Kickers: a novel of the Secret War

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9781492911036: Kickers: a novel of the Secret War

Laos, 1961. The Communist Pathet Lao threatens a Laos takeover with Russian military support. Newly elected US President John F. Kennedy contemplates military intervention in the small Southeast Asia country. Aware that military confrontation could escalate into nuclear war, Kennedy elects to fight a covert war using CIA surrogate assets.

The intelligence agency chooses as its surrogates for the war Meo tribesmen and college-age US Forest Service firefighters, smokejumpers without military experience.

For newly-recruited smokejumpers Thanasis, Charlie, and Dog, the CIA’s offer brings excitement, damn good money, and good times at Lulu’s in Vientiane. It’s a sweet adventure for the three young men until they realize the CIA is willing to sacrifice both smokejumpers and Meo to control Laos.

Based on battles and events recalled by surviving smokejumpers, Kickers involves readers in a thirteen-year secret war most Americans don’t know was fought. Similar in tone to Philip Caputo’s A Rumor of War, Patrick Lee’s story of betrayal and covert ops sets a new standard for Cold War novels.

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About the Author:

Patrick Lee is a former smokejumper who made twenty-five parachute jumps into the Idaho Primitive Area fighting forest fires. After leaving jumping to study law he began to hear of smokejumper deaths in Laos, including those of men who had been his jump partners.

Interviews of surviving smokejumpers about their CIA experiences in Laos convinced Lee their stories needed to be told. He incorporated core elements of their recollections in Kickers. In 2012, he was awarded a writer’s residency by the Jentel Artist Residency Program based on the Kickers manuscript.

After forty-five years practicing law, Lee now lives on a ranch in the Sawtooth Mountains of Central Idaho with his wife Janis.

Review:

"An untold chronicle of the Vietnam War for military enthusiasts and anti-war readers alike.

Lee's protagonists are "smokejumpers," U.S. Forest Service firefighters.  Officers in the CIA see this as a perfect skillset as part of America's undeclared war in Laos. . . . His engrossing novel highlights the sacrifices of those who didn't receive proper credit for their covert-ops services decades ago. . . . his characters' evolutions while in-country are heartbreakingly believable.

A riveting tale of an American tragedy that's packed with adventure and local color." -Kirkus Reviews
"Spot-on details shed light on a seldom discussed episode in American foreign policy.
If history teachers assigned stories like Patrick Lee's Kickers, students would learn a lot more about the conflicts that have shaped our world than they ever would from a typical textbook. . . .
The POW scenes are grim and visceral, taking us into a world where desperate prisoners will urinate on the floor of their jungle prison in hopes of loosening the bars that hold them. . . .
Those who look inside will be rewarded with an insider's view of a complex time in US history."
-Foreword Reviews, Clarion Review


"I was blown away when I got into the heart of it and found it to be absolutely terrific.  This is a great story. . . .It is cleverly crafted, tightly written, engaging, heart-warming, and, ultimately, tragic.  Some of the writing reminds me of Hemingway's For Whom The Bell Tolls.  It's that good. . . .I'm already reading it the second time.--Smokejumper magazine, January 2015.  Review by Murry Taylor, author of Jumping Fire and More Or Less Crazy 

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Lee, Patrick
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publis (2014)
ISBN 10: 1492911038 ISBN 13: 9781492911036
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Lee, Patrick
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publis (2014)
ISBN 10: 1492911038 ISBN 13: 9781492911036
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