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Christopher Robbins

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ISBN 10: 096463600X / ISBN 13: 9780964636002
Published by Crown Publishers, US, 1987
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Atlanta Vintage Books (Atlanta, GA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

First Edition. First Printing. Book club edition. Pages are clean, no markings from previous owners. Boards are clean. Binding is tight. Faint wear to cloth at spine ends and corners. Dust jacket is clean, bright, and unmarked with slight edgewear. Dust jacket is in protective mylar cover. Bookseller Inventory # 88202

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Bibliographic Details


Publisher: Crown Publishers, US

Publication Date: 1987

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: 1st

About this title


While America and the rest of the world watched the Vietnam War on television, a handful of elite Air Force pilots, wearing anything but uniforms and piloting unarmored, small, prop-driven aircraft, fought a secret war, one that has remained secret right up until today. The few Americans in Vietnam who knew about it called it "the other theater" -- a small nation called Laos, next door to Vietnam, bordered by the Ho Chi Minh Trail, China, and Thailand. These incredibly brave and skilled pilots were known as Ravens; their mission: fly low and slow, spot the enemy, and direct the winged artillery of American air strikes from adjacent South Vietnam, Thailand, and U.S. aircraft carriers. From the early 1960s through 1973 and our virtual abandonment of the Laotians to a bitter fate, the Ravens paid the price and bore the burdens that John F. Kennedy had rhetorically promised to take on. In 1962 Kennedy and Khruschchev signed accords in Geneva whereby the neutrality of Laos was guaranteed. Hardly was the ink dry when the embattled neutralist government of Souvanna Phouma was forced to call for U.S. help to save the kingdom from a takeover by the North Vietnamese, who ignored the accords.

Flying, often around the clock, against some of the heaviest antiaircraft fire in the world, Ravens learned fast or died quickly. Even being smart couldn't savea a pilot from "the golden BB" -- the fatal single random round from an enemy soldier's weapon. Often the Ravens found themselves fighting on the ground, too. They were frequently shot down and rescued in hair-raising SAR (search and rescue) missions. They fought alongside their Laotian allies and CIA agents and paramilitaries when their airstrips were attacked. Ravens found "neutral" Laos a very dangerous place indeed.

From Publishers Weekly:

The Ravens were American forward air-controllers who directed strikes from vulnerable, low-flying spotter planes, mainly in support of a Meo general named Vang Pao in Laos. "Advised" by the CIA, this fierce warlord fought to keep the North Vietnamese out of the strategic Plain of Jars. Robbins (Air America) conveys the unique flavor of Raven-style combat and also explains how the diplomatic-military dynamics of the clandestine war in Laos fit into the overall American effort in Southeast Asia. The cast of characters is memorable: a swaggering, rowdy bunch of mavericks whom their parent service (the U.S. Air Force) had great difficulty controlling, they seemed to get by on sheer cussedness. According to the author, they suffered the highest casualty rate of the Indochinese War. Robbins describes the poignant plight of displaced Meo/Hmong tribespeople who have settled uneasily in the United Statesincluding General Paoand their ongoing struggle to "propitiate the alien spirits of America." Photos.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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