January,'68,Tet offensive bursts. FAC pilot Toby Parker sees the NVA moving tanks down the Ho Chi Minh Trail.Captured by the enemy, he is trapped in the middle of a tank attack. Maj. "Flak" Apple,first black Air Force fighter pilot to be shot down in Vietnam, becomes a POW in the infamous Hanoi Hilton; one more MiG and Bannister becomes an Ace.Lochert settles an old account.Whisenand chids LBJ.
In this Vietnam-era sequel to Rolling Thunder and Steel Tiger , Berent takes his well-established characters into the period of the Tet Offensive. Fighter pilot Court Bannister and forward air controller Toby Parker are assigned to form a new unit for a new mission: flying high-performance fighters as ``fast forward air control'' to interdict night movement of supplies and reinforcements down the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Special Forces lieutenant-colonel Wolf Lochert continues to fight his war on the ground--much of it against trumped-up charges of murdering an enemy agent. The novel's real antagonists, indeed, are less the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong armed forces than the ignorant politicians and malevolent activists back in the U.S. Berent's flogging of this familiar theme sacrifices impact for repetition. But Berent remains without peer in the battle zone, describing the dynamics of an air war waged in a restrictive environment against a determined enemy. And his stomach-turning--and essentially accurate--depictions of the treatment of American pilots in Vietnamese captivity are timely reminders that there is no such thing as a Nintendo war. (May)
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January 25, 2005
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