Brian Wizard is one of a kind. He is an artist, a poet, a novelist, a song writer, singer, an award winning film maker, and most of all — a Vietnam Veteran. If you want to discover what makes him tick and why he feels about things then a good place to start is with his first novel about his war—The Vietnam War. He thinly clothes his novel, “Permission to Kill,” with his own experiences and memories. The Huey that he flew on is like the one in his story. The people he has in this tale are analogous to the many that he has known in his life and in combat. The realism of this novel is uncanny and will resonate with those veterans who actually were on flight crews in Nam.
His book which is the first of his trilogy featuring his lead character Willie Maykett who goes from civilian to a helicopter door gunner; it is not only a physical journey but one of the spirit as he deals with the emotions of war and friendship and loyalties. This book will grab you like no other Vietnam story has. The author uses good descriptive phrasing to paint a mental image of what is going on. You will feel as if you are flying with Willie and feel your own heart pounding a little louder as the action gets heavy.
This book will also educate you about the real world of those small aviation units that did the bulk of fighting in the war. What the author talks about is very close to the real thing and in some cases is a retelling of actual facts covered up as a work of fiction.
Reading this book should logically lead to discovery of the other two books in his series. The whole series of books was nominated for the 1998 Pulitzer Prize and the second book in this series was nominated for a Noble Prize. I cannot make any stronger case for reading a classic war book than that!
The Will He Make It Saga (trilogy) (contender 1998 Pulitzer prize)
Permission to Kill, 1985
Permission to Live, 1992 (Nobel Prize for lit. nominee 2000)
Back in the World, 1995
Reviewed by: Bill McDonald (2004)
Permission to Kill, 4th Edition, is a fictionalized account of the author’s combat experience in Viet Nam, and stories told to him by other aviators, all combined to depict a fast moving, high-flying, front line defining life as a aerial combat soldier.