The Raid: The Son Tay Prison Rescue Mission

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9780345446961: The Raid: The Son Tay Prison Rescue Mission
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Minutes after 2 A.M. on November 21, 1970, more than one hundred U.S. war planes shattered the dark calm of the skies over Hanoi. Their mission: rescue sixty-one American POWs from Son Tay prison. Less than thirty minutes later, the raid was over, but no Americans had been rescued. The prisoners had been moved from Son Tay four and a half months earlier and that wasn’t all. Part of the raiding force landed at the wrong compound, a “school” bristling with enemy soldiers, but the soldiers weren’t Vietnamese . . .

Replete with fascinating insights into the workings of high-level intelligence and military command, The Raid is Benjamin Schemmer’s unvarnished account of the courageous mission that was quickly labeled an intelligence failure by Congress and a Pentagon blunder by the world press. Determined to ferret out the truth, Schemmer uncovers one of the CIA’s most carefully guarded secrets. From the planning and live-fire rehearsals to the explosive reactions of the Joint Chiefs of Staff watching the drama unfold to the aftermath as the White House and Pentagon struggled for damage control, Schemmer tackles the tough questions. What really happened during the twenty-seven minutes the raiders spent on the ground? Did the CIA know the whole time that the Americans were gone? Had the Agency in fact been responsible for the POWs being moved? And perhaps most intriguing, why was the rescue—though it never freed a single prisoner—not a failure after all?

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About the Author:

Benjamin F. Schemmer, a West Point graduate, Ranger, and paratrooper, is uniquely qualified to write on military matters from several vantage points. His military service included three years in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he became director of land-force weapons systems.

From 1968 to 1992, he edited the privately owned Armed Forces Journal International and later Strategic Review, published by the United States Strategic Institute. He has written major feature articles for The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times, and is a frequent lecturer at military command, staff, and war colleges. He has appeared on network and cable news including, ABC, CNN, Larry King Live, and Crossfire.

He is the coauthor of Ballantine’s forthcoming book on the never never-before-told story behind the U.S. Air Force’s highly secret special tactics units.

From AudioFile:

To many people, the Vietnam War remains an American failure. To these critics, the unsuccessful 1970 effort to rescue American POWs housed at the Son Tay prison camp is another black mark on this chapter of American history. Benjamin F. Schemmer's book offers a revealing look at this mission, not just from a historical perspective, but also from the perspective of the people involved, including military leaders and the prisoners held in camps throughout North Vietnam. Narrator Dick Rodstein's resonant voice is ideal for this smoothly flowing abridgment. Rodstein reads with authority, clearly conveying the concerns and confidence of everyone involved in the planning, and the flawed execution of what turned out to be a mission that could not succeed. D.J.S. © AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

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