam.

During his tour Gross flew Special Operations for the MACV-SOG, inserting secret teams into Laos. He notes that Americans were left behind alive in Laos, when official policy at home stated that U.S. forces were never there. He also participated in Lam Son 719, a misbegotten attempt by the ARVN to assault and cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail with U.S. Army helicopter support. It was the largest airmobile campaign of the war and marked the first time that the helicopter was used in mid-intensity combat, with disastrous results.

Pilots in their early twenties, with young gunners and a Huey full of ARVN soldiers, took on experienced North Vietnamese antiaircraft artillery gunners, with no meaningful intelligence briefings or a rational plan on how to cut the Trail. More than one hundred helicopters were lost and more than four hundred aircraft sustained combat damage. Gross himself was shot down and left in the field during one assault.

Rattler One-Seven will appeal to those interested in the Vietnam War and to all armed forces, especially aviators, who have served for their country.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Gross, Chuck

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