Extended Reviews

For This Marvelous Country by Carol Rose Offutt. For This Marvelous Country is the inspiring true life story of a B-17 combat pilot in the 8th Air Force, 92nd Bomb Group in the European Operational Theater of WWII. Bill, Capt. William B. Rose, recounts his first twenty-five combat missions, including the epic air raids on Schweinfurt and Brunswick. In 1943 Marg wrote a letter to Bill, the pilot of her brotherís crew. The letters they shared were "friendly, but not familiar," a reflection of Billís military training. Bill returns to Europe in 1944 for a second combat tour in the B-17. At the end of the war, in 1945, Bill and Marg, two strangers who shared the cares and concerns of wartime through correspondence, found themselves in a quandary -- "where do we go from here?"(BACK)

Last Roll Call by Kenneth Tucker. Self published on November of 2009 in Panama City, FL, "Last Roll Call" has been very well received. Readers have been impressed with the way the story flows and greatful that the pages are not a boring repeat of flight records and data (read additional reviews at web site). It is a compelling story of an 18 year-old raised on the Gulf Coast of north Florida during the Great Depression in the midst of the seafood industry. It is a recount of his journey from the day Pearl Harbor was bombed when he was 16, the wait to turn 18 and graduate from high school, his training to become a pilot/gunner, completing 35 combat missions as a tail gunner on a B-17 in Italy and finally returning home to the family seafood business. The story is a first person account told by 84 year old Kenneth Tucker with the assistance of his daughter, Wanda Goodwin. The two have teamed up to tell an amazing story that should not be missed by anyone with an interest in WWII, and especially those with an interest in the heavy bombers and aerial combat. (BACK)

A Certain Brotherhood by Jimmy H. Buttler. A Certain Brotherhood blends fiction among real-world missions flown in Cessna O-1 Bird Dogs and Cessna O-2 Super Skymasters over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Central Laos.  The novel has received extensive praise for its authenticity from men who were there. New York Times bestselling author Stephen Coonts said: "Jimmie Butler focused on the bond between fighting men during the Vietnam War, and may have said something profound about all warriors, everywhere.  This is a damn good book.  I highly recommend A Certain Brotherhood." A group of veterans who served in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia formed because of the pride restored through reading A Certain Brotherhood.  Check in with the TLC Brotherhood at http://www.tlc-brotherhood.org. A Certain Brotherhood is now distributed by Stealth Press. (BACK)

Black Canyon by Tom Wilson. Lincoln Anderson, Persian Gulf war vet, manages clandestine operations of a large foundation. His closest friend's (who is also his boss) daughter goes on ski trip to Steamboat Springs, protected by a sexy FBI agent. A group of highly organized terrorists attempt to murder the girl, and the adventure begins. Wilson's books always contain flying scenes and a few wild scenarios that just might come true. (BACK)

Six albums of warrior and fighter pilot songs by Dick Jonas. The six album set includes songs from WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm. Available at Air Force exchanges in the U. S. and overseas and via mail order; see website. Song book also available with song words and war stories. Titles include "Ballad of Robin Olds," "Blue Four," "I've Been Everywhere," "The MiG-21," Thanh Hoa Bridge," "Raggedy-Ass Militia," "Throw a Nickel on the Grass," "Itazuke Tower," and "Strike Eagle." (BACK)

The Red-Blooded All-American Boy by Dick Jonas -- RBAAB: The Red-Blooded All-American Boy is a collection of war stories ó from WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm. If you are an American warrior, you'll get the most out of this book if it's three o'clock on Saturday morning after a Friday night happy hour which got slightly out of hand in the stag bar. It helps if there are others present with whom you've shared the extremely gratifying experience of having been shot at and missed. Be sure the stereo is playing the Dick Jonas six-CD war song collection. Here's a quote from the book:
 ". . .Before the evening is concluded and they at last have located the center of their individual souls, in a rare silence someone will raise a glass and for a brief moment they will all be one again, the here and now reunited with there and then. Listen carefully; you may hear names whispered which, though now written in stone, once blazed heroic trails of glory across a war-torn sky. . ." (BACK)

Thud Ridge and Going Downtown by Jack Broughton -- "Going Downtown" was the pilot's term for air raids against Hanoi, and "Thud Ridge" was their name for the range of low mountains that pointed like a long finger towards their targets and the fiercest defenses in the history of aerial warfare. Colonel Jack Broughton, an ex-leader of the Thunderbirds, led his F-105 "Thud" pilots on repeated strikes against Hanoi during the Rolling Thunder Campaign.
 These two books are Broughton's story of those missions, of encounters with Mig fighters, of split-second maneuvering to dodge Sam missiles, of struggling to avoid radar-guided anti-aircraft fire, and of having to cope with the worst flying weather in the world. It is also a bitter and disturbing story of young fighter pilots sacrificed in a war controlled by politicians ten thousand miles away.
 Politically motivated restrictions prevented Broughton's men from shooting at enemy planes until they had left the ground. Attacking enemy guns or missile sites was made difficult by a maze of imaginary lines and forbidden zones drawn in Washington. Missions were planned by non-flying bureaucrats using the same attack routes day after day, and as a result many lives were lost unnecessarily. Broughton warns us sharply against woeful blindness to the capabilities of our enemies that may cost us dearly in future conflicts.
 Broughton's involvement in the war came to an end with the Turkestan incident in which two of his pilots, in the heat of battle, were accused of firing on a Soviet ship docked in Cam Pha harbor. The ritual court martial that followed, detailed here with savage irony, convinced Broughton that his men were being asked to do the impossible in a world not of military necessity but of political gamesmanship, and a true American hero ended his military career on a sour note.
 Going Downtown and Thud Ridge are thrilling accounts of air combat and a fierce indictment of our Vietnam-era political leadership.  Anyone who wants to know the true story of the air war over Vietnam needs to read both of these books.  (BACK)

C.M.A.C., Saga of a Saigon Warrior -- Radios, Rockets and Radar greatly influenced the life of Lieutenant James. A. Callaghan during his U.S. Government sponsored stay in Viet Nam. The 'Conflict,' prior to his arrival in country, had spawned what was known to the world as the 'Tet Offensive,' an extensive and well coordinated action launched by the Viet Cong on the Republic of Viet Nam. During the mayhem caused by the advance of the 14 regular regiments from the north it became obvious that there was a need for a coordinating command to insure the protection of Saigon. This was the birth of the Capital Military Assistance Command, C.M.A.C. The command was hastily setup in an old French Foreign Legion compound and was soon home for the new Radio Officer, Lieutenant James Callaghan. C.M.A.C. highlights his adventures.   (BACK)

Highest Traditions -- Highest Traditions is a memoir of a helicopter door gunnerís experiences in the Vietnam War. This was a high risk position with a life expectancy of 20-30 seconds in combat. The author lived through over 250 missions as a door gunner, firing his M-60 machine gun at enemy soldiers during deadly combat assaults, providing cover for the infantry soldiers they were taxiing into harmís way. This personal account of his 21-month tour of duty and how this impacted on the rest of his life is hair-raising and touching at the same time. The author brings the realities of his tour of duty onto the pages of this book, which in turn, leap off into the readerís mind and understanding. A vividly written yet tasteful account of a nightmare experience, this is leavened by the authorís pride of accomplishment in the difference he made in those lives he protected and saved.

Misty -- In 1967, a group of young, combat-experienced fighter pilot volunteers were brought together in South Viet Nam to form a top secret squadron with a now-famous callsign -- MISTY.  They were stationed first at Phu Cat Air Base, then in 1969, they moved to Tuy Hoa Air Base.  Their mission was to fly fast and low over enemy territory, armed with only their cannons and marking rockets... so low that they could see the targets... SAMs, AAA sites, trucks, bridges, boats, bulldozers... whatever.  Their goal was straight forward: disrupt the transfer of enemy supplies and equipment down the Ho Chi Minh trail.  When a Misty located one or more of these targets, he directed Air Force and Navy fighter strikes against them.
Mistys flew the two-seat version of the F-100, the F-100F, and although they flew fast (350 to 550 MPH), and they continually jinked (i.e., changed direction) to spoil the enemy's prediction of where to aim, still, 28% of the Misty pilots were shot down.  Their first commander, Colonel Bud Day, was one of those shot down, and he became a POW in the Hanoi Hilton.
Those who survived went on to important positions, including two Air Force Chiefs of Staff, six general officers, and the first man to fly around the world (unrefueled) in a light aircraft.  There was also one Medal of Honor winner, a winner of the Collier Trophy, the Louis Bleriot Medal, and the Presidential Citizen's Medal of Honor.  By any measure this was an unusual group of men. These are fighter-pilot stories, told personally by the Misty pilots.  (BACK)

Prayer at Rumayla -- Prayer at Rumayla is a blistering novel of the Gulf War which is receiving rave reviews from readers and critics alike. Thomas2000 on the Desert-Storm.com web board wrote: "From the time that I began reading, there was no way I was able to put it down. I could relate with many things that Chet went through, and it was like reliving the war all over again as I read. There are many parts of the war that I try not to remember, but the book opened my eyes to the fact that we did what we had to do, when we had to do it, and from that point on, those memories will be with us for life."  (BACK)

A Tribute to the Brave -- Prayers, poems, essays all dedicated to American Veterans. Poetry and diary. The author, Dr. Kelly Roberts, is the wife of a Marine Veteran. Some proceeds are donated to military charities and a military college student fund. (BACK)

When Thunder Rolled -- Here are some comments and reviews by some very qualified authors and reviewers in themselves. Such include Jack Broughton (Thud Ridge), John Sherwood (Fast Movers) and Mark Berent (Rolling Thunder, et. al.).
-- "Author Ed Rasimus has done the flying, historical and patriot communities a signal service in writing When Thunder Rolled, for it is an authentic tale told from an intensely personal viewpoint of flying the toughest missions of the Vietnam War. I suspect they will make a film from this book, and they should!"
-- "When Thunder Rolled mixes stark authenticity with humor, personal failings, bravery under fire and thrilling flying missions to become one of the best books about the air war in Vietnam. Author Ed Rasimus is a master of his subject, and presents a gripping, technically accurate portrayal of the courageous men who flew the F-105."
-- "When Thunder Rolled is a thrilling book to read, for it reeks of authenticity and authority. The F-105s war in Vietnam was the most demanding of flying skills and bravery, and the men who flew against a determined enemy knew that their chances of survival were small. Author Ed Rasimus does a superb job of telling it exactly as it was, with no punches pulled." (BACK)

One Desert Jet Turner -- (Reader Review) From the AeroKnow.com, February, 2003, online review: "...I say the story of Earl Heron is the "meat;" the eloquent and superdetailed description of the USAF's way of doing business is the "gravy..." "...Heron draws the reader into a seldom-shared inner sanctum where the mechanical and technical aspects of these aircraft are shared matter-of-factly with no malice toward machinery or personnel." "...Clearly the book seems to have been produced for use in academia." (BACK)

Tattletale -- Since I tend to see humor in just about everything, this book tends to lean towards the absurd nature of fighting in Vietnam. I served two tours, the first as an RTO with the 9th Division in the Delta- the second as an Oscar in a LOH with the 1st Aviation Brigade. I joined up right out of high school, seeing the war as an adventure I could'nt pass up.I had always considered our soldiers as this country's most honorable citizens. I have to admit that I was proud to have served and the year I spent flying around in that little LOH was the most exciting year of my life. (BACK)


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